So far the panels and batteries are only offered in the UK but it might spread to sunnier North American climes.
Watch out, Elon Musk! Tesla’s subsidiary SolarCity recently changed its marketing to what Bloomberg calls “the Apple Store Strategy” of upscale stores in shopping malls and high traffic areas, but soon might have to compete against the master of marketing, IKEA.
So far IKEA is only offering solar in the UK, and you can’t just drive to a store and pick up a system in a box like a Billy Bookcase; it’s a joint venture with Solarcentury, a UK supplier and installer of solar panels. But they are giving it the IKEA touch, saying “At IKEA, we believe in simplicity.” In fact, what they are doing isn’t much different than what anyone else does:
Go solar in 4 easy steps:
1. Free quotation
2. Home survey
3. Approve quotation
It’s also not really IKEA that is delivering the product:
IKEA has selected Solarcentury to deliver the IKEA solar offer. Together we have selected packages that will match your home and your pocket. The installation is managed entirely by Solarcentury and you will be buying your system from Solarcentury.
And why are they doing it?
To help tackle climate change, we want our operations to become energy independent. One of our goals is to produce as much renewable energy as we consume by 2020. We have already installed over 700,000 solar panels on our stores and buildings and we feel it’s a natural step to give our customers the opportunity to do the same
Is this a big deal?
Yes and no. IKEA isn’t really getting into the solar business, they are sending prospects to Solarcentury. But again, look at what Tesla has done since acquiring SolarCity; it got rid of all the door to door salespeople and started selling to the walk-in crowds in Tesla stores. According to Bloomberg, “Initial trials found the new strategy was 50 to 100 percent more effective than at the best non-Tesla locations selling SolarCity products.” It’s all about the halo effect. Despite all of the jokes, IKEA is admired and trusted and wow, do they know how to move product. There will be a halo effect here too; this will sell a lot of solar.
We will probably see this happen in North America soon, where IKEA teams up with an American supplier and installer. And who knows, it might even be Solarcity and Tesla; if it is anyone else, it will give Tesla a serious run for their money.