March 7, 2019: The day I visited an IKEA outlet for the first time in my life and boy did I enjoy it! For someone who enjoys every bit of her visit to ANY furniture/hardware/ home decor store, IKEA was the cherry on top of it all, the Disneyland of my dreams 😀 Okay, that may sound like a stretch, but I’ll admit I’m excessively obsessed with IKEA.
I have gone to lengths to shop from the IKEA store, even when India didn’t have an outlet by nagging friends and relatives to shop and ship for me, buying preloved stuff, etc.,. so visiting India’s first IKEA was always high up on my to-do list! #CrazyGracy I’ve enjoyed all the previews anyone posted on the Hyderabad store and they fuelled my enthusiasm and there I was, at an all-time emotional high at the entrance to the store, that the not-so-social IRL me started talking to our cabbie and asking him if he had gone there, and that he must visit. Anyway, since a lot of you wanted to know how to shop there, especially if you are not from Hyderabad, I’m writing this to help you. This can also be a sort of guide to help you use my research to do your own IKEA shopping. So read on, and if you found it useful, do share and leave a comment as well.
Step 1: Prep before you visit the store.
- Catalog reading: Just going through all of the products on their website was a time consuming and it took me 3 days to just go through it and I didn’t get through ALL sections.
- Read and understand all information on the labels/site description. While a vast majority of the products there are made of engineered wood, you also have solid wood and metal options. What I liked best is the weight limits and the full-picture description on all items–very helpful to decide if a certain product is needed or not.
- Draw inspiration from how the products have been / can be used. Pinterest boards with IKEA hack and tips are great too. It all boils down to your needs and budget. We were doing some big-ticket shopping for the new house, and so wanted to spend a part of our interior budget at IKEA.
- Check out the website closer to the dates you are visiting as the site is updated with real-time stock updates as well.
- Add all the items you want to buy in your cart and reevaluate. It’s easy to go overboard with shopping if you are anything like me, so have a printed copy of the wishlist, so you can check things off as you get it. If you are looking at inter-city shipping, this helps evaluate the weight of items so u get a vague idea of what the charges would be like.
VERY IMPORTANT : Prepare your shopping partner(s) especially if they are averse to shopping *cough* spouses *cough*. I watched a couple youtube videos of the place with the husband and my little one, to prepare them of what to expect, hype it up for the LO. This is a MUST-DO if your shopping partners are susceptible to crankiness. 😛 This really helped me, and my partner to enjoy the shopping experience. We allocated one full day just for IKEA, day 1 of our vacay. 3 hours was spent at the display section and around 6-7 hours at the marketplace.
Step 2: Plan ahead & have the necessary tools handy.
- Get the IKEA membership. It is free. Just sign up on the website to get member prices.
- Download the IKEA app – helps in in-store shopping. It has some neat features where you can check out prices, aisles where the products are, click a product picture and learn more about it etc.,.
- Best to go on a weekday (Mon-Thur) but the ‘so-crowded-you-can’t-move’ phase has passed now I think.
- Take a physical print out or a screenshot of your wishlist.
Step 3: Rest
- Sleep well the previous night.
- Be prepared for a LOT of walking. I hit around 16k steps that one day and it’s my best step count to-date. No kidding.
- Head early to the store. Set time limits to how much time you can spend at the display section. The market place is spread across a wide area, do you will end up walking like 3 kms I think (Not factual. Only my feeling) or 5 if you have kids who must use the rest rooms , when you are very close to the billing checkout.
Step 4: SHOP.
- Once you enter the IKEA entrance, you can either head directly to the market hall (provided you have noted all the aisle numbers where you wishlist is) or move to the display areas. The IKEA Hyderabad outlet is divided into two parts: a market hall on the ground floor and a display showroom on the first floor. There’s also a 1,000-seater restaurant selling Hyderabad’s famed biryani, Swedish meatballs, and coffee, among other things.
- The entrance is designed such that shoppers are first guided up to the showroom via an escalator before they head down to the ground floor. You can pick a cart or shopping bag and pencil and brochure that guides you. The showroom helps you visualize things better and see how large or small items can be. This section also has small items like kids’ toys, cutlery, potted plants etc.,. Zoe & I had a ball of a time here, getting more overwhelmed with the choices than we already were.
- There’s a long flight of stairs downstairs to the market hall which is on the ground floor. You will see kitchen stuff first – all very affordable things. Stick to the list 😀
- Big furniture items are all flat packed and are placed in the aisles and sections as described on the instore labels / website.
- If you have any clarifications, there are designated sections for customer service where you can ask for help – but only if you have specific details like the product name – here’s where your screenshots or printouts come in handy. For instance the dresser cabinets comes in several parts, so you will need to pick all them seperately.
- My big worry was about how we will manage to lug things as we had a bed, dressers, tables etc.,. The bed was the hardest to pull out and add to our trolley, I requested a shopping assistant to help us with it. Once you have your trolleys ready, head to the checkout lines.
Pro Tip: If any item that you want is close to being sold out, I suggest you go to the respective aisle and add it to your cart asap.
Out little dude was exhausted by the end of it and took a quick nap.
Step 5: Go home
Now if you are from Hyderabad, you could hire a minivan if you have a lot of stuff or just take it in your car or opt for delivery from IKEA as well. The base rate is INR 1500.
If you are from anywhere else in India, you can avail shipping options via their 3rd party partners who sit just next to the bill checkout zone. They ship to almost all metros and most non-metros. You can head to this section for inquiries as soon as you enter the store (They are closer to the entrance, so don’t make the mistake of entering the market place, as they are all seated near checkout you will have to walk the whole distance to reach them, a waste of time and energy) or call them beforehand and check if they service your pin code if you are from a non-metro. (I shall share the contact details at the end) So once you finish billing, you can go to them and hand over your packages.
Pre-Requisites for Shop & Ship:
- Shipping is NOT managed by IKEA. They’ve outsourced this to verified shipping partners who are all seated there in the space near the billing checkout. So it’s between you and the shipping service providers henceforth.
- Usually, glass materials aren’t advised when you opt for this service. You can still send it at your risk. We ended up adding a bathroom mirror cabinet and it reached us safe, but a word of caution for lamp buyers, and other things glass.
- All flat packed stuff requires no additional packing and so no extra charges for these. For the smaller items will have to pay an additional price 700 for one trolley. Again, IKEA is DIY shop in every sense. You will have to paper(bubble)wrap things as per your wish.
- Sofas and other non-flat packed items will be charged volumetric rates.
- All items are air cargo, so it will reach you in exactly one week minimum.
Rates: Base Rate: INR 1500 for the first 50 KGS. For metros like Chennai, for every additional KG above 50kg is charged at INR 19. For non-metros it was INR 22, as far I know. But not more than INR 25. So in my view shipping is extremely cheap for outstation buyers, if you compare that with what private couriers charge us. Not bad huh 🙂
Since I was obviously new to this scene and extremely paranoid about stuff reaching me in one piece, I had insured all of the items. The insurance charges are at 1% of the total bill value. Take photos of all your shipments. and handover proof. Just in case. 😉
The shipping partner we used was XPEED Logistics:
Walk out of this section, have some coffee, chill or just go to your hotel and hit the sack like we did.
Did I miss anything? Let me know and I shall reply.
PS: HAUL video & my IKEA favourites posts – coming up.
If you’ve read till the end, pls leave a comment, so I know 🙂
A slideshow of some of our memories at the store. Follow me on instagram @thegracelog where I will be sharing some more pictures and videos about this.