If you’ve ever been to an IKEA store, then you know that once you’re in the showroom, it’s not immediately apparent how to cut quickly to the checkouts. Instead, you are directed through aspirational kitchens and bathrooms and past a vast number of furniture displays. The average shopping experience at IKEA takes over 1/2 hour and most people invariably come out with lots of things they didn’t plan to buy.
There are plenty of short cuts to allow people out, but they are always cleverly located behind you – in the direction opposite from the arrows that lead you through the showroom floor. As a result, people just don’t notice them. IKEA didn’t do it to annoy people (contrary to popular belief), it’s that, as humans, our forward-facing vision is the key to why we all follow the windy route through the showroom.
Credit IKEA for making displays that attract your attention and convince you to purchase items that you didn’t intend to buy (which may be because shoppers enjoy the feeling of delayed gratification – the sense they’ve invested enough time to earn the purchase of additional items), but credit science for the process that got you there in the first place.