IKEA is set to trial a series of new retail formats in the UK, launching “order and collection points” which it says will save customers from having to journey to large out-of-town stores.
The home furnishing brand says the first of its new stores will open in Norwich in autumn. This will be followed by two further similar store concepts in other locations, which will be announced in the coming months.
IKEA says its Norwich store, which has been designed in-house, is conceived as a “planning studio”, where customers will be able to speak to home furnishing experts for advice and support. They will also be able to test the product range and collect orders made online or in the store.
The Norwich store will also have a café and a “limited range” of products that customers can buy immediately.
IKEA UK country manager Gillian Drakeford says: “Currently our customers in Norfolk have to travel more than two hours to our Lakeside or Milton Keynes stores to see the product range and get planning and design advice.
“By introducing an Order and Collection Point [in Norwich] we are hoping to bridge the gap between online and in-store shopping and offer customers a more personal service locally.”
Following the opening of the Norwich store, IKEA will trial a series of different designs for its order and collection points.
An IKEA spokeswoman says: “We will be exploring slightly different formats in each selected market and using this as an opportunity to find out more about how customers want to shop with IKEA in these areas.”
IKEA says the new order and collection points form part of plans to make the brand “more accessible”.
Its expansion plans include rebuilding existing stores to improve the shopping experience, opening new stores in new locations, updating existing e-commerce platforms and adding additional services for customers.