Study Finds Ikea’s Retail Floor Design Maze-Like (And Then Some)

It’s a very familiar and widely acknowledged fact that large retail chains, shopping centers and casinos design their floor layouts to intentionally try and guide consumers along a somewhat confusing path in order to keep them away from the exit and get them to see as much of their merchandise (or slot machines, in the casino’s case) as possible. They’re are varying degrees of this general irritation, but a team of researches at the Virtual Reality Centre for the Built Environment at University College London has discussed a study they’re working on that has found that Ikea is perhaps the worst offender. Exits are hard to spot, the only easy-to-navigate paths push customers through every inch of the store, and because the layouts are so confusing, consumers fear they won’t be able to find an object again and wind up buying it just so it won’t disappear. While, again, there’s nothing altogether new there, particularly if you’ve ever spent any time at an Ikea, Alan Penn and his colleagues at the Centre have established that Ikea pushes the maze-like design to levels significantly above the average, having one of the most difficult sets of floorplans in the business. In their defense, a spokesperson for the company told the Daily Mail that they’re just trying to give consumers options and for those who already know what they want, they” have created shortcuts.”