Trust is key to success in Indonesia

One third of the population in Indonesia live below the poverty line. So when opening the first IKEA store, on 15 October 2014, Indonesia also initiated several “good cause” initiatives to enable more of the many people to create a better everyday life.

Indonesia store entrance

At time of writing the first IKEA store in Indonesia is due to open in Alam Sutera Tangerang, a city on the outskirts of Jakarta, on 15 October 2014.

“Achieving the IKEA vision ‘to create a better everyday life for the many people’ in an area with a population of around 28 million, and where many people live on very little, will be a challenge”, says Benedicte Hansen of IKEA Alam Sutera. A pre-study established that one-third of people in the Jakarta area are potential IKEA customers, one-third could become customers in the next 5-10 years, while one-third live below the poverty line.

Benedicte goes on to explain that to enter the hearts and minds of the Indonesian people, they first had to understand what’s important to them, “Trust is a very important factor in the Indonesian culture, and ‘doing well by doing good’ has a deeply rooted connection with Indonesians from all walks of life.”

With knowledge of the importance of trust in Indonesian culture, it has been more important than ever to strengthen relationships with the local communities through ‘good cause’ and CSR initiatives. For example, in the lead-up to the store opening, a competition was held for local art schools to design an IKEA uniform using batik, which is traditionally worn on Fridays in Indonesia. The winning design was produced locally and will be worn by IKEA co-workers on Fridays.

Another initiative is the ‘blue bag project’. During the first two years of the IKEA Alam Sutera store opening, 100% retail value of every IKEA shopping bag sold will go towards building septic tanks in Kelurahan Penjaringan, Indonesia, together with Mercy Corps Indonesia.

As well as good cause initiatives, the IKEA Alam Sutera store will ensure that products and facilities meet the specific local and cultural needs of its visitors. For example, like any IKEA store in a mainly Muslim country, an area has been created for prayer and the restaurant has adapted its food offer to include halal products.

Alan David Buckle, Store Manager for IKEA Alam Sutera, gives his thoughts on the future success of the store: “I am very optimistic. The IKEA home furnishing offer is unique in this market. Society here is very forward focused and looking for a better future. What we can offer is a better everyday life at home.” He also shares insights for other IKEA stores opening in a new market, “Be patient and respectful of the local culture. But also remain strong and determined to tackle any challenge along the way. You will get there.”