Shopper fatigue

Do you like being lost?  Disoriented?

IKEA is betting your own cold, hard cash that you don’t.  That’s why they’ve designed their stores like a maze.

It takes the average shopper three hours  — and some as long as eight — to weave their way through the retailer’s carefully merchandised, catalog-inspired stores.  So by the time shoppers are able to find the warehouse area where they can actually purchase something and leave, they usually buy stuff they never intended (or perhaps even wanted).

It’s simple psychology, says Alan Penn, director of the Virtual Reality Centre for the Built Environment at University College London.  The longer shoppers are exposed to IKEA’s products, the more impulse buys they are likely to make.  And the confusing layout means they grab stuff when they see it, because backtracking to find items later would require bread crumbs…or an overnight stay.

This type of conscious manipulation kinda creeps me out…and pisses me off a little.  I have always thought of IKEA products as sleek, modern and forward thinking — all about ease and simplicity.

But this kind of marketing duplicity runs counter to their brand image.  When your products are as cool as IKEA’s — and as well-priced — do you really have to trap shoppers in the store to make sure they buy enough before they leave?

Maybe I’m the one being simple.

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2 responses to “Shopper fatigue

  1. I SO agree with you! Tractor Supply does the same thing! Even in the smaller stores, they fuck with your head! Last week, the Red Rider BB Guns were on an end cap. This week, gone. Catch ‘Em Alive traps were in there place. They bank of the fact that you DON’T want to ask, so you end up wandering the store to find it. So as you’re wandering the store trying to find the elusive BB Gun, you’re coming across things like bird seed (oh, yes, we’re almost out!) and work gloves (doesn’t hurt to have more than one pair) and other unessential items you really don’t need. Grocery stores do the same thing as well.
    No, you’re not the one being simple. We’re a get in and get out kind of shoppers. If I want to browse and window shop, I’ll do it. Don’t force me to.

  2. On my second trip to the Ikea in Paramus, I was definitely influenced to buy based on the “confusion” factor.

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