During the fourth session on the day one of the India Retail Forum 2014, industry stalwart, Juvencio Maeztu, CEO, IKEA India,shared the company’s worldwide success while speaking about their plans to now make a full fledged foray into the Indian market catering to Indian sensibilities.
Maezry spoke about IKEA’s ideology of Democratic Design, formulated on the principles of quality, functionality, sustainability and low price. He reiterated a couple of times that IKEA is not just a retail company but a production oriented Retail company. He expressed the desire to make available a coffee table available for 400 Rs to the Indian customer. Maetzu announced “By 2015, all materials used for the production of IKEA products will be renewable, recyclable or made from recyclable material.”
He concluded his address profoundly by saying, “You can do good business doing good things, and we can do great business by doing good things at every step.”
Shivnath Thukral, Former Managing Editor, NDTV Profit probed him further about his expectations from India & he responded that to IKEA, Location is of paramount importance. IKEA is a company that enters every market with a long term perspective & takes efforts to work on every category relevant to the market. Shivnath also enquired about IKEA’s plans to combat the price sensitivity of the Indian consumer. Maeztu promptly replied that in his last two years spent in India, he has realized that Indians are willing to pay until they get value for their money.
Maeztu revealed that the humble founder would walk into the stores as early as 5 in the morning. He would first proceed to meet the Truck drivers & insist on them being provided Scrambled eggs and a healthy breakfast to keep them going for the entire day. These days, the founder is no longer active in the executive decisions of the company, however the entire workforce looks upto him for guidance.
A final question to Maeztu from a member in the audience was, “How does IKEA plan to address the issue of delivery charges (which Indians detest in general) as also the DIY (Do it yourself), that Indians are not attuned to?”
He responded that services like pickup and assembly of products will be more relevant in India. He informed that in 1996, they faced similar apprehensions in Spain but soon overcame their fears and became a huge success there. Finally when asked about their biggest competitors, he quipped, ‘Families spending weekends on beaches and movies than at IKEA stores are the biggest professional concerns!!!’