Ikea plans to launch a website next year, which will allow customers in the UAE to buy goods online and have them delivered home. Ravindranath K K / The National
Ikea plans to launch a website next year, which will allow customers in the UAE to buy goods online and have them delivered home. Ravindranath K K / The National

Shop at Ikea from your own armchair



Ikea, the world's biggest furniture retailer, plans to launch a website early next year to allow UAE customers to buy goods online and have them delivered home.

Mile Franicevic, the general manager in the UAE for Ikea, which is part of the Al-Futtaim Group, said the retailer's website would have the same capability as Ikea's other websites overseas.

"It's good news, it's something we have been chasing for ages," Mr Franicevic said. "Some time in the first quarter of next year consumers will be shopping online."

The website is designed to allow customers to add goods to a virtual shopping basket, pay for them online via credit card and have them delivered home. Mr Franicevic said the website would allow shoppers to view goods they were interested in, such as furniture items, in virtual 3D and in a range of colour schemes. "It will hopefully improve sales, but it's also about enhancing the customer shopping experience," he said.

Carrefour, the French superstore chain, was the first of the UAE's major retailers to go online when it launched www.ic4uae.comin September. UAE customers can buy more than 3,000 non-food items such as electronic goods, homeware and beauty-care products on the site.

Other retailers including Lulu are considering launching similar websites in the coming months.

The online marketing company Webology signed a contract with a leading UAE retailer last week that will enable it to move online with Webology's e-commerce platform, My Retail.

Zeid Kaddoura, a director of Webology, would notname the retailer but said his company had enjoyed a "huge pick-up" in interest this year to develop retail websites.

"There's been much more interest this year from retailers than last and we are in talks with several retailers and other organisations," Mr Kaddoura said.

Euromonitor, an independent data provider, predicts internet retail spending in the UAE will almost double over the next four years, rising from Dh701 million (US$190.8m) last year to Dh1.3 billion in 2015, with consumer electronics accounting for the biggest increase.

"What happens is that one major retailer is the first to go online, and competitors follow so they do not get left behind and [to] maintain their brand," Mr Kaddoura said.

Ikea plans to implement a software programme customised across its stores in September called Microsoft Dynamics Nav, which will help to centralise information on products and supply-chain management. Mr Franicevic said it had taken considerable time to reduce the costs related to offering a delivery service online and enabling the logistics internally.

"We do not want to open the website until we are ready and sure the system works 100 per cent," he said.

Ikea has two outlets in the UAE, its flagship store on Yas Island in the capital and another in Dubai Festival City. A further store is planned for Dubai Marina in 2013.

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Find the right policy for you

Don’t wait until the week you fly to sign up for insurance – get it when you book your trip. Insurance covers you for cancellation and anything else that can go wrong before you leave.

Some insurers, such as World Nomads, allow you to book once you are travelling – but, as Mr Mohammed found out, pre-existing medical conditions are not covered.

Check your credit card before booking insurance to see if you have any travel insurance as a benefit – most UAE banks, such as Emirates NBD, First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, have cards that throw in insurance as part of their package. But read the fine print – they may only cover emergencies while you’re travelling, not cancellation before a trip.

Pre-existing medical conditions such as a heart condition, diabetes, epilepsy and even asthma may not be included as standard. Again, check the terms, exclusions and limitations of any insurance carefully.

If you want trip cancellation or curtailment, baggage loss or delay covered, you may need a higher-grade plan, says Ambareen Musa of Souqalmal.com. Decide how much coverage you need for emergency medical expenses or personal liability. Premium insurance packages give up to $1 million (Dh3.7m) in each category, Ms Musa adds.

Don’t wait for days to call your insurer if you need to make a claim. You may be required to notify them within 72 hours. Gather together all receipts, emails and reports to prove that you paid for something, that you didn’t use it and that you did not get reimbursed.

Finally, consider optional extras you may need, says Sarah Pickford of Travel Counsellors, such as a winter sports holiday. Also ensure all individuals can travel independently on that cover, she adds. And remember: “Cheap isn’t necessarily best.”

South Africa squad

: Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wkt), Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen (wkt), Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Duanne Olivier, Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada.

If you go

There are regular flights from Dubai to Kathmandu. Fares with Air Arabia and flydubai start at Dh1,265.
In Kathmandu, rooms at the Oasis Kathmandu Hotel start at Dh195 and Dh120 at Hotel Ganesh Himal.
Third Rock Adventures offers professionally run group and individual treks and tours using highly experienced guides throughout Nepal, Bhutan and other parts of the Himalayas.

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates