Swedish furniture and lifestyle retailer IKEA is slated to launch an e-commerce site for both its Malaysian and Singapore markets to offer shoppers the convenience of purchasing its range of products online. IKEA Southeast Asia managing director, Christian Rojkjaer, said it will first launch its e-commerce service in Singapore in the next two weeks, and it will be introduced in Malaysia by next year.
“We’re currently in a testing phase in Singapore as we want to provide a quality experience for our customers. For Malaysia, we are currently in the development stages and we look forward to sharing more when we enter the testing phase next year," a spokesperson from IKEA told A+M.
The move comes weeks after IKEA launched its e-commerce business in Shanghai. As a pilot program, the delivery services for China was limited to Shanghai. The company plans to expand its e-commerce services across the country if the trial run is successful. As IKEA’s entry point in China, Shanghai has three IKEA stores and relatively mature warehousing and logistics system.
Its strategy in Malaysia however is far more aggressive, where the Swedish retailer has reportedly spent about RM600 million for IKEA Penang "to provide the very best IKEA experience", which is expected to open for public in the first quarter of 2019.
Rojkjaer added that its IKEA Damansara store receives about six million visitors annually, and it hopes the IKEA Penang store will attract as many visitors as well. The store will create about 450 jobs and various spin-off business opportunities for suppliers, Rojkjaer said. The 40,227 sq m store Aspen Vision City in Bandar Cassia, Batu Kawan will likely be the only IKEA outlet for northern Malaysia.
Malaysia is certainly a critical market for IKEA in the region. In August this year, the company also announced its plans to invest over RM900 million to establish its regional distribution and supply chain centre for ASEAN in Malaysia. The project is facilitated by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority. IKEA said that Malaysia has "always been a significant market" for the company, with its retail stores being one of the most visited stores globally. The new centre will enable the country to strengthen its role in supporting IKEA's growth in ASEAN, serving 12 retail stores in the region. IKEA plans to increase the number of stores in ASEAN to 20 by 2026.
The first IKEA store opens at Mutiara Damansara in Kuala Lumpur. On a global scale, IKEA currently has 389 stores in 48 countries, according to its website.