The IKEA Effect

What’s so special about this place, that it always seem to get me to spend much more than I intend to?

I was at IKEA with the missus over the weekend, with a specific list of things that we needed to get – need being the keyword. But, just like every other trip, the list got lost in the middle of walking through the aisles, and a new list emerged out of thin air. And on this list, the keyword is that of ‘want’.

We came in with a specific plan, but came out not knowing what happened to it, and with a lot more stuff than what we’d like .

I call this the IKEA effect.

And it got me thinking, what if I could replicate this effect on other areas of business, wouldn’t that be a powerful tool?

So, here’s what I gathered IKEA did right:

1. Customer experience

IKEA is king when it comes to customer experience. Each section is purposefully located and flows seamlessly. There is a play area for kids, lockers for convenience and a complete food courtĀ for families to dine in.

To put it loosely, it is a destination by itself. People go there even if they have no intention of buying anything, but rarely leave without having bought something.

2. Make the customers part of the process

ikea-hong-kong-interiorCustomers like to be served. But what do some people like more than being served? It’s being part of the process.

Between the stations tt provide the free measuring tape, pencil and paper to jot down where to grab the stuff that I want, to the detailed assembly instructions within each packaging, there really isn’t a need to ask for much assistance.

Many businesses fail to consider what their customers go through at each touchpoint leading up to the sale. So if you’re somehow able to translate this- providing the seamless experience and allowing the right amount of autonomy for those who come through your doors to engage within the process- to your own business, then perhaps you can have the very same effect on your customers.

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