We're going to IKEA, leave the car at home

IKEA Westbahnhof
Michele Caprini
05 Feb 2020

It is also time for IKEA to adapt and, as far as possible, to prevent the new urban consumption behaviour typical of the younger generations.

A break with tradition

It is very strange to separate the idea of the car and large car parks from the large IKEA sales spaces. Until now, an obligatory association of ideas and an irreplaceable iconic reference. And yet, retailers' new store strategies in cities go in the opposite direction.  

The Swedish company has started building a new store in Vienna, Austria. The building is located near the Westbahnhof train station and should be completed by 2021. The location anticipates the radical innovation of the sales model: we are in the middle of an urban area, 6 km from St. Stephen's Cathedral and 2.5 km from the Schönbrunn residence.

The store will extend over seven floors, each measuring approximately 3,000 square metres.  It will include the furniture display, the market area, the workshop, the communication and interior design area and the catering area.

The shop will not encourage customers to transport their purchases by car, as tradition. The approach is completely different, and there will be no parking on the floors. A striking contrast with other points of sale in the world, with parking areas that are close to 2000 parking spaces. 

Westbahnhof, in and for the city

According to the company, "the store responds to the changed purchasing behaviour and a new form of car-free mobility". In a nutshell: we are waiting for you, but come on foot, by public transport or by bicycle.

You will only be able to buy in the shop, therefore, "portable" products where the entire range of furniture will be displayed, but without a self-service area. Everything that cannot be transported by hand will be delivered to your home, within 24 hours at reasonable prices.

The Westbahnhof project is made possible by the functionality of the new logistics centre in Strebersdorfm, which covers a total of 50,000 square metres on two floors. An investment of 70 million euros, strongly focused on advanced standards of sustainability.

The agreement with the municipality provides for a significant qualification of the area concerned. IKEA Westbahnhof will have very strong "green" characteristics and, financed by the Swedish brand, a recreational area for residents will also be built.

Multiformity

It is interesting to note the multi-format nature of the IKEA development plan, which has recently tested smaller format shops with its urban planning studies in Paris, London and, more recently, on New York's Upper East Side.

Here the client has the opportunity to sit down with a consultant to learn about the products and discuss a design project. It is not possible, however, to leave the store with the goods. IKEA Westbahnhof may be conceptually closer to a store in New York's Queens, which opens this summer. There are two ways of selling: customers can buy items in the store or order them for delivery.

In the past few days, after Birkenstock and Nike, Ikea has also made official its intention to stop selling its products on Amazon.