Leading Swedish home furnishings retailer IKEA, which is launching its first store in Hyderabad next month, says it is making a lot of effort to provide good service for India, as it expands its mission to provide a better "life at home" and healthy lifestyle across the world.
It said it will come up with a range of products that can be repaired, restored and recycled.
"I, with the team, have done many home visits in India as it was utmost important for us to understand how Indians live in their homes and how IKEA can contribute to a better everyday life for the many Indians who love their homes," said Mia Lundstorm, Creative Director at IKEA India, during the brand's annual Democratic Design Days event held here recently.
"We have put in a lot of effort into making a very strong and good service package for India.
"The common thread behind all IKEA products is their 'democratic design'. This is a five-pronged idea: Sustainability, form, functionality, quality and price. All these must be checked before a product rolls out," said Lundstorm.
After launching in Hyderabad, IKEA will move into Mumbai in 2019, followed by Bengaluru and Delhi NCR.
"Hyderabad is a starting point… Then we would be moving into Mumbai next year. That is a very exciting market for us. Hyderabad itself is a very interesting and starting point to see what they (Indians) like about our products, solutions and approach," said Mia Olsson Tuner, Country Communication and Design Manager, IKEA India.
IKEA, with its "do-it-yourself" (DIY) assembly model, announced during the event a slew of collaborations with big names including Adidas and Lego Group as part of its effort to make everyday life better for the people globally.
The retailer said it hopes to extend the partnerships for the Indian market for creating customised newer designs and products for Indian customers.
"IKEA range in Hyderabad is 90 per cent going to be the same as everywhere else in the world. We are playing around for about 5 to 10 per cent of the local adaptation or market specific range product," said Lundstorm.
"Home is where we create life-long habits. Teaming up with Adidas, we want to understand what wellness means to different people and what role their living spaces play in this," said Marcus Engman, Head of Design at IKEA of Sweden.
"By doing so, we can create homes that are better designed to enable better habits and more active living."
On the tie-up with Lego, Fredrika Inger, Business Area Manager for Childrens's IKEA of Sweden said: "We believe more play makes the home and the world a better place."
IKEA will also be partnering with UNYQ, a 3-D printed medical wearables firm; educational e-sport company Area Academy; and Little Sun, a global project and social business that connects the world by sharing the sustainable energy of the sun, among others.
It plans to achieve zero emissions by 2025 and for that it has pledged to design all its products by using only renewable and recycled materials.
During the event, the multinational group unveiled a tap nozzle that can help save over 90 per cent of water used.
Another highlight was solar panels and the chain that offered more plant based food options in its eateries, like the veggie hot dog launching globally in August and a dairy-free, vegan soft-serve ice cream in a bid to increase sustainability for the company.
IKEA said that "our rapidly changing world and increasing climate threat calls for more ambitious goals and urgent action" as it vowed to become 'people-and-planet positive' by 2030.
It also announced outlawing single-use plastic products from its global stores and restaurants by 2020.
IKEA also unveiled an "Art Rug" collaboration with eight influential artists from different parts of the world. The eight rugs are manufactured in Egypt and India, using traditional methods such as "dhurrie weaving" and hand tufted piles and are made with high quality wool. IKEA Art Rugs will be available for a limited time starting in spring 2019.
(Parul Soni was in Almhult, Sweden, at the invitation of IKEA. She can be reached on email@example.com)