Furniture giant Ikea wants to completely change its branch concept. What should attract customers creates job anxiety among employees.
According to the magazine “Business Insider“The Swedish company plans to expand its logistics and strengthen its online business. Great role model: ship giant Amazon!
In the future, customers should use digital terminals in furniture stores to assemble their own goods that will replace the seller’s work. Consultations should primarily be possible “remotely” via phone or chat from home, and cashiers should exchange payments via the app.
︎ ︎ In a representative Verdi survey in all German Ikea stores, 86 percent of employees said they were afraid of losing their jobs, business magazine reports.
Which should further encourage fear: The furniture giant has terminated its general operating contract this year – nothing stands in the way of surpluses for operational reasons. According to the company, the number of employees is 20,125 full-time people.
▶ ︎ The concept also envisions Ikea showrooms in city centers to replace clutter in furniture stores. The sales areas there would be turned into logistics halls to create storage space for the growing internet demand.
Online business is booming – even before Corona
There are good reasons why the furniture company wants to increase its focus on digital supply: In the last year, online sales have grown by a full 33 percent and earned 494 million euros – about ten percent of total sales, Business Insider reports.
As with most online stores, the share should be significantly higher during the Corona crisis!
Dennis Balslev, head of Ikea in Germany: “It shows that our customers have embraced our strategy of concentrating on expanding online business and seamlessly connecting all channels.”
Criticisms of workers’ councils and Verdi
Workers’ councils and the Verdi union assume that many employees will be transferred from the cash register to logistics – many workers who do not feel physically difficult task suffer. Verdi criticizes that cashiers and salespeople are employed below their qualifications and for significantly lower wages.
▶ ︎ The furniture store is trying to calm that down.
At the request of Business Insider, a spokeswoman for the group said: “We see that our customers like to come to the furniture store because they appreciate the direct and personal advice of our employees. For this reason, we do not plan to reduce consulting skills in the furniture trade or to distribute employees differently ”.