IKEA gears up for first Indian store: Pick up an Indian tawa while sipping on lingonberry juice

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IKEA gears up for first Indian store: Pick up an Indian tawa while sipping on lingonberry juice

That first store, to be ready by Spring next year.

Anyone who has been to an IKEA store abroad would know of its usual scale and size. It is a huge stadium size facility where you can find anything under the sun in home furnishing space. IKEA wants to do replicate this in India too. It wants to kick off its India journey from Hyderabad, where it is setting up its first store over a plot of 13 acres in the IT hub of the city.

IKEA, the Swedish major in home furnishing opened its first experiential store in India on Wednesday, November 22nd. Spread across 5000 sq ft at a mall in Hyderabad,it is a glimpse into what IKEA will offer when it opens the doors to its first store in India in Hyderabad. That first store, to be ready by Spring next year (yes, Spring, as we are not yet told about the exact month) will be spread across 400,000 sq ft on the 13 acre plot. The construction is underway for this at the moment. It will be the first store in India and the 410th store worldwide for IKEA.

After Hyderabad, starting Spring of next year, IKEA plans to launch a store every six months in a new Indian city. So, it will be in Navi Mumbai, sometime in early 2019 followed by Bengaluru in mid 2019 and Delhi NCR by early 2020 and eventually at this pace get to 25 cities by 2025. In Hyderabad, where it is setting up the first store, the investments are of the order of Rs 1000 crore and will give direct employment to 800 people. .

Now, about the experiential store: As the video below shows you walk into the store and walk through various room settings - kitchen (an Indian kitchen, where John Achillea, the store manager, says the Swedish major will offer a range of products from the Indian tawa, a griddle for making chappatis to dishwashers and cook tops). A lot of what would be on offer would be in tune with Indian home needs. Then there the living room setting and one for the bed room. The product price tags are not yet put up, there is a range. For example, you could find a sofa for even under Rs 20,000 and even a children's bed for as low as under Rs 600. IKEA staff emphasise that the there is no fixed price list that they can offer at the moment as the focus is more on experiencing the products IKEA can offer but the motto is to make them available at low and affordable price yet offer good quality. The experiential store today offers only 10 per cent of the product range that IKEA will eventually start selling from its store. When ready for sales, it will have some 7000 to 8000 products and in this some 1000 of them would be products that are priced at less than Rs 200 a piece. People can walk into the experiential store now and till Spring of next year and get to touch and feel the products though they cannot buy or place order for any of them till the store is opened for business.

At the experiential store, called the IKEA Hej HOME, visitors will connect with IKEA in many ways. They can sign up for IKEA FAMILY, IKEA's loyalty program, through which customers can participate in 'HOME' activities even before the store opens. Different workshops and interactive sessions are also planned for visitors during the next 6 months including home improvement topics and cooking sessions. Through this exposition, IKEA also intends to connect with potential future coworkers, especially the women in Hyderabad. IKEA has a non-negotiable commitment to hire 50 per cent women coworkers at all levels in India.

Since, IKEA believes that you cannot do business with a hungry customer, visitors can also get a glimpse of the IKEA Food offer and taste Swedish and Indian delicacies that will be sold in IKEA store's 1000 seater restaurant, one of the largest in the world. In short, an option to down the Indian tadka with lingonberry juice.