Photo: IKEA Singapore

The wait is over: Ikea Singapore's online store launches today after about two years in the making.

Shoppers can now skip the trip to the Swedish furniture giant's Tampines megastore or Alexandra Road outlet. Instead, they can make their purchases at ikea.sg and have the items delivered to their homes.

Just like its brick-and-mortar stores, the online store has an extensive inventory of about 7,000 products.

Photo: IKEA Singapore

The prices online are the same, with the exception of in-store promotions. Online customers can pay using their credit card or Nets. There is no minimum spending.

Delivery for a parcel, which has small items weighing less than 24kg and the longest side not exceeding 1m, costs $15.

For delivery of bulky items and furniture, each trip costs $70. The delivery-service vendors are also trained to assemble the furniture, although this service costs extra.

Mr Mike King, 46, Ikea South-east Asia's retail director, says there have long been calls for an online store in Singapore, but the brand wanted to iron out all the kinks before launching one.

Previously, Ikea Singapore's website was a virtual extension of its print catalogue, showing mood shots of different rooms and information about Ikea's products.

Photo: IKEA Singapore

Mr King says: "The online store is overdue, but our ambition is to be late and right, rather than be early and wrong.

"We are a strong brand which people trust. We didn't want to put that trust at risk with a half-baked e-commerce experience."

With online shopping now available, he expects greater demand for Ikea's products, but is confident there will not be a problem fulfilling orders from its physical and online stores.

"In the last 12 months, Ikea has been affected by the global container problem (caused by South Korean company Hanjin Shipping going bankrupt) and port delays in Shanghai. Those issues cause more problems rather than the added demand generated by e-commerce."

He anticipates more improvements for the online store. For example, in future, there may be an option for customers to collect their online purchases from the two physical stores.

Interior designer Sherlynn Low goes to Ikea's Alexandra Road store at least once a week to buy furnishings such as cushions and lights for her clients' homes and is excited about the convenience of shopping online.

The 30-year-old, who founded Millimeters Studio, says: "There are basic items which I know I will buy or new items I have already seen in the store and like. I can cut down on trips I make to the store and get them online instead."

This article was first published in The Straits Times