Vertical storage & robots: IKEA's Amsterdam store goes warehouse-free

Click & Collect goes high-tech, eliminates external warehouse.

Ikea Amsterdam no longer needs an external warehouse thanks to an innovative solution for Click & Collect orders. Two large pick-up machines as well as pick-up lockers have been installed in the thoroughly renovated branch, making it even easier for customers to collect their orders. Ikea Amsterdam is the first store worldwide with such an in-store system.

Ikea’s Click & Collect service allows customers to place an order online and choose when and where to pick it up. For example, from the Order & Collect departments in Ikea stores. As this service is increasingly being used, the Swedish department store is always looking for smart solutions to meet this growing demand. The transformation of Ikea Amsterdam is a case in point. Large Click & Collect orders are now available there from the pick-up machines, and smaller orders from pick-up lockers.

The sophisticated machines – 8 metres high and 8.5 metres in diameter – are reminiscent of a huge drinks vending machine. Ikea employees place orders on a cart at the top of the machines. The customer then keys in a code at the order hatch, after which the order starts on its way down. The pick-up machines can issue 480 orders daily. The new way of collecting orders is part of Ikea’s omnichannel strategy aimed at increasing accessibility to existing and new shopping channels. This allows customers to shop at Ikea whenever and wherever they want. Ikea is still exploring the possibility of offering the Click & Collect service outside store opening hours.

Store transformation

To create space in the store for the machines, the Amsterdam branch underwent a transformation. Click & Collect orders are stored vertically instead of horizontally in the new cylindrical machines, saving a lot of space. Switching completely to self-scan checkouts also freed up a lot of square metres. The resulting space was used in a redesign of the warehouse, allowing significantly more products to be stored and the inventory to be replenished more efficiently throughout the day.

“I am proud of our team,” states Youssef Zouhair, Logistics Director of Ikea Netherlands. “It wasn’t easy to implement the pick-up machines and redesign the warehouse. Nevertheless, we didn’t need to close the store, because much of the work took place in the evenings and at night. We dared to take on this exciting project because this is the ideal logistics solution, both for our customers and Ikea itself,” adds Zouhair.

Youssef Zouhair

External warehouse no longer needed

Thanks to the redesign and smart solutions, the external warehouse of almost 8,000 square metres is no longer needed. Previously, after buying items in the store, customers had to drive about 10 minutes to pick up their purchases there. Now all products are offered from the in-store warehouse. This is a big improvement, both for customers and Ikea Amsterdam. Ikea Netherlands is now exploring the possibilities of implementing the pick-up system in other branches as well. Earlier, Ikea also turned its self-service warehouses into distribution centres for e-commerce.