Ikea now has 8,300 products for sale online- but not the one I want

Retailer’s €7.50 country-wide fee for new online shopping will delight, but product choice - while extensive - may disappoint

You can skip the queues with Ikea’s new online shopping service - but  you mightn’t find the one item you really want. Photograph: Matt Morton/PA Wire

You can skip the queues with Ikea’s new online shopping service - but you mightn’t find the one item you really want. Photograph: Matt Morton/PA Wire

 

It may be what so many of us in need of scented candles, plush footballs and storage boxes to rival a Tupperware shop may have longed for some time for, but the arrival of Ikea’s new online shopping platform is a little less than may have been hoped for.

Or at least what I had been hoping for.

Last week, the Swedish flat-pack furniture giant and purveyor of all things you never thought you needed and actually sometimes don’t, announced that it would allow its Irish customers to purchase online for the first time.

Launching the new service, IKEA Ireland Market Manager, Claudia Marshall said: “Shop online gives customers across Ireland another way to shop with IKEA and allows them to choose how and when they want to shop with us” and she promised a “seamless” service.

So, having postponed a trip to the Ballymun superstore for nigh on six months now (I’m surely not the only one?), I rushed to log-on and try this “seamless” service to so I could finally take prompt delivery of those much-needed picture frames and rails my kitchen is crying out for.

However, I was to be disappointed in my search as the site - thus far at least - does have limitations in the home store’s online product range, which is a shame given the attractive flat fee on offer for smaller items.

The product range

According to Ikea, some 8,300 products from the retailer’s range are available to buy online. However, it says that a “small number” of items are not available “for a number of reasons”. These include knives, which are not available to buy online for safety reasons, as well as seasonal items, such as Christmas decorations. However, as I found to my dismay, some of the “old reliables” such as my Ribba picture frame and rails, as well as other popular items such as baby tableware or scented candles, also aren’t currently available for order online. The retailer says it is planning to increase the range of products available on its shop online channel over the coming months however, so this may change.

Hopefully this will prove to be the case, as the retailer’s charge for smaller goods is reasonably attractive. At the Irish outlet, you can order a number of smaller goods, up to a parcel weight of 25kg, such as a rug and a lamp, and pay just €7.50 for delivery right across the country. Given that crossing the M50 can cost up to €6.20 there and back, at this price point there is value to be had.

The cost

Ordering online can get expensive however when you start looking for larger goods. If you’re ordering a number of pricey flat-packed units, you may be unlikely to complain about the €44 charge for a Dublin delivery, given the ease with which you can order your goods without lifting yourself off your couch and braving the crowds - and the temptation of a nine-item breakfast for €3.50 - in Ballymun. If you live further afield however, in Carlow or Kilkenny, for example, delivery will cost you €64, while in counties Clare and Roscommon, the cost is €84 for an online shopping delivery.

In the UK on the other hand, the retailer appears to charge a flat fee of £35 (€39) for deliveries outside of the reach of Ikea stores, or £25 within.

These online shopping charges also compare less favourably with other delivery options; if you make it to the store in Ballymun for example, you can order for delivery in Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare, Meath for €29; the following counties for €49 (Louth, Monaghan, Cavan, Longford, Westmeath, Offaly, Laois, Kilkenny, Carlow, Wexford); and the following for €69 (Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway, Clare, Tipperary, Limerick, Kerry, Cork, Waterford). Alternatively, for southsiders and those living in the wider hinterland, the Carrickmines store is another alternative; however it’s a poor choice if all you want is some picture frames and cushions, due to the € 15 delivery charge to the store’s pick-up point. As a comparison, the retail giant’s Norwich order and collection point in the UK allows free instore collection.

Of course what the retailer is probably keenly aware of is that it mightly actually be cheaper for people to pay the full delivery charge than incur the costs of a trip to Ballymun - and the risk that your trolley will overflow with previously unintended purchases.