Visualizing the IKEA shopping experience

IKEA pedestrian flow map

Predicted route of shoppers through Ikea. Image: Alan Penn, University College London

If you’ve ever shopped at IKEA you’ll know the stores are designed to drag out the experience. Offering only one obvious, disorienting route from entrance to checkout, forcing you to look at everything. You’ll no doubt be aware IKEA does this to manipulate shoppers into spending more money.

In this Lunch Hour Lecture, Professor Alan Penn from University College London’s Bartlett School of Architecture provides some fascinating insight into how it all works. In it he uses the full arsenal of visualization techniques: maps, pedestrian flows, 3D, charts and a decent sense of humour

It’s a long video – the stuff on IKEA starts at 25:25 – but there’s plenty to interest before that, covering how architects use space for street and store planning.

The upshot of Ikea’s clever rat maze is that 60% of purchases made in the stores aren’t actually on customers original shopping lists, but I guess that helps them keep their prices low.

via WSJ


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