IKEA customers can now shop over the phone, live chat, Facebook Messenger and through one-on-one virtual planning appointments with a newly developed dedicated IKEA Remote Shopping team.

Just as they can in store, customers can order products and services, get home furnishings advice and ask questions all in one conversation, according to IKEA Australia contact centre manager, Sharon McVicker.

“Remote shopping is designed to make it easy for customers to shop no matter where they are – at home, on the train or even during a lunch break. As all our channels are looked after by the same team, customers can enjoy a seamless customer service experience,” she told Retailbiz.

“Previously as a traditional contact centre, customers would only contact us for tracking orders or submitting returns and warranty claims. Now, customers can call or use live chat online to talk to a co-worker with in-depth knowledge of the IKEA range – someone who can provide home furnishings advice suited to their unique needs.

“Customers can get in touch and ask about what mattresses will fit their budget, find out the best storage solutions we have for their children’s toys or even start planning their dream IKEA kitchen. Our co-workers will be able to provide tailored recommendations and home furnishings advice.”

IKEA has experienced growth across Remote Shopping channels over the last few months. On average, 44% of calls coming through are proactive shopping enquiries, which shows the shift from offering more traditional customer support.

“Since the beginning of September, we have had 62,000 customers through phone and live chat, selling 85,000 products. We’re expecting to see this gradually grow as we continue to raise awareness of our various shopping channels among customers,” McVicker said.

The rise of Facebook interactions

Customers are also contacting IKEA via Facebook Messenger because they enjoy the convenience of sending a message with whatever they need – a question, advice or to place an order.

“Customers can connect with us more directly, which can often feel more personal than traditional contact methods. Social media is a great way to build community and strengthen brand loyalty so we will continue to use Facebook Messenger and are looking forward to the potential to expand on different platforms in the future.”

The importance of bricks-and-mortar

As omnichannel platforms become more mainstream, IKEA isn’t losing sight of the importance of its physical stores within its business strategy.

The store is the centre of the IKEA experience. The big blue box is a part of who we are and is something our customers can recognise us by,” McVicker said.

“From stepping into the maze of our showroom to enjoying Swedish meatballs – the in-store experience is like no other and you wouldn’t find it anywhere else. Many of our customers love to come and spend a day out at IKEA, so we know it’s an important driver of customer happiness.”

IKEA is ready to help take away the stress of last-minute gifting, decorating and hosting this festive season.

“Whether our customers need to set up their space to host a group of family and friends, have extra guests staying over the holidays, or are looking for Christmas gifts for everyone on their list, our co-workers can help with personalised support and advice,” she said.

“Because remote shopping options enable customers to speak directly with an IKEA co-worker, customers can let us do the work, whether they have questions, need to make a purchase quickly or want to arrange services like assembly – without needing to visit in store.”