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IKEA's website provides access to product information, stock availability, an online catalog and customer service through Ask Anna, IKEA's customer service web bot.  Learn about IKEA's website history and IKEA online, including IKEA's Home Shopping - IKEA Direct. 

IKEA Website

ikea online - ikeas first website 1997IKEA's online presence began in 1997, when the mega furniture store launched their first website titled the "World Wide Living Room Web Site". Relying heavily on frames and Javascript, the site was difficult to navigate for those who had minimal internet capabilities (which was most of us in 1997, wasn't it?), but the site did offer company information, including the history and origin as well as its future vision.  Most excitingly, it allowed the IKEA customer to see IKEA products from the comfort of their own living rooms.

IKEA website 1999By 1999, the IKEA site design overall was simplistic and brash; though hard on the eyes, it offered a lot more to the IKEA customer.  The IKEA website then offered a Product Guide including product assembly tips and interactive guides, a Store Directory of IKEA locations, the ability to order an IKEA catalog online, Customer Service (through email! I wonder how that worked...), Careers at IKEA - a section on IKEA jobs, as well as information about IKEA design, IKEA quality and low prices.  You could also get IKEA coupons, information on IKEA sales and download information brochures, such as the 'Guide to Brighter Living." 

IKEA Home Shopping

It wasn't until late February 2001 that a new IKEA website came on the scene. With a clean white background and crisp graphics, the new IKEA site now sported the tagline 'affordable solutions for better living".  The site featured much the same as the previous version, with one important difference - IKEA Home Shopping had arrived.  IKEA now was offering access to an online catalog, the ability to view products and check local IKEA store warehouse stock,and even the opportunity to apply for an IKEA credit card online.  You could now buy IKEA online, though the process was (and is) far from flawless. IKEA's website saw some more slight changes to the design in 2003, but no major changes to the features or content occured.

In 2006, IKEA UK announced IKEA Shop Online!, an online shopping experience coupled with local delivery in the UK.  The website IKEAPostCodeCheck allows customers in the UK to see if IKEA delivers to them, and determine if service is coming in the future. In 2008, service is shown to be available in England and coming to Scotland in 2009. 

As for the rest of the world, including IKEA US, in December of 2007, Anders Dahlvig announced that,

The IKEA Group shall concentrate its resources on developing the IKEA stores as the only sales channel and to make an even more attractive shopping experience for our customers. ... In the future, there will be no further investments to develop the Home Shopping or Online Sales channel. The decision by the board is based on the conviction that IKEA can give customers the best offer and the lowest price by making the range available only through IKEA stores.

It remains unclear how this will impact the existing home shopping outlets and no further information has been provided by IKEA.

Unböring

unboring_manifesto_thumb.jpgIn late 2002,  IKEA's Unboring campaign brought www.unboring.com to life - the unboring site contained a Flash-animated version of The Unboring Manifesto, the 'You Are Crazy' TV ads, including the Clio prize winning commercial directed by Spike Jonze, 'Lamp', stories about IKEA and about selected IKEA designs that have interesting backgrounds. 

In addition, there was an Unboring Community, which made it possible to get tips on decorating, interior design and home remodeling and give advice to others through a structured format.  See more about IKEA's Unboring Campaign, including screenshots of the website and the television commercials here.

IKEA Anna

ikea_anna_customer_service_bot

In 2004, IKEA introduced the world to Ask Anna, a web bot designed to address customer service issues through IKEA's website.  Anna is programmed to help guide the site visitor through the site, by serving relevant webpages based on the questions asked by site visitors.  IKEA Anna reportedly speaks 10 different languages and can answer questions posed by customers.  Web bots or lingubots such as Anna can reduce phone calls, emails and other customer service contacts by up to 50%. By using natural language and 'learning' by experience, Anna is able to better respond to customer service requests and demands and respond accordingly.

While popular in the European markets, the original blonde Anna was deemed too tawdry for the North American market.  The Anna familiar to the North American market (as well as some select European markets), has blue eyes, short auburn hair and a ready smile. Amuse yourself with our friend Anna: That's me! How can I help you? IKEA Dialogues on Minor Tweaks.

IKEA Rooms Inspire New IKEA Website

ikea_online_2007_060-18_thumb.jpgIn June of 2007, IKEA launched their new website in 24 countries.  The new site architecture is based on rooms of the house - kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, etc. and is much easier to navigate, offers more in the way of interaction with the site visitor and information about interior design and home decorating that goes beyond just product data, prices and availability.

Despite the improved front end, IKEA's site remains woefully incomplete at best, and mis-leadingly inaccurate at worst. Updating takes place once every 3 months regardless of issues on the site, which can range from the incorrect images associated with an item to an entire product line (such as the MALM line) disappearing from the online catalog.  This page with errors in the names of IKEA cabinets existed on the IKEA website for well over 6 months in late 2006 and into 2007.

See also:Community discussions about IKEA's website