We have very aggressive expansion plans: Ulf Smedberg, IKEA
Ulf Smedberg, Country Marketing Manager, IKEA India, speaks about their festive season plans, #Swedeshi movement and expansion strategy.
Ikea, the Sweden-based home furnishing company, opened its first store in Hyderabad in August this year. Now they have rolled out their first advertising campaign and the #Swedeshi movement is winning hearts. With big expansion plans in India, the ground-breaking ceremony of IKEA Bengaluru took place on October 11.
In a quick chat with exchange4media, Ulf Smedberg, Country Marketing Manager, IKEA India, spoke about their festive season plans, #Swedeshi movement and expansion strategy. Excerpts:
Your launch campaign was different –it integrated tech and offline platforms and created a lot of buzz. With the festive season opening up, what are your plans in terms of reaching out to the Indian audience?
The most important media for IKEA is digital. Lot of communications, engagements and interactions will be predominantly done through mobile. Later on, this year, we will show how you can change your home or make it more appealing to your needs, and that will be broadcast on mobile. We will focus on other medias like Print, TV, OOH, but majority of the communication will be done through digital. We will have digital, TV and OOH campaigns during the festive season.
The ongoing sale by two big e-commerce giants seems to create a lot of unrest with smaller retailers. How does a store like IKEA, a Swedish brand, make a more Indian sales pitch?
We think it is important to combine the typical IKEA and the strength of India. We are focusing on love that the Indians have for their homes and how IKEA can help them with that. Another factor is food, which is an important connecting point. We are also looking forward to engaging more people through food. We will have more offerings that is appealing to a broader audience.
Currently, IKEA has a 4 lakh sq feet store in Hyderabad and Mumbai and Bengaluru will have stores soon. Are there more stores in the North and West in the offing?
We have an expansion plan that is quite aggressive, and we call it ‘go big India’. We will open more offline as well as online stores in India. Bengaluru store’s construction work has begun, and after that, we will have a store in Delhi. In another 10 years, IKEA will have presence across India.
IKEA’s India strategy is summed up in one word #swedeshi. Can you elaborate more on #swedeshi?
It’s very important for us to spread IKEA. We have strong culture in Sweden, we celebrate different traditions. We would like to be known more in the Indian market. When people come to know about Sweden, the more they will understand IKEA as a brand and vice versa. We would like to have that connection.
What were your key learning from the launch of Hyderabad store?
We should talk about what the store experience will be about. In Hyderabad, a lot of visitors were confused. They thought that IKEA would be an open shopping mall. But our culture is quite different. That's the one big learning, we need to communicate what to expect.
What will be the marketing and advertising strategy followed by IKEA India in the coming days?
We are focused on how to utilise the marketing budget and maximise the reach, so that our messages reach our consumers. In Hyderabad, we went with billboards and that was a huge success. In Mumbai, we took the television space. So that depends on the city we are moving into. Bengaluru we will have high awareness campaigns.
What is IKEA’s promise to India?
Big promises! Our biggest aim will be to provide affordable and smart furniture for Indian homes.
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