WHAT is IKEA?
There is new phenomenon in Indonesia, in the form of a huge blue and yellow double storey building in Alam Sutera, Serpong, Jakarta signed IKEA. But: ” WHAT is IKEA?” some might ask.
What’s New Jakarta placed the General Manager of IKEA Indonesia, Mark Magee, in the ‘HOT’, or rather the ‘WHAT’ seat, and let him explain to us exactly WHAT IKEA is:
WHAT would you say to those who do not already know where IKEA is from and who founded the company?
Many people might not know, but Ingvar Kamprad founded IKEA in 1943 in Sweden when he was only 17 years old. The company’s name is an acronym that consists of the initials of Ingvar Kamprad, Elmtaryd (the farm where he grew up), and Angunnaryd (his hometown in Småland, South Sweden)
Seven decades later IKEA is finally in Indonesia, WHAT took you so long and are there plans to open more branches around Indonesia?
IKEA has actually been present in Indonesia for more than 23 years, through IKEA Trading that’s been sourcing and exporting Indonesian made products to the global market. Entry to any new country, however, is made after thorough market research and evaluation prior to selection. IKEA is constantly evaluating new countries and is following a long-term strategic expansion plan, which sets our priorities for future growth to calculate where we place our focus and when to take the leap into a new economy. As a result every year new IKEA stores open around the world, reaching more people that share in our vision to create a better everyday life. For Indonesia, we believe the time is NOW! IKEA Alam Sutera is IKEA’s 364th store and IKEA is present in 46 countries, and at the moment there is no immediate plan to open another branch elsewhere in Indonesia.
WHAT kind of market research did you conduct in Indonesia and WHAT has been the most surprising results you found during your research? Did it bring you closer to Indonesian culture?
It should be no surprise that the fourth most populous nation in the world, with its rising middle class, increased domestic consumption and young population is a very lucrative market for IKEA to tap into. We went in at grassroots level and visited over 200 Indonesian homes to see how they lived. During our research small things surprised us, but we were able to assist in identifying how our product could enhance the people of this colorful nation. Storage and size is always a problem, and little lifestyle differences like having a fridge in the living area and being comfortable having small beds for children in the master bedroom are all unique to Indonesian culture, where in Europe people prefer the fridge in the kitchen and children in their own bedrooms. But after the assessment we could improvise and change our perspective to adapt to the average Indonesian home’s needs.
We also launched a batik design competition that celebrates the Indonesian culture and pride to adhere to the Friday batik dress code at our store, so we are the only IKEA in the world that has a unique batik designed uniform for use on every Friday. In fact the batik designs entered into the competitions are all proudly displayed at the entrance of the store for all to admire. Our marketing and research has indeed helped us to connect and identify with Indonesian values and culture to better our service to the public.
Serpong does seem like a unique place. WHAT in particular made you open IKEA here as appose to Senayan or elsewhere in Jakarta?
If you look around the world where IKEA is in 46 different countries, most IKEA stores are located in the suburbs close to a highway It took us some time to find land that was big enough and had the right dimensions for a store, but finally decided that Alam Sutera is the perfect spot. We needed our store to be in the correct location as this will be our permanent location for a long time to come. WHAT makes the location so ideal is that it is the right size, it is clearly visible and its accessible. These ideals are hard to find within a city center.
The Alam Sutera store is a two level free standing store, totaling 35, 000sqm, 7,500 different products and 1,200 parking lots. There are 55 inspiring room settings and 3 complete homes on display on the top floor alone, so we can give tips and ideas throughout the store of how to solve common needs for common activities.
Furniture design and woodworking is not something new to Indonesians, but is all of IKEA’s products easy DIY designs that needs to be assembled or WHAT do you have that is ready-to-use?
Indonesian furniture is indeed well known throughout the world, and IKEA is introducing a Do-IT-Yourself (DIY) concept to the Indonesian market. Most IKEA products are flat-packed, making them easy to transport. The IKEA store offers a home delivery and or assembly service if you prefer, but terms and conditions will apply. We do provide clear instructions in all our products with visual images for reference as well, so it’s easy! For a Ready-to-use product all our Indonesian made soft toys are ready to be played with in store!
The Indonesian market’s reaction towards IKEA’s presence in Indonesia has been very positive. We thank all our customers for their enthusiasm and in the same way welcome Indonesian visitors to our store by offering inspirational ideas and solutions for creating a better everyday life at home for Indonesian people.
WHAT seems to be your current best selling product in Indonesia?
We sell about two tons of meatballs from our restaurant per weekend! Besides that Indonesians love spending on their children, and our product ranges for children has been doing particularly well. But with over 7,000 innovative home furnishings on offer – I think the options and variety is certainly a main attraction for customers.
Who designs your product lines and WHAT has been their motivation over the years?
We have designers devoted to creating various products. These products are developed through Democratic Design where form, function, quality, sustainability and affordability are integrated into a product. Small space living and the dynamic life changes makes our designers think creatively to maximize storage space. Our designers, just like our customers, come from all around the globe, but they are mainly based in Sweden.
WHAT do you do to keep your product affordable?
We do not cut any corners when it comes to quality, but we do manage our overheads and transfer this saving directly to our clients by managing the cost of the product while maintaining the high quality IKEA is known for worldwide.
WHAT other advantages can consumers expect from IKEA in Indonesia?
IKEA offers unique propositions. IKEA home furnishings brings inspirational ideas and solutions for creating a better life. The IKEA store gives tips and ideas through-out the store on how to solve common needs for common activities at home, like storage options for small space living for families with children.
WHAT makes your product better and distinctively unique compared to other products on offer?
IKEA’s policies and practices apply to each and every product. We demand and ensure that each product is both functional and well made. Our size means we have the capacity to do things properly, so we care about the design, we put a lot of effort into design and product selection and we test very thoroughly. As you walk through the new store you’ll see cabinets with a little information about our testing – putting chairs through a lifetime of use, opening and shutting drawers thousands of time to replicate WHAT will happen in your bedroom or kitchen. IKEA wouldn’t have had the worldwide success it’s enjoyed if the products we sold weren’t good quality at a good price.
All of your products are functional, and easy to assemble, but WHAT are the most common customer complaints or misconceptions that you deal with during after sales service?
IKEA products are generally easy to assemble and require no special tools. If you prefer, IKEA can help you assemble at an additional fee. You can check IKEA Indonesia website for detail fees. Terms and conditions will apply.
If the customer changes their mind they can simply return the unused product with the original receipt within 30 days. Terms and conditions apply. If there is any complaints about our products or services please contact IKEA store staff, and IKEA will be happy to solve the problem. Each guarantee is valid for the period stated on the individual products, starting from the date on the original receipt. It is very advisable to read all product assembly and specific care instructions for each IKEA product.
It seems you have it all covered, WHAT about yourself do you enjoy your new home here in Jakarta?
The traffic is just fine, and of course I like it here in Jakarta I live life the IKEA way, always looking for a way to create a better everyday life!