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How Kishore Biyani took advantage of IKEA's first day glow with crafty advertising


IKEA had a gate-crasher of sort when the world’s largest furniture retailer opened its first store in India: Kishore BBiyani’s home furnishing chain, Home-Town, strategically placed ads on the wThe ads sought to entice customers with 50% discounts. “What is not there … is here,” they declared, with the word “there” written in dark blue with “Here”, of course, was in the red Home-Town colour. “Free lifetime maiThat indeed was ambush marketing, Biyani admitted. He also didn’t see anytNeither did IKEA, with its India country manager Ulf Smedberg calling the interest from Biyani as “super interesting”.“That is fair,” Biyani said on the ads, while declaring his admiration for the Swedish giant as a retailer. In fact, ‘Leading by Design – The IKEA Story’ is his favourite book on retaHomeTown, a local knock-off of IKEA that operates through much smaller stores, will benefit from the entry of the Swedish retailer to the market, Biyani s“Our business is bound to increase, and the category will be created by IKEA.”A possible indication: On Thursday, when IKEA opened its first India store, “our sales have gone up at the three Hyderabad stores”, he said.In an emailed response to ET’s questions, IKEA’s Smedberg said with many players together, the company believed the home furnishing sector in India would grow and there would be room for more growth. On the HomeTown ads, he said:An estimated 40,000 people visited IKEA’s 400,000 sq ft big box store on Thursday in Hitec City, a technology hub that houses offices of multinationals like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Deloitte, Accenture and Dell. The retailer said it sBiyani saw it coming and seized the opportunity to troll IKEA and pitch his own chain.“IKEA is ranked from 1-100 and everybody else starts from 101. They are a unique and probably the best retailer of the world,” said the founder of the Future Group, which operate more than 2,000 outlets from supermarBiyani said the HomeTown ads were getting noticed. “We are the largest furniture retailer in India but we don’t get that kind of attention otherwise.”

Illustration for article titled How Kishore Biyani took advantage of IKEAs first day glow with crafty advertising

kets to department store chains. “IKEA is IKEA and they are an institution.”

igned up about 9,000 loyalty members on the first day and its cafeteria, the largest for any store for the company, sold about 16,000 pieces of samosas and 5,000 cups of yogurt.


“This is a creative and fun way to reach out to us and we feel very welcome in India.”



hing wrong in the ads.

ntenance in more than 50 cities across India,” the advertisements read.

yellow background — the signature colours of IKEA.

alls just across the IKEA outlet. Those were visible even from the inside of the sprawling store in Hyderabad’s Hitec City.



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