“IKEA – From Sweden to Charminar”

IKEA is a Swedish-founded multinational group that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances and home accessories. With an investment of Rs 1000 crore, Ikea the largest furniture retailer in the world will inaugurate its first Indian store in Hyderabad this month. That’s happening six years after the company got permission for single brand retail in 2012 in India. Let’s see what took them so long and what their future plans are.

  1. Ikea’s 6 years research before launching the first store

Since 2012, Ikea has invested a lot of time, resources, and money in understanding the market before setting up the first store. 800 houses were visited across the country, to understand the needs of Indian consumers. Some of the major findings are First, Indians are very proud of their homes, as they are of their family, food, and children. Second, India is extremely advanced when it comes to digital communication, and people expect to find everything on their mobiles. So, IKEA may soon introduce VR and AR. Third, People are interested to find out more about DIY model, which has to be altered for Indian consumer to ‘assemble-on-premises and ship the next day option’. Fourth, copy-paste attitude of business model may not be successful in India, it needs to be localized. And Fifth, Indians love for food. IKEA has mined the insights from its thorough study to plan its store design and layout, decide on its product mix, and customize its offerings to suit a uniquely Indian aesthetic and need.

  1. Challenges faced in India to set up the business

Ikea has faced many challenges. Few of them are Design of their furniture, where they had to bring the local flavor while maintaining their image and exclusivity. ‘Do it for me’ attitude of consumers has been well understood and twist their model to Indian needs. Competition could come from anywhere be it a local retailers or big names in this field. Branding the name IKEA itself was a challenge. Although Ikea plans to gradually ramp-up local sourcing, one challenge to keeping prices low will be taxes, the one of the biggest challenge is (import) duties.

  1. Target Customer

There is no particular target audience in terms of age or income and would try to approach the market on a need basis. The trick is to make everybody feel welcome, they want to be inclusive. Majority of India is families with kids. But Ikea serve single youngsters too. Be it with thin wallets or hefty, traditional or trendy, needy or wishful, IKEA would have something for each one of us.

  1. Ikea will also follow Omni-channel approach

Ikea will focus on physical stores, complemented by a multichannel approach to create many offline and online touch points for customers. It is debatable that would it be their own Ikea.in platform, as that gives them better hold over their quality of service or a tie-up with e-commerce platforms like Flipkart (now Walmart) and Amazon India or both. E-commerce in India will be roll out in 2019.

  1. Make in India for India

IKEA has a very long term view on India, and it will be expanding the supplier base and making more in India. IKEA started sourcing from India more than three decades ago and has 53 suppliers that accounts for nearly 3% of its global products sourcing. By 2025, it hopes to employ 50,000 people in the country, open three distribution centers and source 30% of IKEA India’s requirements from within the country. And IKEA is about securing low prices for many people. So for that, they need to set up (local) sourcing. That’s what IKEA has been focusing on – sourcing in furniture and also food. So about 90% of their food, for instance, will be locally-sourced. In order to alter its DIY strategy, and provide service to it consumers, Urban Clap has become the furniture assembly partner for them.

  1. Indian Consumers acceptance to ready to assemble model

Ikea is open for both models be it ready to assemble (DIY) or service providing for assembling the product for customers. There will be customers to whom IKEA will provide everything, too. And then there will be customers who will buy one chair and will want to try (assembling it) themselves. There are mix set of consumers, few want assemble product delivered at their doorstep and few would definitely love to ‘do-it-yourself’. There are many people who have got exposure to Ikea store outside India they would like to keep the exclusivity of brand alive and enjoy doing it.

  1. Brand Building and Promotion

It was strategized, building the strong brand image even before launch, Ikea has done enough to create brand awareness and provide brand experience to the potential customers. We all know Ikea is super powerful when it comes to market the brand be it social media or TVCs or print media. For marketing too, IKEA will move with local language in print and TV, in addition to online route.

  1. Message to Indian Furniture Retailers

Furniture retail is not easy in India. Local retailers like Future Group (Home Town), Landmark (Home Centre), and Shoppers Stop (Home Stop) are still struggling to get the format right while a Reliance Retail’s Reliance Living has already exited the business. Furniture retail is no longer a priority for most of these big players today. Retailers have to think like Ikea and look at all parts of the value chain. It is not just buying and selling that will help in making it a success. They should take lessons from Ikea, who has paid adequate due diligence before entering India, where merely 4% of the ₹72,000-crore furniture category is organized, rest is still very fragmented

  1. How IKEA will change the Home Retail Space?

In a country where three-fourths of the furniture industry is still dominated by standalone stores and carpenters, IKEA’s entry is likely to cause quite a disruption. IKEA will bring the self-help furniture-assemblage culture to the new age Indian household. The shift in the nature of consumer behavior in India has led to a marked increase in demand, which new and indigenous furniture brands are rushing to cater to. Ikea will make consumers more interested in their homes. Ikea research has found that people are looking for small things that make their life easier – in terms of storage, kids’ space, etc. That’s the kind of solutions Ikea hope to provide Indian consumers with.

  1. Ikea’s mantra to success in India

To sum up, first key is Localization. After research only Ikea conclude the range of 10,000 and more products and put it together in a way that suits the local market. It is not tailor-made products that are needed but tailor-made solutions. Second, is something for any or every home in India, ie. to maintain the minimum entry price points covering huge range of product, to avoid missteps made in Australia and China, where its initially higher pricing discouraged potential customers. Third, is to provide cultural shift to Indian consumer by DIY experience. Fourth, Multiple customer touch points, be there where customer willing to spend their time.
Points to Ponder:

Why since 6 years none of the big retailers actually focus and create opportunities to capture this market before Ikea launch?

Written by – Deepshikha Malav
Edited by – Dhwani Swaminarayan



Learn 10 Facts about Walmart-Flipkart deal and its impact on Indian Retail Industry

  1. India the ultimate battleground of global dominance in retail

The deal doesn’t just validate the potential of the Indian retail market but it also sets the stage for the big showdown between Alibaba, Amazon and Walmart. It makes Indian retail hard to be ignored, which is expected to be a $200-billion market by 2026.

  1. A combination of online and offline is the new way forward

A physical retailer buying a digital retailer is an interesting deal. It is the beginning of a new dawn for retail and every passing day will make it more interesting to explore.

  1. Attracting worldwide investors to India; confidence booster for startup ecosystem

With Walmart taking such a big bet on India, a lot of US strategists will start looking to get into India and not wait for Venture Capitalists to take the first step. India, Indonesia, Malaysia are the markets where there is growth. Also this deal boosted the confidence of new investors like SoftBank, Accel, and other investors who kept investing (in India) for a long time with no return. This finally gives the much-awaited return to these investors.”
“Though not technically, but the deal is going to strengthen the entire Indian ecosystem many folds”.

  1. Data is the new fuel

Winning in India is about tapping more and more customers. Walmart, which failed to make a successful entry in India in offline retail space, can now sell its products online to 1.3 billion population of the country. Having an access to Flipkart’s 10 crore customers’ data. Applying AI or other BI tools could approach customers in many lucrative ways and boost the use of latest technologies in Indian Retail Sector.

  1. Branding (The name and the Fame) is still an important aspect for Indian Startups

Despite having another lucrative offer from Amazon that was green-signaled by SoftBank, Flipkart decided to go with Walmart. This was because, with an Amazon merger, there were chances that Amazon would dilute the Flipkart branding in order to promote Amazon. For instance, Amazon would have merged PhonePe with Amazon Pay; the main portal Flipkart.com with its own Amazon.in; Even the supply chain could have been merged. While, Walmart will allow Flipkart to continue to function without losing or diluting its brand.

  1. Best of supply chain management tools and techniques are yet to be experienced by Indian Retailers

In this case, along with funding, comes the huge expertise of Walmart in retail and supply chain, something Flipkart really needs if it is to take on Amazon. The sectors that will see huge changes in the next few years are supply chain management, the farm-to-fork sector, food and groceries, and inventory management and vendor management.

  1. Graduated to Second phase of e-commerce Journey

The deal marks the end of the first phase of India’s e-commerce journey and the start of the second phase. The first phase was dominated by hyper-competition, extreme growth and the battle for gaining market share at any cost. This also led to a lot of players betting on “wrong business models”. In the second phase, a consolidated in the industry, a lot more focus will be on business models, integration and scale. And that’s good for future of e-commerce in India.

  1. Big Battle between Walmart and Amazon opens up in India over FMCG

It will be in the food and grocery segment. Last year, Amazon received government approval to start a venture to sell locally produced and packaged food items through offline and online channels. And beings an expert in this field, Walmart is expected to use a good part of its investment to build infrastructure including food parks, cold chain and collection centers. Walmart has something that Amazon doesn’t & that is the ability to take fresh farm produce through very sophistically developed cold chains. Flipkart will act like its technology arm while entering into the world’s largest food and agriculture market of the world, with the promise of opening stores as well.

  1. Customers will be in a very beneficial position

Two giants fighting for market share in e-commerce may translate into bigger discounts and more sale days. In the overall ecosystem, customers will be in a very beneficial position. That also means the overall time for the e-commerce sector to get profitable will be much longer than seen in other countries. As consumers are more attuned and comfortable to shopping online, we see vertical specialists (largest categories being fashion, second electronics) also benefiting.
Another beneficiary is the farmer because under Walmart’s farm-to-fork strategy, procurement will be done at the village level, directly from the farmers to customers. However, it remains to be seen whether the model remains limited to urban India or is it implemented in rural India as well.
Flipkart vendors and sellers are apparently not happy with the move, suspecting Walmart of diluting their profits further.

  1. This deal is just a beginning

“Walmart’s entry in Indian ecommerce is just the beginning. There are many large Chinese players like Alibaba, Tencent, etc. that are keen to keep investing in India, including in ecommerce. And in the next six months, more acquisitions like this on its way.
Check Who is happy to comeback: Another US ecommerce biggie, eBay, which last year sold its eBay India stake to Flipkart, gaining a 6.5% stake in Flipkart (while losing some cash, of course) has announced a comeback in the Indian market by reviving its eBay India brand

Written by – Deepshikha Malav
Edited by – Dhwani Swaminarayan


Sources & Credits:


Image source:
SourceCode Media (Factordaily.com)

Future of Learning & Development

I recently started art classes for myself. Even before starting these classes, I was very much sure what I enjoy creating and what I want to learn from my art teacher. In every class, before he says ‘Today we will do this…” I jump and tell him that ‘Today I want to learn this…’

I have a friend whose son goes to one of the best international schools in Bangalore. That school doesn’t teach the traditional syllabus to the students, instead they teach them what they want to learn. They identify student’s interest and skills and motivate them to explore those fields more and grow in that direction and maybe make a career out of it, later on. It’s ok if they don’t like Maths. 🙂

Isn’t this different from what earlier learning system used to be? I think, yes.

This wave of change was re-affirmed again when I recently attended an L&D summit, organized by UBS Transformance on 27th February at Ritz Carlton, Bangalore, where professionals from Learning & Development from various industries and roles met to understand, ‘What is the Future of Learning’. The summit opened up many doors in my mind for the opportunities and new developments in the L&D field.

Being a service provider in the field of Learning & Development, I would like to summarize few of my major takeaways here from that session.

  1. Don’t just be a Learning Partner, Be a business Partner
  • Role of L&D is no more only about designing and delivering the learning modules. They have to behave equally concerned for the business improvement. At the end of the day, L&D function exists in any organization to improve the business, not only for staff welfare.
  • Solve the business problems, don’t just solve the learning problems.
  • Demand ROI from the business.
  1. Becoming an Investment & not a Cost Center
  • Prepare L&D to respond to crisis and changing business dynamics instead of becoming a cost center for organizations and getting laid off in crisis
  • And when it is an Investment, it demands ROI!!
  1. Drive Transformations & Innovations

Learning is no more limited to classroom trainings and On-the-job trainings. Innovations in learning methodologies as per learner’s and business’s requirements can only bring transformations. There are so many new learning methodologies being innovated for effective learning. I am noting down few as below. We shall post about each of them in detail in our coming blogs. “Application of the learning is the future.”

  • Stealth Learning
  • Bite size learning
  • Social Learning
  • Experiential learning
  • Theatre learning
  • Real time learning
  • VR learning
  • Micro Learning
  1. Future Expectations from L&D expert

The future expectation from an L&D expert are vast and impactful enough to transform the business and people. One of the speakers brought it out too well as below:

  • Empathize like a poet
  • Reframe like a child
  • Solve like a hacker
  • Design like an Architect
  • Prototype like an Engineer
  • Campaign like a Marketer
  • Measure like a scientist
  • Learn like a gamer
  1. Be busy with business, Date with data and Tide with Technology

A perfect balance of back end data, business objective and a use of technology in designing the learning programs helps delivering the best product

  1. Avoid being attracted to technology without knowing the right

Define how technology supports you deliver your Business Goals without looking for a single quick fix and innovation for the sake of doing it. Don’t use technology where it is not required.

  1. If you want to gamify then
  • Don’t forget its prime objective is FUN
  • Keep it simple
  • Use various platforms for games – Online games, Simulations, class room games. Make a mix of it
  • Align your game strategy with measurable goals
  • Design rewards that are pleasing and motivating
  1. Evolution of L&D function should be like this

Thanks to all the speakers and learners for an amazing sharing of thoughts and plans. L&D has definitely got new roles and exciting opportunities to learn and develop 🙂

Writer and editor – Dhwani Swaminarayan

‘Learning is an experience. Everything else is just information’ – Albert Einstein

Ever since I read this powerful statement by a German-born theoretical physicist, our super intelligent Mr. Albert Einstein, it has changed my perspective of looking at learning and development process. In such simple words, he has given me wisdom to think about making my each training an experience than a boring classroom session; an experience which people remember for lifetime, a happy learning experience which is a transition from being someone to being someone better, an experience which has made a difference.

Let me break down the learning process with a relevant example to decipher this statement and understand it well.

  1. Learning starts with awareness

An awareness that I need to learn this in order to move forward or change something in my life is the first step towards learning. Learning without the awareness of its requirement doesn’t really help. For an example, an awareness that I need become a healthy person is the first step towards learning how to become a healthy person.

  1. It needs a lot of assumptions and information

Second step towards learning is assuming a lot of things and gathering information basis on those assumption. For an example, the assumption for becoming a healthy person is that I need to look lean and to look lean I need to lose weight. And then all the information is being gathered from reliable sources about how to lose weight. As per your information, you start dieting by starving and depriving from food you like and eating the food which are considered to be healthy.

  1. Expert’s advice

An expert’s advice is the third step towards your learning curve where an expert validates whether your assumptions and information are right or wrong. An expert also gives you the right direction to move if you are heading towards something wrong. For above example, an expert here will tell you that being lean is not being healthy, but health is a state of complete physical well-being by eating right amount of food at right time with exercising and balancing all the required nutrients. So your assumption here towards a good health is redirected.

  1. Planning how to learn

Now when an expert has directed the learning towards right direction, the fourth step towards learning comes when you ask yourself questions like ‘What does it require out of me?’, ‘what is my role going to be and how do I achieve it?’.  For example, now you will plan a schedule for your food intakes and exercises like whether to go to a gym or hire a personal trainer or go and learn yoga or just do normal walk every day.

  1. Experiencing and learning

Now when we know the right information and we are sure that we are going in right direction to achieve our objective, the learning process starts with an actual experience of it. For an example, you might realise that your hunger still remains the same, your food intake still remains the same, your taste buds are still being satisfied and you are not compromising on anything you feel like eating but all you are doing is eating smaller portions, at slower pace and at regular intervals in a day and within 6 months you lose fat from your body and experience your first transition of learning curve for becoming healthy.

Now that’s how learning anything is an experience and rest all is just information.

At Kiwings we understand this process thoroughly and make sure that all the learning services we provide go through all these steps right from getting aware about what needs to be learnt to learning it through an experience in right direction suggested by our experts of the field.


Writer and editor – Dhwani Swaminarayan