IKEA successfully built the global consistent image of cheap furniture. Now, it successfully bring the same image to Shanghai, China. IKEA furniture is really cheap for local residents.
When I was in university (around 1998), IKEA’s image is super good design + super unreasonable price. We talked about joke that how IKEA can sell the colorful PAPER boxes at 59 RMB. It was ridiculous for most people at that time. We don’t think a paper box is that expensive.
However, IKEA’s products were so appealling to me, as a newly graduated student in 1999 that I spent my first month salary to buy a Billy Bookcase. It was the first furniture I bought. It was about 840 RMB (100 USD), I remember.
At that time, most products sold in IKEA was made outside China. I can seldom see something with label “Made in People’s Republic of China”. Maybe it is part of the reason why they are so expensive. Now, the majority of products there are manufatured locally.
Before IKEA opens the new store, IKEA started to decreases its price. This champaign has lasted for more than one year.
Yesterday, I was surprised to see the same Billy Bookcase drops to 340 RMB already. It is almost the same story for all the other IKEA furniture I have purchased.
The recent IKEA’s on sale campaign is astonishing. A set of flower picture that was sold at 19 RMB now only costs 1 RMB. Hey. IKEA is on sale, as more as 95% off! I believe IKEA intentionally put this product as the first article in the store people can see – so creating an atermsphere of big on sale….
With the drop of price, unfortunately, is the drop of quality. Before, I never worried taking the bad product home. But now, I have to examine carefully for anything I put into my shopping cart, to make sure it is not broken. I begin to complain the poor quality of IKEA. For example, I cannot install the curtain pole because of the hole is a little bit smaller than required. The newly bought GLANT table has two obvious area of color-difference.. I am not sure whether I have been moving out of the target customer segment (as I was when I just graduated), or the quality does drops.
Something I like in IKEA
- The underground parking area. It is among the best in Shanghai. I like the colorful pole and clear direction of the garage. It is higher than other garage. The most important thing is, it is almost empty and always free.
- Icecream. The IKEA icecream is only 1 RMB and is sold at the checkout area. It is so nice to treat myself and Wendy some icecrease after successfully follow the big arrow and go through all the areas of the big IKEA store. It is said that the one way policy is part of the reason why IKEA keeps low price. Since the customers have to see everything once they enter the store, they have to buy something every time. :0)
- Return. I like the return policy of IKEA. No question was asked. Just give the product to the counter and get money back.
- Meal. Now IKEA starts to serve lunch and dinner. Ha. I often say, “hey, Wendy, why not have dinner at IKEA?”.
© Jian Shuo Wang
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