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13 May 2022
A guide to IKEA’s impulse buying hacks
Purchase behaviourFurniture & furnishings retail
Homeware titan IKEA deploys a shopping experience like no other, one in which around 60% of purchases are impulsive – a new analysis uncovers what makes IKEA so good at getting shoppers to add to their baskets.
Why it matters
Singular, consistent, and eventful, the IKEA experience – from the outside of the store, to showroom, to marketplace, to café, to checkout, to a hotdog for the road – works by following some of marketing’s most essential rules and breaking others, as a great new piece in The Hustle explains.
An analysis by researchers at University College London pegs the amount of impulse purchases in IKEA at 60%. While internally, the company believes that up to 80% of purchases defy logic.
What it does
Its in-store maze design is a “submissive experience”, one researcher tells The Hustle, in which shoppers are taken through the entire product catalogue.
Rooms as they would be. IKEA shows many items in a context of an actual room to trigger availability bias (if you can imagine using a product the more likely you are to buy it), often with a lot of mirrors so that you see yourself (and often partner/family) in them. This can sometimes be so powerful as to induce tension in some couples.
Pricing is what brings people to IKEA, but once there it uses techniques like decoy prices to encourage buyers to choose more profitable options.
Food courts are essential: one study of 700 shoppers found that IKEA shoppers that ate in the in-store restaurant spent close to double what non-eaters spent.