Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Friday, March 15, 2013

IKEA - Aladdin's Cave (maze) . . .

Ikea may be a market leader in terms of the carefully crafted shopping experience. Almost every part of the experience from layout to product variety is crafted to maximise the desire to purchase.  

If ‘items for the home’ is taken as the over-arching term describing the products for sale, then Ikea offers an almost unreasonable amount, necessitating huge department stores extending over six floors. Simonson (1990) looked at the effect of both variety of product available and amount of product desired on consumer purchase. Participants were asked to imagine they were either purchasing a single item for an occasion on a single day or purchasing several items for occasions over several days. They found that variety significantly increased buying behaviour but only when participants had in mind the notion that they may need several items.


Most people would not go into Ikea for a single item, the floor plan and one way system lift system alone makes this an undesirable notion. At the same time, customers are forced to walk around the entire floor and view all items on offer before exiting. The fact that customers often do not enter Ikea with the idea that they will be buying only single item and the huge variety of products on offer, ensures that trip to the store will be neither quick nor inexpensive.


Furthermore, Ikea offer “complete apartments for different demographic groups” (Davis, 2005, pp.702). It could be argued that this employs the foot in the door technique, in buying one item you are then more attracted to the overall look for an entire room that can be achieved with further purchase (Freedman & Fraser, 1966).


Davis, D. (2005). Urban consumer culture. CHINA QUARTERLY-LONDON-, 183, 692.


Freedman, J. L., & Fraser, S. C. (1966). Compliance without pressure: the foot-in-the-door technique. Journal of personality and social psychology, 4(2), 195.


Simonson, I. (1990). The effect of purchase quantity and timing on variety-seeking behavior. Journal of Marketing Research, 150-162.

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