How IKEA gets you to impulsively buy more

IKEA has mastered the “Gruen effect.”

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Researchers estimate that 50 percent of purchases are unplanned. These purchases, especially impulse buys, present an opportunity for retailers who can entice consumers to deviate from their shopping lists.

One of the most effective ways to influence this is through a store’s architecture. In the 20th century, the architect Victor Gruen, who pioneered the first American shopping malls, used light and space to dramatically stage goods in storefront windows. His designs were meant to capture the attention of passersby — and convert them into customers. This conversion became known as the “Gruen effect.”

Watch the video above to learn how Ikea has mastered the Gruen effect with a carefully designed store layout that gets customers to travel further distances… and buy more.

For the curious, here are a few links:

Read Jeffrey Inman’s research on unplanned spending: http://www.advancingretail.org/sites/default/files/resources/The-Effect-of-In-Store-Travel-Distance-on-Unplanned-Spending.pdf

Watch a video from University College London Professor Alan Penn, who breaks down Ms. Kazim’s research in greater detail: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkePRXxH9D4

And finally, I recommend reading Victor Gruen’s biography, “Mallmaker” by Jeffrey Hardwick. You can also learn more by listening to this 99% Invisible podcast episode that features Hardwick and details the history of the Gruen effect: https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/the-gruen-effect/

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