5 things I will tell you about shopping at IKEA

It’s December; the time of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and also the time of me finally moving out. I can’t wait to finally live on my own, and to decorate my new room, but of course there are also a lot of things to take into account. Most importantly, I need to buy a lot of new furniture, and other stuff to decorate my new room with. And what better place to go to than Ikea? Well-known for its cheap but well-made products, it is no surprise that IKEA is the world’s most successful mass-market retailer, and has 230 stores spread out over 33 countries. So, IKEA here I come! However, in the beginning of this year, in September, I read the blog post ‘10 things no one tells you about post-grad life’, and one of the things that was mentioned was that ‘IKEA isn’t fun anymore’. Unfortunately, I also experienced those times you went to IKEA to buy a chair, but in the end up with a new tea pot, a cool looking bin, some towels, and no chair. Plus when you check your pockets and find 30 IKEA pencils in there, you might realize your shopping trip didn’t go as planned. Therefore I decided to take command, and show you all that IKEA can still be a lot of fun.

When people go to a store, they often see a lot of things they don’t need, but eventually end up buying anyway. This phenomenon is called ‘impulse buying’, and happens when you buy something spontaneously, unintentionally, and without reflecting your purchase. Dennis W. Rook mentions in his research on the buying impulse of customers that “impulse buying is more emotional than rational, and it is more likely to be perceived as “bad” than  “good.”” In order to prevent you from feeling “bad” about your purchases, I will provide you with 5 tips that will help you to prevent yourself from buying impulsively at IKEA.

  1. Bring you parents

“The crucial ingredient of self-control is the process of monitoring, which means keeping track of the relevant behavior” as noted by Roy F. Baumeister, who is a social psychologist, and also a Francis Eppes Professor of Psychology at Florida State University. Therefore, my first is tip to bring your parents with you, or at least one of them, when you go shopping at IKEA. Because as Baumeister mentioned, when you go shopping on your own, you are more likely to experience impulse buying.   

  1. Make a list

Another way to prevent yourself from impulse buying is to make a list. “Know what you are going to buy before you into a store; have a list” is the wise advice of Juliet Schor, economist and author of the book the Overspent American: Upscaling, downshifting and the new consumer. This not only prevents impulse buying, but also the tendency to spend too much money. You can make a list on paper, but another good way to make a list is to download the IKEA app. This app, namely, enables you to browse through their catalogue, and select the products you need. When entering the IKEA you can just open your app, and see the products you selected again. And since you were already able to see all their available products choices on their app, you will less overwhelmed when you browse through a real IKEA store. This is also endorsed by Baumeister, who indicates that “consumers who know precisely what they want are probably less likely than others to indulge in impulse buying”.

  1. Keep you budget in mind

As noted before, we want to prevent overspending. Therefore  you need to keep the following words of Juliet Schor in mind, namely “have the money to buy something before you actually buy it”. This may sound straight-forward, because why would you spent money if you don’t have it? But, once you’re in the IKEA overwhelmed by all their products, you might have the feeling you need and want to buy everything. By keeping your budget in mind, and asking yourself the question “Do I really need this?”, you prevent yourself from overspending. Juliet Schor also warns for the latest trend of status competition, she addresses that  “we have people buying features they do not use, going into debt to drive these things, because there is so much pressure to keep up with the latest fad.” Fortunately, IKEA’s goal is to provide customers with reliable but cheap products, but still be alert. You don’t need to buy that clothing rack, because it’s trendy at the moment, while you have a perfectly fine wardrobe. Plus it takes less space.

  1. Don’t want it all NOW!

In our contemporary society, customers want everything, and they want it all now. This leads us to having the impulse to have it all now, and buy everything at once. But you don’t necessarily need to; you can also decide to pay multiple visits to the IKEA to let everything sink in. This way you can review your choices, and prevent yourself from buying impulsively.

Bertil Hultén shows this with his research; “the more time shoppers spend at point-of-purchase, the greater the probability of making a purchase.” Thus, it’s better to pay multiple short visits, than to pay a very extensive one. And as a bonus you can show your parents that you’re responsible, and really thought your purchases through.

  1. Enjoy

Most importantly, don’t forgot to enjoy it. Moving out is something to be excited about, and buying furniture and other stuff to decorate your room with is something you should consider as fun! And of course, when you purchased all the necessary items, and you still have some money left, it’s okay to buy that disco ball you really really ‘needed’ as well.

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