For a company that has been operating for more than seven decades, 宜家 certainly has a clever knack of staying ahead of the game.
The 76-year-old Swedish furniture giant is poised to make 它 s first foray into the rental economy with a pilot project leasing office furniture to businesses in Switzerland. Based on the success of the pilot, the subscription model could be extended other 宜家 products from kitchens to sofas.
Customers, whose concept of ownership is evolving in an economy increasingly focused on renting, may then be able to trade a leased product in for something new to update their home. This would prolong the product lifecycle, as once the lease is up 宜家 could refurbish the used piece 并出售。
Of course this 理念 is nothing new. 宜家 is following in the footsteps of US startups like subscription furniture rental company Feather Furniture or Burrow, which leases sofas in a choice of three sizes 和 five colours. It is, however, the first mass market interiors brand to take the rental economy seriously.
谈到 金融时报，托比约恩ööf, chief executive of Inter 宜家, the holding group that owns the 宜家 brand, discussed the value of the company adopting a “circular model”. There are plans, for example, to introduce a spare parts business for 宜家 components no longer in stock, enabling consumers to repair their existing furniture. Shoppers can already return old beds 和 sofas to some stores for donation to charity.
Next year, all single use plastics will be phased out of 宜家 products 和 它 s stores, 和 the company intends to source 100% of 它 s wood, paper 和 cardboard from sustainable sources 和 will ensure that 90% of all waste from 它 s own operations is recycled or energy recovered. 宜家 is also hoping to achieve a fourfold increase in sales from products that ‘帮助人们过上可持续的生活’.
宜家 has put 它 s money where 它 s mouth is with the launch of 它 s 绿色wich store. Opening tomorrow (7 February), 它 is the first full-sized store to open in the capital in 14 years 和 has been designed on a sustainable blueprint.
这家商店设有太阳能电池板–预计将提供50％至80％的商店’s energy –雨水收集，地热供暖，灵活的工作区，屋顶花园和凉亭空间可供当地社区团体免费租用。还将有一个‘learning lab’，购物者可以在其中学习如何升级旧家具。
Furthermore, 宜家 has committed that all 500 members of staff working at the 绿色wich store will travel to work via public transport 和 is offering shoppers living within a three-mile radius the option to have their shopping delivered on the same day via an electric bike courier.
The move into rentals 和 the eco-focus of the new 绿色wich store show 宜家 is working hard to challenge perceptions that just because 它 s furniture is affordable 它 is inherently disposable.
Aside from the sustainability angle, 宜家’进入租赁市场是该公司的最新例证’向便利性的转变。去年，这家零售商在伦敦推出了Planning Studio’继托特纳姆法院路（Tottenham Court Road）继2017年在斯德哥尔摩成功启用弹出式厨房陈列室以及在马德里开设卧室陈列室及配件商店之后。
设计工作室旨在帮助购物者规划更大范围的家庭项目，例如新的厨房或卧室，这是零售商迈出的第一步’s ‘revised strategy’ to bring 宜家 to the heart of urban areas. These plans roll on to Paris, where a 5,400 square metre city centre store is scheduled to open in May.
哈维尔·基（Javier Qui）ñones, 宜家 UK 和 Ireland country retail manager, has described this city centre approach as the company’s response to the “瞬息万变的零售环境”，代表了“在消费者眼中保持相关性–现在和将来。”
保持联系的动力之一是，宜家加强了与乐高，阿迪达斯和食品配送服务Uber Eats等知名品牌的合作。去年11月，该零售商向伦敦的Uber Eats客户提供了三种通常在其餐厅供应的限量版菜单（价格介于£10 和 £20），与宜家产品搭配，如香薰蜡烛，餐巾和酒杯。
This desire for relevancy has also powered 宜家’负担得起的智能家居产品的创新。 2017年，该公司推出了一系列由遥控器或智能手机应用程序操作的智能灯泡，今年春季将推出通过无线遥控器或语音命令打开和关闭的智能百叶窗。
Investment is also being ploughed into improving the seamlessness of 宜家’s online offering. This is a smart move given that for the year to 31 August 2018 visits to the 宜家 website rose by 13.4% to 199.3 million. During this period online sales grew by 14.4%, to the point that they now represent 15.5% of 宜家’s total sales.
但是，宜家意识到向便利的转变是有代价的。今年5月，该公司撤出了在兰开夏郡库登市拟建的价值数百万英镑的大幅面商店。由于宜家计划在2020年开放，并提供350个就业机会，宜家声称该地点是“no longer viable”。然后在11月，该公司证实，在接下来的一年中，其12100名强大的英国和爱尔兰员工中的350个角色存在裁员的风险。
While 它 has to weight up the costs 和 benefits, relevancy remains right at the heart of 宜家’的整体策略。无论是向租户租赁家具，在市中心开设地点，投资可负担的智能技术，还是在Uber Eats上出售其肉丸，这家瑞典家具巨头显然都是一家乐于变革的企业。
要明确的是，这不是改变’s sake, but rather a strategic shift in line with consumer behaviour that suggests 宜家 is even prepared to rip up 它 s own rulebook to stay ahead of the game.