On this Saturday afternoon, the parking lot at Ikea de Plaisir in the Yvelines is almost empty. Only the employees’ cars are parked, the few onlookers who venture there find the doors closed. “The opening is scheduled for Monday,” announces an employee to a customer who heads for the entrance.
While most stores have raised the curtain since May 11, the brand preferred to “take its time to secure everything”, explains Emma Recco, strategy director, business development of Ikea France where only the delivery and “Click and take” were operational in recent weeks. “In particular, we had to rework all the tasks in the store and structure the flows differently,” she said, while ensuring that she had worked “with the staff representatives to properly calibrate this new organization. “
Mask compulsory for all
After ordering more than 2.5 million euros in safety equipment (masks, gels, visors, gloves, etc.), this is how Ikea plans to welcome its customers this Monday. As with other brands (Boulanger, Decathlon, King Jouet, etc.), each client must wear a mask. “This is the rule: a mask for everyone, for our employees and for our visitors from 11 years old. Otherwise, we will not let him in, ”confirms Emma Recco.
A security officer will monitor compliance with this rule while customers will be “strongly” encouraged to use the hydroalcoholic gel dispenser – which operates by operating a pedal – located at the entrance.
At the reception precisely, no more sofa or any furniture on display to prevent visitors from settling there. The children’s play area is also closed. Just like the restaurant upstairs which now serves as a canteen for employees while in the toilets, some sinks or urinals have been condemned to free up space.
In Plaisir, it will be 600 people maximum
In each of its stores, Ikea will obviously “regulate the flows”. “We have a counting system that allows us to know the number of visitors in real time,” says the strategy director, while a “very strict” quota has been decided. “It is two to three times the threshold recommended by the state,” says the brand.
For the Plaisir store, it is 600 customers maximum at the same time for a sales area of 21,500 square meters. “We may have to wait for some customers outside,” says Emma Recco, pointing to these barriers to entry that will regulate the flow. “It’s not about refusing people. But whenever possible, we ask them to limit the number of people accompanying them. “
In the waiting areas – the cash desks, the reception and sales points – it is also asked to wait alone while a marking on the ground, indicated by yellow circles, allows to maintain a distance of 1 , 50 meter. Inside, Ikea has not changed anything in its direction of movement, now applied in many other brands to prevent customers from crossing paths.
Renowned for being a brand where consumers like to hang out, Ikea also invites its customers – at least during this reopening phase – to “efficient shopping”. “We advise them to prepare their arrival in advance to save time in the store,” says Emma Recco.
It will always be possible to stroll through these “inspirational rooms” where the brand has reconstructed living spaces. But in these spaces popular with families looking for decorating ideas, “only one person is allowed”, can we read on the ground.
And for those who would need the services of a seller for advice or to order, the “reception and sales points” are obviously operational. But to avoid being too crowded, all the screens have been doubled. “We made sure that the employee was isolated from the client. With this system, the customer will still be able to view his order or a product on another screen located in front of him, ”announces Emma Recco.
Disposable paper or mattress pads to try on couches or mattresses
On the other hand, there is no question of prohibiting customers from touching the dishes, cushions or other items on display. “They will all have masks and there will be gel available everywhere, including sprays to clean self-service computers.” In total, in this store, more than 170 bottles of hydroalcoholic gels (including sprays) are dispersed on the shelves.
For those who would like to try mattresses, sofas and other armchairs, rolls of paper and soon disposable mattress pads are also available. “The cleaning protocols have been strengthened. The handles, the handrails, the surfaces will be disinfected regularly ”, specifies Emma Recco. Just like the carts which will be after each use while the bags will be quarantined once returned by the customer.
However, it is impossible to clean each of the items on display and for sale. The idea being to be “reasonable”, underlines the sign. For stuffed animals, for example, a sign asks parents and children “to wait until they are home to cuddle them”.