IKEA has chosen Rome to experiment with new ways of presence on the territory. This is how the new XS Store, the first store of its kind in Italy and the seventh in the world, has opened inside the THE WOW SIDE/ex Centro Leonardo in Fiumicino.
As Ivan Gardini, retail city market manager for Ikea in Rome, has explained, the sales area in an XS Store is 5,000 sqm – one third of the retail surface in a “Blue Box”, the traditional Ikea store – and, supported by 4,000 sqm of storage space, focuses on offering complete inspiration, where the catalogue is 100 percent immediately accessible or ready for delivery within two days. It is a “synthesis effort”, store manager Marica Paterlini also confirms: some departments were only physically removed, and the self-service area reduced, but it has been mainly a matter of making choices, internal selections on the content of each department.
In fact, the strongest innovation is in the service concept: the heart of the store is a unified planning area where, unlike other stores where each department has its own specialized consultants, customers can receive integral advice on their projects. “We have invested further, through our in-house Academy, in training our staff, so as to overcome the frustration of the current formula – which we are currently dismantling – the 'department specialists', to move toward the 360-degree consultant, selling not only furniture but home furnishing solutions, able to also take care of customers in search of solutions and not necessarily of immediate purchases”.
The new XS store in Fiumicino, however, is also an innovation in terms of relationship with the city and the larger area.
Local specificity is recalled, as it has always been in Ikea's strategy, inside the store, with a model home considering a small open space like those of many houses in the neghiborhood, with a staged set-up of a small healthy bistro that could conveniently be started on Fiumicino's waterfront, with the Swedish food market also including a corner bar for espresso coffee. Above all, however, the location of the new store is what makes the difference: in terms of mobility, in fact, it is easily accessible to both Fiumicino and Rome residents, thanks to the metropolitan train connecting the two cities and stopping right in front of the mall's entrance. A systemic choice, as Gardini confirms, that ties in with Ikea’s “15 minutes” strategy, inspired by successful accessibility projects of the major metropolitan cities from Europe and worldwide.
On the occasion of this new opening, IKEA will provide the furnishings to the “Santa Maria degli Angeli” homeless shelter at the Fiumicino Airport parish, which will open in April, within the social support project “Gate 95”, realized in collaboration with the reception center of Roma Termini Station, Binario 95 managed by the social cooperative Europe Consulting Onlus. More and more people in the Italian capital have nowhere to stay. This initiative is part of the wider project “A Place to Call Home”, through which IKEA Italy over a decade has carried out 750 social projects throughout the country.