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How successful will Ikea’s ‘Buy Back’ scheme be?

Last year, Swedish furniture retailer Ikea was set to launch a ‘Buy Back’ scheme that would allow shoppers to return used furniture and get cashback vouchers. However, the scheme was postponed due to the lockdown and the closure of non-essential retail.

How successful will Ikea’s ‘Buy Back’ scheme be?
Reno Charlton
· 3 min read

Last year, Swedish furniture retailer Ikea was set to launch a ‘Buy Back’ scheme that would allow shoppers to return used furniture and get cashback vouchers. However, the scheme was postponed due to the lockdown and the closure of non-essential retail.

The company has now announced that it is ready to start the venture once non-essential retail reopens over the coming weeks. This will enable those who purchased furniture from the retailer to return it for vouchers and means that buyers can consider used furniture from the retailer at a lower price than buying from new.

Leading sustainable lives

The retailer already runs the scheme in countries worldwide, including Australia, where Buy Back has been in place for around a year. The company now hopes to launch the scheme in the UK to encourage consumers to lead more sustainable lives.

A spokesperson for the company said, "Last year, Ikea was piloting Buy Back in our Edinburgh and Glasgow stores to explore how we support our customers to lead more sustainable lives, step by step. Irrespective of the trial being shorter than planned due to store closures, we believe strongly in the idea and moreover, believe that providing customers with more convenient ways to give their products a second life is the right thing to do." 

Under the scheme, customers can return a wide range of furniture items such as desks, tables, chairs, and bookcases. However, to qualify, the item will have to be returned fully assembled. This might not be easy with larger items that do not fit in the customer's vehicle unless disassembled. However, customers do have the option of disassembling the furniture to transport and then reassembling it on arrival.

A few potential issues

In principle, the scheme could prove useful on many levels. Not only does it encourage shoppers to be more eco-friendly, but it can also help people out financially. In addition, it means that they can get rid of unwanted furniture that is cluttering up the home – for example, computer desks that they purchased for lockdown and no longer need due to returning to the office.

However, there are a couple of crucial things that are causing concern. The first is whether the quality of the furniture from Ikea is good enough for people to get any significant amount of cash back for returns. While many people shop at Ikea, the furniture sold is not known for being of excellent quality even from new, so used items may be worth very little.

Another issue relates to selling on the returned items. Generally, when people want to buy used furniture, they head to charity shops to help out good causes and get the things they want. This is a particularly popular method of buying used furniture for those who are looking for vintage items.

Do you think buying used furniture from Ikea will take off in the UK?

Reno Charlton
Reno Charlton
Reno Charlton has been writing since 2003. She has worked with a diverse client base around the world, across a variety of subjects and industry areas, specialising in lifestyle and health & wellbeing niches. In addition to her online work, Reno is also a published author and has written several children's books and short stories.