IKEA is one of the world’s largest furniture retail companies, being listed as worth approximately US$44.6 billion.
Shopping at IKEA’s physical stores is sometimes overwhelming and forces most people to shop online for household items.
However, we all can say that IKEA offers pretty good furniture but has extremely high and expensive shipping rates.
Therefore, while avoiding the long lines and crowds of shoppers and shopping online, you may get a high shipping cost at checkout, possibly coming from any of these reasons.
Why Is IKEA Shipping So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. High Standard Delivery Methods
Whether you are shopping from the comfort of your home or your business office, IKEA delivers its furniture without much fuss.
IKEA furniture is fragile, and some glass parts need special care to be taken during delivery.
This calls for the use of padding material and bubble wraps to reduce the shock received by your items during transit.
Large assemblies of dining tables and master beds are delivered by long hauling trailers that can carry many orders.
Small packages are delivered by vans or small vehicles.
Immediately after you purchase an item from IKEA, a tracking number is issued, which can help you track your goods on IKEA’s website.
Your order number and phone number or associated email are used to access your order’s tracking details.
The process of delivery begins once your order status hits “picking order.”
The next stages are “preparing delivery,” then “on its way,” and finally “delivered.”
During packaging, IKEA personnel have to confirm that the item matches your order.
The workers then check if there are any damages or fractures before sending out your items to avoid returns due to damaged goods.
Another worker wraps your item in bubble wrap and in a carton or frame to hold your items during transit.
Forklifts are used to haul heavy furniture sets onto the delivery vehicles.
At the same time, light materials are carried by hand into the back of the vehicle.
Suppose your order specified that you wish all items to be bundled into one package.
In that case, the personnel in charge wraps all of the things you ordered in one package.
The unique packaging process will ensure less space is consumed in the warehouse and during delivery, in warehouse bins and reserve racks, allowing multiple items to be shipped at once.
The costs saved are distributed to the customer delivery fee to dilute and standardize delivery charges.
The worker then tags them with your name, address, and delivery information.
A similar address tag is handed over to the delivery personnel, who will drop the package at your home or office door.
IKEA’s delivery is made through standard ground delivery services.
The items are placed at your doorstep or at your office address.
Sometimes, you can also request the delivery personnel to carry your items upstairs or to your room of choice.
Once the order is on its way, IKEA will notify you via email.
2. Shipping System Designed For High Orders
Unlike most e-commerce and retail businesses, IKEA charges its shipping fees per order and not per item.
As a result, IKEA can be pretty expensive when you are checking out as compared to other sellers.
This is because IKEA charges a flat delivery fee of $5 for smaller items like storage bottles, storage baskets, glass containers, and lamps. This price may be increased depending on the weight of your order.
For larger items like couches, sofas, shelves, wardrobes, beds, and tables, IKEA charges a flat rate of $49.
This system thus becomes more convenient for those making larger orders compared to those ordering a single item.
If you were to purchase just one big item, you would end up paying a $49 shipping fee, and that would be very high, considering it’s just one item.
However, if you ordered multiple items like two beds and a sofa, the shipping charge would still be $49.
This cost and the delivery time also depend on your distance from IKEA’s warehouses.
The order is usually delivered to your home or business and may be placed in your room of choice.
Placing the item(s) in your room of choice adds no extra cost to your delivery fee.
A secondary independent service provider does delivery for large items.
This cost is designed to favor those purchasing multiple items.
The idea encourages you to buy multiple items at IKEA and also perform most of your shopping there.
Thus, the delivery fee ends up being relatively high for single purchases but a bit fairer for multiple purchases.
IKEA also offers an expedited delivery option for some unique purchases.
This enables you to receive your items on the same day you buy them or the next day.
The faster delivery option, however, comes with an additional $69 on top of the usual charge.
The final amount will also depend on the distance between the final destination of the goods and the closest IKEA store.
3. Items’ Pricing Does Not Include Shipping Costs
IKEA is known for its well-priced items.
Most e-commerce sites use the delivery fee to get more profit.
However, IKEA has a flat rate that is only adjusted depending on the distance from their warehouse.
IKEA is a cheap furniture store that does not add extra delivery fees to your shipping fee for profit.
The products are also priced at a flat rate.
Therefore, no additional delivery fees are added to the profit margins.
Businesses that claim to be delivering items for free are actually not doing so.
They add the shipment fees onto the price of the item, which is more expensive than the sum of the item and the shipment fees combined.
The free shipping offer is always an incentive for customers to shop more.
The company makes the cost of the product very high to offset the costs that will be incurred during delivery and other potential charges.
Free shipping makes most products seem cheaper, which is actually not the case.
The final product cost is very high to cover the freight cost.
IKEA does not do so.
All prices are calculated minus the delivery fee.
The delivery fee is also not per item, supporting the fact that IKEA is not interested in gaining much from the delivery.
Even so, the final price might seem very costly compared to its competitors, who add the delivery fee onto the items and ship them for “free”.
IKEA does not offer free shipping deals and discounted shipping rates either, which translates to expensive delivery charges.
Discounts on the delivery fee would make the price cheaper and more affordable.
4. Accessibility And Distance Of The Delivery Pickup Point
IKEA delivers to all locations in the US unless your area is extremely isolated, which is rare.
For example, you cannot have IKEA deliver your goods to Alaska or Hawaii.
Just because you are close to a store doesn’t mean you can have a cheap delivery fee, and also, just because you are far from the warehouse doesn’t mean you will pay a higher price for shipping.
The shipping cost calculator does all the work for you during checkout.
An important and variable factor that helps determine the final cost of your delivery fee is the distance between your doorstep or office and the closest IKEA warehouse with the item you wish to purchase.
The farther you are from the warehouse, the more expensive the delivery fee will be.
This is because factors such as time and fuel consumption are considered.
For example, a distance of 20 miles cannot be compared to a distance of 100 miles in terms of the fuel consumed by the delivery vehicle, the time spent on the road by the driver and delivery personnel who are paid hourly rates, and also the time spent offloading the items to the place you specified.
This ends up increasing the costs of delivery for your items significantly.
Some areas are also inaccessible and may demand greater expertise, higher time durations, and more fuel consumption if the items are to reach the destination safely and without damage.
In addition, the care needed to access such areas can be costly, which is also considered by IKEA during the calculation of the shipping costs.
Sometimes the weather may be tough.
This is a factor to consider when calculating delivery costs to cater to the safety of deliveries made during harsh weather.
Weather is another factor that may influence the delivery time since there are some conditions under which drivers cannot drive and have to stop deliveries for that day.
5. Shopping In IKEA Stores Is An Experience
There are currently 50 IKEA stores in the United States.
IKEA makes shipping costs very high to encourage in-person shopping in their stores.
Even though online shopping is popular and more comfortable, IKEA still values its physical stores.
This is mostly because a client is more likely to make more purchases during physical shopping than on the online platform.
The in-store shopping experience is also a bit enjoyable and more fulfilling than the online platform.
This makes IKEA increase the delivery costs to encourage people to collect the items themselves and possibly end up buying more than they intended to.
The shipping process also has to be efficient to avoid damaging items, shipping wrong things to the incorrect address, or wasting time figuring out what belongs to whom.
This high efficiency in the process calls for extremely keen personnel and procedures to manage the whole ecosystem.
If a package is delivered to the wrong address, IKEA knows it risks additional costs, time delays, and worse, losing a client.
This is why they have to charge an expensive service fee which will manage all resources used to maintain the quality of delivery.
6. Cost-Per-Touch Inventory Tactic
Cost-per-touch is an inventory management tactic used by IKEA to control the number of times an item is handled during delivery.
Most companies understand the working principle that the more hands that touch an item, the more costs are associated with it.
For example, suppose a customer buys a sofa set.
The item will be ordered, shipped from the manufacturer, moved from the delivery truck into the warehouse, and then from the warehouse to the customer’s vehicle or delivery truck.
Every time the item is shipped, loaded, moved, or carried, it will add additional expenses to the product.
The risks associated with damaging the product also increases greatly.
This means that to enhance the product’s safety and reduce the cost of the product, IKEA will have to eliminate middlemen and perform the delivery themselves.
The process of removing middlemen and also making the delivery themselves makes the delivery fee expensive.
However, this fee is cheaper than picking the item yourself, which encourages most people to have IKEA do the delivery.
This ensures that fewer hands touch the item, which controls the safety and final costs of the product.
The customers do not also have to retrieve the items themselves, which is preferable and safer.
7. Overhead Costs And Returns/Broken Items Cost During Shipping Have To Be Recovered
To compensate for unavoidable circumstances that cost money during transportation, IKEA will distribute some of the cost burdens onto its products and some onto its delivery fees.
For example, during shipping, sometimes damages can occur to goods, injuries to the vehicle, or even accidents.
The delivery vehicles also need maintenance which is to be paid for by the user.
The total amount of money obtained from delivery fees should service such unavoidable or unexpected factors without eating up IKEA’s profit margin.
In addition, sometimes the delivery may be late, which may cause subsequent deliveries to other addresses to be delayed.
The staff who do the delivery also require the necessary compensation.
Training, recruiting, and managing the staff is also costly.
Additionally, the cost of labor in countries in which IKEA operates is not cheap.
Thus, they have to factor in such costs during the determination of the final delivery charges.
The warehouses, vehicles, and systems are essential to streamline the delivery process, reduce time, and increase the items’ safety.
However, maintaining the vehicles and warehouses is also not a cheap thing.
This makes IKEA costs expensive as some of their warehouses are in premium localities.
The cost of fuel also plays a major role in determining the amount of expense incurred during the delivery of your items.
The more expensive the fuel is, the more expensive the delivery, which increases the delivery fee paid by the customer during delivery.
Security is also a major concern during delivery and has to be factored into the final delivery expenditure so that goods are not stolen while in transit.
IKEA tracks their vehicles using an independent party to note when the vehicle stops to increase safety and accountability.
Resources such as customer support personnel, phone call charges, email system payments, website management, and transaction charges also add additional expenses to the final delivery fee.
8. The IKEA Brand Image
To maintain its relationship with its customers, IKEA has to ensure it ships its goods fast and safely.
Therefore, the premium delivery fee is justified to some people provided the goods arrive safely and in great condition.
The brand is also famous, giving IKEA some freedom to charge whatever it wants, hence the expensive delivery charges.
9. Exclusive Items That Cannot Be Shipped Recklessly
Some premium items have a separate delivery fee, especially with the high and expensive taste they display.
You cannot ship a $3,000 sofa set haphazardly as the damage and losses that could stem from the sofa’s damage could be huge.
During delivery, the driver may be instructed to avoid certain rough roads or drive at a certain speed to control how much bumpy force is sent to the shipped items.
The more uneven the journey, the higher chances that the item will arrive at its destination damaged.
This is why, as a shopper, they advise you to check the goods once you receive them to ensure they are the correct ordered goods and they are not damaged.
Upon receiving your IKEA furniture, it is recommended to check to determine whether any item is missing, or some parts are damaged.
Then you are to indicate the issue while signing for the order.
Finally, you are to call IKEA customer support within 48 hours of delivery to have them send a replacement part without any additional charges.
If you fail to inform IKEA of the damages or missing parts after 48 hours, you could try reaching out to them using your receipt or order number to try your luck.
10. Tax And Customs Charges
Currently, 60% of IKEA freight is transported via roads, 20% by sea freight, 20% via train, and 1% by air.
This is to help meet the demand from consumers.
Some states in the US charge certain delivery taxes.
For example, delivery by company vehicle is taxable in Alabama, while in Arizona, it’s not.
For goods that have to cross a few borders, IKEA has to pay for the customs duty during delivery which is also not cheap.
How To Save On IKEA Shipping Fees
Here are a few strategies to help you save a few coins the next time you have a delivery from IKEA:
- Consolidate your orders into a single shipment: The delivery fee at IKEA is structured to favor multiple purchases and is calculated per order and not per item. Therefore, if you are purchasing many things, it would be wise to do a single shopping and check out all items at once. However, even with multiple items, IKEA will charge you a flat rate for the item’s delivery.
- Explore the IKEA Click and Collect Service: This service enables you to order IKEA products online and pick them up at a pre-defined collection point at a time you choose. Click and Collect stores are stores that collaborate with IKEA to act as collection points. You can select the Click and Collect option during checkout to explore this feature. An email is normally sent once the order is ready for pickup with information explaining how to pick your order. The process takes nine to 10 days before the order is ready for pickup.
- Explore holiday offers and discounts: As rare as it is, IKEA sometimes participates in the holiday hype, such as the Black Friday Sale. This day is packed with amazing offers, and the Click and Collect service becomes free at the same time.
- Purchase IKEA products on Amazon: When you need to purchase items on IKEA, you could first check the same item on Amazon to compare prices. Also, remember to factor costs such as delivery fees into your calculations. You could also use the search function on Amazon to search for “IKEA” items. If you are part of the Amazon Prime membership, by chance, you could get free two-day shipping or even free shipping for subsequent purchases. Additionally, you can access free shipping on IKEA products without signing in if the purchase exceeds $25.
- Free shipping coupons for IKEA: Check out IKEA’s coupon and discount codes from time to time, and you might land a free shipping coupon.