Skip to navigationSkip to content
Reuters/Neil Hall
Opening up soon.
SOONER THAN LATER

The delay in opening IKEA’s India store will quickly be forgotten

By Suneera Tandon

IKEA seems more obsessed with doing it right than doing it fast.

The Swedish furniture retailer, which has been present in India for close to five years, has waited all this while to open a store in the country. Over these years, IKEA has been studying the Indian market and understanding consumer preferences in order to localise its offerings.

But days before its much-awaited launch, the company has again postponed the plan owing to quality concerns. The store, scheduled to open in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad on July 19, will now be inaugurated on Aug. 09.

“IKEA Retail India decided to move the date as it needs some more time to live up to its expected quality commitments towards customers and co-workers,” Peter Betzel, CEO of IKEA Retail India, said in a statement. “Our main priority is to create an inspiring and safe experience for both customers and coworkers.”

The delay has upset its potential customers, but the company is doing everything to ensure the disappointment doesn’t last.

Brand experts say that in the long haul the delay may not matter much.

“In the lifetime of a brand, this is unlikely to have an adverse effect,” said Kiran Khalap, co-founder and managing director of brand consulting firm Chlorophyll. ”Most desirable brands have long waiting periods, yet buyers don’t abandon them.”

Firefighting

This isn’t the first time IKEA’s encountered such a situation. Earlier this year, bad weather forced it to postpone the launch of its outlet in Exeter, England, at the last minute.

Within minutes of announcing the delay in Hyderabad, the company’s social media handles began addressing customers’ concerns. These channels have been in damage control mode since then.

“IKEA’s launch is high-profile and will be dissected deeply by everyone, not only customers,” said Devangshu Dutta, CEO of retail consultancy, Third Eyesight. “Rather than have a launch that is marred by defects or incomplete in some ways, it is sensible from an operational perspective and responsible from a branding point-of-view, to delay the launch and communicate the delay widely.”