IKEA and Alibaba announced the opening of the IKEA virtual store on the Alibaba e-commerce platform Tmall in the midst of the pandemic. The partnership enables IKEA to become more accessible for customers in China and also allows the company to test and meet customers in a new, digital way and is the first official store of IKEA on a third-party platform in the world.

This initiatives underscores the importance of digital in growing IKEA’s presence in China, especially as the company’s global online sales have historically only accounted for less than 10% of their total revenues. This balance could and will change due to the acceleration to digital by COVID, as well as the new Tmall partnership.

For retailers, this is essentially what it means to embrace the set of “digital infrastructure” and is a crucial way for traditional big brands to achieve transformation.