Should Jack Ma start sweating? The famed Chinese e-commerce mogul may have some stiff competition to contend with in the coming months, as Swedish multinational Ikea  famed for its designing and selling of convenient, ready-to-assemble furniture  rolls out its own online shopping platform.

And while Ma's Taobao and Alibaba platforms won't be entirely usurped by Ikea's latest move, Chinese Internet shopping fiends will likely flock to the Swedish furniture giant's new platform, given the success of its brick and mortar outlets in China. An August 22 article in The Nanfang outlines how Ikea's new digital selling services will be available to use by the end of the month. Unfortunately, much to the dismay of Beijing shoppers, that platform will only be available for Shanghai users at first.

The articles adds that "If successful, Ikea says it will expand service throughout the country, making it the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to have the service." And while prospective Beijing customers will not doubt be eager for those services to come to the capital  after they recover from being snubbed in favor of rival city Shanghai – Ikea's true digital strategy is to service Chinese locales that are even more overlooked. In a statement, the company explained: “This business model, with small investments, is suitable for smaller cities, where they don’t have physical stores. Ikea will launch more such pickup and order points in China." The Nanfang goes on to elaborate on how the company has hit a glass ceiling of sorts mostly only securing sprawling retail spaces in first and second tier cities.

However, Ikea's new focus on digital services will hopefully not lead the company to neglect its brick and mortar outlets entirely  after all, its Beijing location has become a mainstay for Chinese customers who want to try out (sleep on) their products and take billions of selfies, a feature they would surely miss if they had to stay at home and order online.

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Photos: Marketingtochina.com, Daily Mail


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