Posts Tagged ‘Ikea maze’

Shocking! Study claims IKEA is confusing customers into submission!

January 24, 2011

Alan Penn is Professor of Architectural and Urban Computing at The Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, University College London, and Director of the VR Centre for the Built Environment. He has studied IKEA’s London store and draws the (un)remarkable conclusion that the layout has been cunningly designed – horror of horrors – to get customer’s to buy more.


(I hate that word but cannot find a better one)

The Scotsman reports:

IKEA Wembley store

Study claims Ikea’s ‘maze’ is selling ploy

Professor Alan Penn, director of the Virtual Reality Centre for the Built Environment at University College London, studied the Swedish firm’s north London store and came to the conclusion that their success, in part, is down to confusing their customers into submission by designing their stores like a maze.

Unlike John Lewis stores, which have a grid layout to create an open and accessible environment, Ikea stores require customers to enter and follow a path through the entire store to reach the exit.

“It is so well done and so cunningly done that I have little doubt that it is intentional,” said Penn, whose team has previously studied retail strategies and monitored how consumers respond.
In his study of the Ikea store in Brent, Penn found that the weaving yellow path quickly leaves customers disorientated. It only takes minutes before they have no idea where the exit lies, he found. Although all stores are required to include shortcuts for fire regulations, he said these were always positioned outside the customer’s normal field of vision.
Penn said the only comparable shopping environment he knew of was the Bazaar in Isfahan, a medieval Iranian marketplace. “The way to the exit is always behind you,” he said.

Obviously  John Lewis and other proper UK stores would not stoop to such despicable tactics ! In the words of one of the comments to this article:

I do think it is important for customers to stand up to the evil nordic fascist monsters who run Ikea.

Footnote from the Wall Street Journal:

Swedish furniture giant IKEA, the world’s No. 1 furniture retailer by sales, said Friday it benefited from cash-strapped consumers trading down in a continued challenging economic climate, as it reported higher sales and net profit for fiscal 2010. The company, famous for its low-cost ready-to-assemble furniture, said net profit for the fiscal year to Aug. 31 rose 6.1% to EUR2.7 billion. Revenue rose 7.7% to EUR23.1 billion.

Prices were unchanged in fiscal 2010 although Ohlsson said the company has been able to reduce prices by 2.6% in the current fiscal year and sees the possibility of further prices cuts next fiscal year. IKEA’s improved supply chain is key to maintaining low prices while also bucking the trend of other retailers by boosting margins. Gross margin rose to 46.1% from 44.6% a year earlier.

I wonder who funded this study? A competitor to IKEA? or could it be IKEA?

IKEA is still a privately held company – so I won’t be buying shares after this study – but I would if I could.


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