‘Amazon is a threat’ but Ikea’s digital chief says she has a plan

But what of the threat of Amazon and other e-commerce giants? “Amazon is a threat (undeniably), in markets such as the U.S.,” Martin Coppola told CNBC. “There’s different actors in different countries, in China, Alibaba. In Europe, we haven’t seen much threat. It’s (about) thinking, what is that new retail world going to be? So, there is an interesting movement of tech companies becoming physical and physical companies going digital. And that intersection, that ‘phygital’ world is still to be defined,” she said.

Martin Coppola, who trained as an engineer and spent time at Texas Instruments, Samsung and GrubHub as well as a seven-year stint in marketing at Google and YouTube, said she is bringing her 20 years’ experience in tech to Ikea. “I come from that world. I know it really, really well. I know the power of good engineering, artificial intelligence and the speed of testing constantly in order to get it right. And so any company I would say that wants to compete needs to be at the same level of speed and testing (as the tech companies) to serve the customers in the best possible way.”

Ikea is investing in “personalization at scale,” allowing it to send precisely-targeted communications to people based on what they are doing online. “When people buy a bed, they actually spend two weeks researching online. So there is a lot of information that we gather so that we can actually be relevant to the person wanting to buy a bed in those two weeks,” Martin Coppola said.

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