Like other retailers, Ikea saw a huge surge in online orders as the coronavirus closed stores and made consumers wary of in-store shopping. But unlike Walmart, Target, and others, Ikea wasn't ready. As the orders rolled in, so did the complaints. Stories of out-of-stocks, unfulfilled orders, and terrible customer service abound. Even now that Ikea's stores have reopened, the e-commerce surge is far from over, and the retailer's digital capabilities still do not match the demand. The CEO of Ikea's parent company Ingka Group said back in January that Ikea was investing "like never before" in e-commerce and delivery. Those investments weren't enough to ward off the current mess, but Ikea has promised to keep working on it.
Ikea seemed to have a similar reckoning with its digital business in 2017, but it didn't figure things out in time for the stress test of 2020.