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Saturday, November 27, 2021
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    Here is why you can’t resist buying stuff at IKEA

    Say you’ve written a list and gone to the store.. But you quickly start buying things that you didn’t plan on. After all, fresh produce would be nice. And these look good. Half off? Why not! Wait. Why is it so hard to stick to a shopping list?

    Researchers estimate that half of consumer spending is unplanned. Sometimes it’s stuff you just forgot to put on your list. But there’s another kind of purchase that consumer psychologists measure. 

    The architecture of a store can impact consumer satisfaction, which in turn might spur impulse buys. In the 20th century, the architect Victor Gruen used light and space to dramatically stage goods in storefront windows. His designs tried to capture the attention of passersby… and convert them into customers. Today, people call this technique ‘The Gruen Effect.’ It happens when a store environment takes you from shopping for a specific item to shopping for shopping’s sake. It’s about the mindset and the environment that they try to create.

    Does this sound familiar?

    Think about your last trip to IKEA. They have the restaurant with the Swedish meatballs and all of this stuff. And that’s not a coincidence. You’re trying to build excitement because when people are excited and aroused they’re more likely to buy. Almost 20 percent of our buying decisions are based on logic and needs. 80 percent of our buying decisions are actually based on emotions. And we try to make that connection or bridge that connection Yeah of course we are retailers so we try to make sure that you know, grab a thing or two.

     Retailers pay close attention to how their floor plan can change in-store behavior. Grid layouts emphasize speed and convenience. Where freeform layouts allow exploration, which can make customers visit more parts of the shop. And racetrack designs create a loop that exposes customers to a certain path of product.

    IKEA uses a fixed path through a maze of product displays. That can extend the distance travelled in store. So the more you travel, the more items by definition as a shopper you’ll be exposed to. At the entrance, most customers will be drawn to a bright yellow bin of bags, placed next to the escalator. Spots of light guide your eye to the entrance of the showroom And before you know it, you’re taking the scenic route. So with light, you can actually steer consumers towards different areas and toward different product selections. On average, customers only visit about a third of any retailer’s floor area.

    IKEA’s layout forces customers to cover more ground. IKEA was always designed as a place where you can see, touch, and try, no? So they can spend hours if they want to. But there’s also consumers that know exactly what they want and just want to have it quick. So it’s tailored to both. One researcher in London surveyed an Ikea to hand-draw these pedestrians pathways. This heat map of the showroom was generated using her data. It looks like the path guides are working. Where Victor Gruen simply used a hunch to invent window shopping, virtually any store from IKEA to your local grocery has a trove of big data at their fingertips.

    We used technology to measure actually the flow of consumers and where they’re interested and in which areas they intend to go. And that works all based on Beacon technologies. Which means retailers like Ikea will only get better at nudging you to spend time in more parts of the store. So, compulsive shoppers, the next time you go to the store… consider taking the shortcut. Or, at least, don’t forget what you came here for. Because it probably wasn’t plants and a plate of meatballs. You do you, though.

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