by Lisa Banks

Ikea’s $600m Australian expansion to include IT investment

Sep 15, 2010
E-commerce ServicesInnovationIT Management

Ikea’s plans to spend over $600 million in the next five to 10 years will include an increased investment in IT, particularly around its online artifical intelligence customer service robot, Anna.

Spokesperson from the Swedish furniture and homewares retailer, Jude Leon, said while Ikea was not in the market for new applications, a portion of its $600 million investment would be spent on IT.

“We will be making an investment in IT over the next few years, however most of the systems we use are IKEA owned and developed, therefore we will not be in the market for new applications,” Leon told CIO Australia.

“[Ikea] has global arrangements with numerous vendors including Dell and Cisco so further investments are likely to be purchased via certified vendors in Australia.”

Ikea is planning to open another six stores in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane due to growing demand, and will further increase investment into artificial intelligence projects like ‘Ask Anna’; a database system designed to help customers find answers online.

“The system identifies key words in the questions from customers and links to the most relevant page,” Leon explained. “We will continue to invest in systems and work to improve them.”

While some Ikea stores in WA provide some e-commerce facilities, Leon said Ikea had “no plans” to introduce online shopping, but said it would not rule out investing in such facilities.