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Ikea VP: ‘AI will be the next disruptor’


Ikea vice president of engineering Anca Iordanescu has branded artificial intelligence (AI) as the “next disruptor” for the retail industry.

Speaking to InternetRetailing at the Mach Two conference in Amsterdam, Iordanescu said: “AI will be a part of our reality in the near future.

“As a group, we are seriously looking at AI and incorporating it into our roadmap. AI will definitely change the world we are living and trading in. It is the next big thing,” she says.

“In the future, we will have to re-look at our workforce and determine how employees will work, hand-in-hand, with the evolving technological advancements.”

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Ikea is ranked as a leading retailer in the 2023 RetailX Global Elite Top1000 report.

Despite, Iordanescu not revealing any further plans regarding AI, just this week, it was announced that the Swedish furniture retailer is training its call centre staff to become interior design advisers as it hands over its customer queries to AI bot, Billie.

“We’re committed to strengthening co-workers’ employability in Ingka [the parent company of Ikea], through lifelong learning and development and reskilling, and to accelerate the creation of new jobs,” Ingka Group global people and culture manager Ulrika Biesert says.

However, according to Iordanescu, the company’s use of AI is a “new way to support co-workers”, referring to the scheme as “connective co-working”.

Iordanescu adds: “Our colleagues should not just be purely for selling or planning, they should have different skillsets, which Ikea is helping with”

As a result, on a technology front Iordanescu reveals the company is looking to create a new experience platform, which allows “connective co-working” to be made “simpler” and more “suited to the user”.

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