What happened: Swedish furniture retailer Ikea launched a WeChat mini program on Monday enabling users to purchase Ikea products online directly. However, Ikea’s mini program is not permanent but a pop-up e-commerce store. For the next nine months, selected Ikea products will be sold via the mini program. According to Ikea, it hasn’t been decided if the mini program will become a permanent retail channel in the future.
Why it’s important: Ikea’s e-commerce struggle in China has been going on for a while. The Swedish company launched an e-commerce retail channel in August 2016. After two years of operation, online purchasing is only available in Shanghai. Last year, Ikea said it would open stores on a third party platform, but business did not go smoothly. There are many third-party purchasing service provider on Taobao targeting consumers in cities where there no Ikea stores or consumers that can’t be bothered to drive to the store.