Why does IKEA's online shopping suck so hard?

I’ve been doing a lot of online shopping recently. Ikea seems like the kind of store that would dominate online shopping. I mean, everything they make is in a flat pack already. And they are big and mighty, so getting the deets of omnichannel down seems very do-able.

And yet… their website is a total mess. They don’t get stuff shipped out quickly. You can’t even easily see what you ordered. Their whole online experience is so circa 2000. Why???

Today I ordered a piece of furniture from Target. It just shipped. The pieces I ordered from Ikea 5 days ago haven’t even been processed. And they are not some super special things - just some normal stuff. And to track the progress of the order I have to copy and past the order information from their email because they don’t have an Orders section of their customer profile.

Other companies do this Ikea. You need to do this.


Do they also make you go round menus where other options are set up on display before you get to the real menus?


Isn’t their whole thing that they keep costs low by foisting the work onto you? Assembly, picking things out of the warehouse, etc?

I thought about ordering from Ikea once, but the shipping was quite pricey and would take a long time, so I waited for a local shop to have a deep discount sale.


Yeah I paid crazy for the shipping. The only reason I ordered from them is that I wanted to use my space really wisely (it’s a dresser going in my closet) and they seemed like the most functional thing in that price range. I also could configure that particular set of furniture so I could get the right height for my space. The other thought is that it’s configurable (Nordli), so when I move out of this apartment, I could stack the two dressers together into other combos in a new space.


Oh, totally, I love Ikea furniture. They’re just philosophically opposed to get it to where I live in the middle of nowhere.

I want this to be true...



I think they just want to get people into the store so that they have to traverse the maze and see every product on offer.


Then they should geofence their website. If you are over X miles from the nearest Brick and Mortar store, you get the usable website.

Then everyone will just need to get a VPN that puts them in the middle of Montana and you can use the easy site.


I worked at an IKEA years ago - online shopping wasn’t quite what it is now but it was getting there - and you’ve pretty much hit the answer. They want you in the store, as you’ll generally have to traverse the entire range to get to the checkout and the aim is for you to impulse buy as many items as possible.


And there is no possible way to create that experience online is there???

Get with the times IKEA!


Their management should hit the ikeahackers boards more often. Their most loyal customers go through the store in reverse.

Every stick of furniture I own is either handed down from a relative or from IKEA (sometimes both). My personal shopping record was to buy two bookcases in-store and arrange delivery in under thirty minutes.


I haven’t tried their website. But I’m thinking about common pitfalls:

  • Sites which attack visitors.

  • Sites which don’t work with reasonable variation in user settings. “Can you try it without your safety tools?” is not a solution or even a safe dubugging tip. It’s not that long since it was common to advise photosensitive users to disable Javascript. So no reliance on Javascript, no modals, no reliance on position:fixed sidebars, etc.

  • Sites which do work, but have massively overlapping text, or which jump as they load to adjust space for text. Especially if they open and close objects as users scroll.

  • Sites which require users to make phone calls if anything goes wrong, or to report accessibility problems, such as the fact that the site requires users to make phone calls, or provide contact phone numbers, or the like. More a government problem than a commercial one, in my experience. My Medicaid application may be blocked because I noted I cannot use phones, so they want additional disability documentation including my complete medical records and a complete ssdi application, including a contact phone number. Abled applicants aren’t required to provide so much documentation.

  • Sites which rely on search but lack adequate search tools. For example, they may not allow users to exclude terms or exclude features. For example, searching for “latex free” OR NOT “latex” should be doable.


I was gonna make a joke about being a virtuoso table lamp player, but on closer inspection those look like microphones.

Still not technically musical instruments, but it’s not ridiculous to put them in that category.