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Should I buy furniture online from IKEA?

Blog

Should I buy furniture online from IKEA?

Ian Kerr

This post follows my earlier blog post, My descent into IKEA hell...

The torture is nearly over.

My IKEA furniture has finally been delivered, and the delivery experience was pathetic from start to finish.

 So let's start at the beginning, with a quick recap:

  • I ordered furniture online from IKEA.
  • The delivery window was 7 - 10 days.
  • Delivery was not attempted until day 14 (after sitting at the depot for a week), by which time I had moved to another city.
  • The consignment couldn't be redirected until there had been three failed delivery attempts.

On day 28, I received a phone call from the GLS driver, asking when I was likely to be at my old address. I told him I'd moved. He asked if I could go to the depot to collect the shipment. I told him that (a) I don't have a car, and (b) I'm in a city hundreds of kilometres away.

By this point I'd worked out that IKEA had no intention of contacting me about my order. So I contacted IKEA, and I was told that my order would be delivered on day 35 at my new address.

Day 35 arrived, but my IKEA order didn't. Seriously IKEA, are you doing this to mess with my mind?

Finally, on day 36, my furniture arrived. And what an experience that was! My total order weighed over 30kg, and IKEA promises that orders over 30kg are delivered to the door, not just to the main entrance of the apartment block.

The apartment buzzer rang, and it was the man from GLS with my furniture. I invited him to bring the furniture to my apartment, and I was bluntly told that I had to come to the apartment block entrance.

"But my order is over 30kg," I protested. The GLS man said that it wasn't over 30kg.

"Does that mean the order is incomplete?" I asked. Yes, said the GLS man, my order was incomplete.

At the apartment block entrance, the GLS driver unceremoniously dumped my consignment inside the main door. "See?" he said, flinging one package against the wall, "That's not 30kg!"

I pointed to a big yellow sticker with "32kg" on it stuck next to the address label. "It's over 30kg, you're supposed to deliver it to my door."

That cut no ice with the man from GLS. "That only applies if each article weighs more than 30kg." At that point I'd had enough, and bade him farewell. It was obvious that he would say whatever he could to get out of delivering the consignment to the door. 

"Yes this box looks fine. No, we won't bother taping the ends. The small items inside aren't likely to fall out!"

"Yes this box looks fine. No, we won't bother taping the ends. The small items inside aren't likely to fall out!"

As you can see from the photos, the parcels were in a terrible condition. One carton was open at both ends!

So let's sum up IKEA's principal failures first:

  1. Failed to deliver within 7-10 days.
  2. Couldn't redirect shipment prior to delivery (when advised by the customer), but instead had to wait for three failed delivery attempts.
  3. At no point contacted the customer, even after the three failed delivery attempts.

And here are GLS's failures:

  1. Offered no parcel redirection facility via online portal.
  2. Didn't deliver consignment to the door - despite the customer paying for that service.
  3. Packages delivered in a terrible state.

Lessons for the delivery sector

  1. Ensure retailers know what the delivery standard is, and make sure they communicate this to customers.
  2. Keep the customer (either directly or via the retailer) updated with the progress of their shipment. Eliminate meaningless messages, focus on communicating information that is important to the customer.
  3. Instruct your delivery drivers on what service is being offered. Is it delivery to the apartment door? Delivery to the building door only? Avoid the likelihood of conflict between the customer and the driver.
  4. Spend two seconds checking that the parcel hasn't come undone in transit. Tape up the package - don't deliver packages in a condition that shows you don't care about the customer.

Should I buy furniture online from IKEA?

Let me answer this by way of "compare and contrast":

In the last month I ordered furniture online from a different retailer. Within a few days the furniture was delivered and assembled. I received a phone call and a text message advising of the progress of my order and the date and time of delivery. The furniture was delivered at the promised time.

Can IKEA meet that standard?

One last thing...

The final part of this ordeal is yet to come... I haven't yet tried to assemble the furniture!

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