IKEA has finally arrived in Mumbai and their mega store at Navi Mumbai is not something that Indians would have seen till now. Of course, those who have traveled abroad to places such as Dubai and Singapore are well aware of such mega stores having visited Carrefour and IKEA thereat. But for others this is an experience to be believed through a visit.
IKEA arrived in India a few years back with their store at Hyderabad and on line delivery. I remember Indians feeling excited at their commencement of Indian operations. In fact, I am told that several people from all over, including Delhi and Mumbai undertook visits to Hyderabad not to see Charminar or Salarjung Museum or Ramajirao film city, but to specifically shop at IKEA.
We of course had done some e -commerce transactions with IKEA and were already enrolled as IKEA family member. In view of ongoing Covid and expecting a deluge of crowd, the store had made pre registration mandatory and we could do so easily in view of priority accorded to us by virtue of we being part of IKEA family.
Somehow this visit reminded me of my childhood days of visiting an exhibition at Pragati Maidan and halls of fame there that were decked up for such exhibitions. IKEA showroom looked as big as one of those halls of fame, like you needed a ticket to enter the exhibition, here you required a pre registration and QR code and there were similar queues for entering the showroom.
Once inside, the experience was almost ethereal, with all kinds of goods aesthetically placed. You felt like picking up every trinket – pieces of crockery, cutlery, storage et al. Food court had long queues and coffee house served quick snacks that were both – delicious and reasonably priced.
I don’t know whether IKEA will be able to sustain this interest or things are going to peter out once the initial euphoria dies down. Will they bring more and more attractive deals and win Indians’ mindshare and wallet share or will Indian experience be below their worldwide benchmarks? Only time will tell. But as is said “ well-begun is half done” and by beginning their Mumbai operations with a bang, IKEA seems to have won the first battle.
Welcome to Mumbai IKEA!