It’s been a little over three years since I started living completely off TV, and I’ve been wanting to change the furniture in my room so that I can use my desktop PC and MacBook Pro in a better environment, and this was part of that.
This is the first time I’ve actually been to IKEA, even though I’ve passed by it many times on my way to Lalaport Yokohama near here. Because I haven’t had a chance to buy any furniture in the past few years, so I had no reason to go there.
I was really looking forward to it because IKEA has a good reputation in many ways.
First of all, to sum up, as the title says, I was more interested in the « business model » than the « furniture ». I was very much impressed by the extremely streamlined and efficient operation itself.
The inside of the actual shop is, first of all, the parking lot. It’s very big and spacious.
The basic « come in your own car and take it home in your own car » policy is very much in evidence.
So, how is the store? It’s certainly spacious inside, but I also thought it was « small » compared to the size of the parking lot. Well, that being said, it’s not as big as the furniture stores and home centers that are around.
As I mentioned earlier, this is my first time at IKEA, so needless to say, I’m a « super beginner » at IKEA. I don’t know how it works.
However, it is interesting to note that there is no information on how to buy or how to use the furniture for beginners. In any case, what stands out in the store is the appeal of « why we can offer furniture at a low price » and « what kind of mechanism is used to achieve this », and this appeal is written here and there in a conspicuous manner.
It’s like a foreign company, isn’t it, when they make you start with « vision » instead of « process »?
I personally love this kind of stance, and I’m not bothered at all by the « unfriendly » atmosphere in the store because I’m used to it after traveling around Europe so often. In fact, it’s much better than having a shop assistant come up to you every time and explain. You can understand how to buy and how it works by looking at the customers around you.
To find out how to use it, first head to the 2nd floor. Here you will find a lot of furniture on display, just like in a normal furniture store.
If you like what you see, you can find the following tags on each piece of furniture.
Make a note of the « Item Number », « Column » and « Number » of the
This is where one of the secrets of IKEA’s ease comes into play: letting customers walk up to the warehouse and pick up the items themselves. Actually, the cash register is on the first floor, which is equivalent to the exit of the warehouse.
So I’ll write down the number for later. In fact, I took a picture with my iPhone.
You can also customize some of the products by talking to the store staff. This is quite an interesting system. The clerk will make a list of customized products on the PC in this way.
The example « product number, column, number » is also listed here for each part, so you can pick it up later at the warehouse.
After deciding what to buy, we headed to the warehouse, and although it was a little difficult to find our way from the 2nd floor to the 1st floor, we somehow arrived at the warehouse entrance.
Here, you can pick up each piece of furniture (or its parts) based on the « row and number » that you wrote down earlier. This is also well thought out and displayed in a way that is really easy to understand. But it’s a big space, so it’s quite tiring to walk around…
And this is how you get to the parts you want.
I customized a desk for my PC this time. These are divided into several parts, so I ended up with quite a lot.
The way these parts are put together is also very well thought out. First of all, it is divided into appropriate sizes, and as you can see, they are all « flat » so that they can be easily stacked and transported on these carts. At the same time, there are a lot of advantages for storing inventory. In fact, if you look up at the top of the shelf, you can see that a lot of inventory is stored in a very efficient « square » shape.
Also, I forgot to take a picture, but in the center of the warehouse, there is an extensive product search space and a concentration of « clerks » waiting for you, which you don’t often see on the sales floor. I guess they have really thought about the placement of the clerks.
And finally, you pay at the warehouse exit. Hahaha, very European cashier-like (laughs)
Well, I didn’t have to pack all these parts in my car, but I decided to mail them because they looked heavy and it would be hard to carry them to my room by myself.
If the charge is less than 60kg, it is less than 3,000 yen, and the total shopping was 65,000 yen, so I thought it was a little commission and decided to mail.
And the weight of the product is also managed by the data. « We don’t have to measure every single item. The weight is also stored in data, so if you check the barcode of each item, you can measure the total weight in an instant. If you think about it, it’s a simple system, but I’m really impressed.
My product weighs 67kg, so 7kg over, but if it weighed 7kg, I could just carry it and change it myself, so I decided to just load the two parts into the car. This much is enough for a small mito!
Now, last but not least. It’s a bit back and forth in time, but the first thing that surprised me when I walked into the restaurant was that the « food court » was very well stocked, and the prices were cheap.
Soft ice cream was 50 yen, and hot dog set was 150 yen with all you can drink. There was also a restaurant, but I think a regular lunch was about 500 yen.
I think he’s really good at this too. I don’t think they have any intention of making money here at all. If they can increase the number of repeat customers with this kind of service, I guess they think the cost is negligible.