A guide to IKEA’s impulse buying hacks


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.

The numbers

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.

This article first appeared in www.warc.com

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