IKEA recently opened in the Philippines and we were lucky enough to be the first ones to have an in-store shopping experience which served as a dry run for its staff. Unfortunately, we had a time limit of only three hours to shop and check out our carts but I personally feel that three hours is more than enough to shop as long as you aren’t distracted and already know what you want to buy. Moreover, on our second time, the staff told us in the entrance that we are not able to go inside again once we’ve stepped out. That said, here are things that you should do before visiting the store and some quick dos and don’ts to maximize your time and shopping experience at IKEA Pasay City.
As of writing, we visited the store a total of two times – one on the media day shopping preview, and one via IKEA online booking last December 3. Queues were relatively long for both days so it’s best to get a bite before you enter the store. Light or heavy, the choice is yours as you won’t have to worry about taking a dump in-store as IKEA has one of the best public restrooms in the country – no joke.
SKIP THE SWEDISH RESTAURANT
Book a separate date if you want to eat at the iconic IKEA restaurant. The average queue time is reportedly at 2.5 hours as seen on social media and it’s even posted at the restaurant entrance. So you’re out of luck if you plan to shop and eat on the same day, that’s if you have a whole day to spare for queuing and shopping.
CHECK THE ONLINE SITE BEFOREHAND / ADD A SHOPPING CART
It’s like studying for the exams. It’s good to know what you’re up against before the day comes. Go to IKEA’s website and browse items that you might want to buy on the day itself. Can’t decide between Furniture A and Furniture B? Well, that’s what the showrooms are all about, add them to your cart and find compare them once you go to the store before you make your purchase. You can show your online shopping cart to the staff and have them present the furniture to you (or point you to the area if you’re in another section) to make your shopping experience easier.
Additionally, there are items that are exclusive on the e-commerce site as well as on the IKEA store so you can already check out the furniture and other items online and finish your shopping list at your store visit. Be on the lookout for in-store items that are not listed online – it’s hard to schedule another booking just for that small item you thought that’ available online.
KEEP YOUR PHONE CAMERA READY
IKEA’s shopping experience is built on showrooms that are in between sections so that you have an idea of what to get for your home. There are some small items in the showrooms that you can grab the moment you decide to purchase it but for most items especially the furniture, you’d have to go to the self-service area or go to the information kiosks to add them to your shopping cart. Moreover, the items you see at each showroom are scattered across different sections to its best to take pictures of the products you’d like so you can easily track and locate them once you enter different sections and showrooms.
REMEMBER THE MEASUREMENTS & CONFIGURATION
Like most furniture especially tables, there are different sizes and configurations available to suit your needs. Most of IKEA’s furniture is customizable and can be mixed and matched with our items especially the tabletops and drawers. So if you happen to like a certain set up in the showroom, be sure to remember the size and measurements as you might make a mistake in buying the wrong size or color.
PREPARE FOR MORE THAN ONE PAYMENT METHOD – CASH IS KING
On our media-day visit, both Paymaya and GCash weren’t working in the checkout counters which was understandable as the store isn’t fully operational yet. But on our second visit and based on feedback from our friends who visited prior, there are some counters that encountered payment issues – some lanes might accept your BPI or BDO card, and some lanes won’t. Our lane during checkout wasn’t able to accept our BPI debit and credit cards but luckily we were able to transfer funds to our Paymaya account and used it to pay instead. For that reason, we recommend that you pay in cash as much as possible to avoid the potential hassle in the check-out process. Or prepare credit cards from different banks and make sure that one is VISA and the other one is MasterCard.