Swedish author and business thinker Stefan Engeseth predicts that Ikea‚Äôs next move will be into the world of fashion.
Engeseth says that Ikea‚Äôs expertise lends itself easily to the world of apparel. ‚ÄėFashion is an expression of how to package and sell design,‚Äô he says.
He believes that fashion is in a repetitive cycle, stuck in history and needing renewal.
Ikea could offer both complete apparel items and composite parts that customers could assemble themselves, says Mr Engeseth. The parts could be ‚Äútailored‚ÄĚ at home in inventive ways without the need for complex sewing.
‚ÄėEmotionally, this connects people to how life was in the beginning,‚Äô he says. ‚ÄėCustomers can personalize and ‚Äúhack‚ÄĚ the designs.‚Äô
Jack Yan, publisher of Lucire, and a branding expert in his own right, says Engeseth‚Äôs ideas have a great deal of merit.
‚ÄėThis taps in to its existing fan base, and just as importantly, Ikea can make full use of its channels, outmanŇďuvring many existing fashion labels,‚Äô says Yan. ‚ÄėIkea has an international retail base and it has distribution down to a fine art.‚Äô
For completed clothing, Engeseth says that Ikea could offer Unisex dressing, without the divisions of male and female, but as an ‚ÄėIkea member‚Äô.
He sees Ikea clothing as being high-tech and low-cost, harder-wearing than the apparel found in mass-market retailers.
‚ÄėWe‚Äôre already seeing some shoppers go to outdoor and living stores to buy longer-lasting clothing. Ikea already sells reusable Kr 4 bags that are good and cheap; their clothes could be equally practical, as strong as work clothes,‚Äô he says.
‚ÄėYou could even extend this hard-wearing philosophy into wedding gowns‚ÄĒafter all, there are already some people opting to get married in Ikea stores.‚Äô
Engeseth says Ikea could offer the clothing range to its fans first, so they have a ‚Äúuniform‚ÄĚ, much like football teams.
‚ÄėThere are 57 million Ikea ‚Äúfamily members‚ÄĚ already, so let them be the only ones who can buy the clothes first. This would be the longest catwalk ever.‚Äô
He goes further, saying that those wearing Ikea clothing could qualify for greater discounts at the point of sale. ‚ÄėNot only will this build their tribe, it will ‚Äúdress it up‚ÄĚ to become a worldwide community.‚Äô
Fans who have furnished their homes could host ‚ÄėIkea days‚Äô, where dressed-up fans could invite their friends to their homes, which become pop-up fan showrooms. ‚ÄėThat could give Ikea millions of stores, and greater exposure to how homes can be designed. That would bring in sales and the company could treble its profits,‚Äô he says.