Ikea, the furniture retailer, is reportedly looking at launching an online site that sells its own products as well as furniture from competitors.
According to a report in The Financial Times citing Torbjörn Lööf, chief executive of Inter Ikea, the retailer is finishing up the details of its third-party website, which will mark the first time the company has done something like this. He told the paper that it is natural to progress to something that is like Ikea’s website but also sells other items, similar to Amazon.
“What are the opportunities between the dominating, big, global platforms, and the company website? I think there are tons of opportunities,” said the CEO in the report, pointing to Zalando, the booming European online fashion retailer that sells clothes from several brands. “I think it’s a very interesting area to explore.” Lööf said the company has not held talks with competitors about selling their products via its marketplace but said it wants to be a part of any platform that includes competing furniture makers. He said that given Ikea’s position in the market, he would want the company to create it. “I think in the next five, 10 years, we will see what we now call the platform developing,” Lööf said.
The comments from Lööf come as Ikea is transforming its business and has begun piloting new ideas from enabling customers to lease furniture to eventually selling their products on other websites. It also has shops located in city centers and offers home assembly service for the furniture it sells.
While Ikea got a lot of attention over plans to sell its furniture on third-party websites, nothing has come of it yet. Lööf told The Financial Times talks with third parties is taking longer than thought, but a test should begin soon. The executive said he doesn't think it will be Amazon when asked which third party its furniture will end up with. “We are always exploring. You could say within the digital arena we’re exploring the third-party platform, Ikea engaging on other platforms, the platform business in the industry as a whole, how can we make our own ikea.com much stronger and better,” he told the paper.