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2 July 2021

The Ikea Effect

The Ikea Effect

You may have already heard this one, in the scheme of things it can almost be considered old. The experiment was conducted back in September 2011; however, the science still holds up. It is such an important concept to understand and plays right into current social media marketing strategies.

People overvalue their own creations. In an experiment people liked an IKEA storage box 52% more and were willing to pay 63% more when they assembled it themselves.

Recommendation

Finding ways to involve your customers in the building of the product they are buying to make it feel like their own. This can also work for service-based businesses. While the experiment was on B2C it can be tested on B2B.

Keep in mind simplicity is key, so do not make the steps to be involved difficult.

Effects

  • People value products they have assembled higher than ready-made products. Ikea is not the only one who uses this, think Lego.
  • They value them almost as much as products built by experts.
  • In experiments people:
    • Were willing to pay 62% more for an IKEA storage box if they had assembled it themselves, compared to when it was already assembled. They also liked it 52% more.
    • Valued an origami they made themselves almost 5 times higher than what others valued their creations ($0.23 vs $0.05). The interesting thing is they valued it almost as much as what people are willing to pay for origami created by an expert ($0.27).
  • If people fail to complete the creation or build it and then destroy it, the effect disappears.
  • The effect exists for both amateurs and those who enjoy “do-it-yourself”

Why it works

  • The more work we put into something the more we value it. We do this to justify the effort.
  • Therefore, for example, we tend to rate our jobs as among the thing we least prefer doing, but also one of the most rewarding.
  • To value the result, we need to successfully complete the task. If not, we feel negative emotions and regret.

Limitations

  • The study tested only physical products. However, the effect should hold in other situations too. We have seen this same basic concept work when engaging on a more brand level building up services and website features based on community feedback.
  • The original experiment was only performed on small, inexpensive items. Although untested in the original experiment the effect has been known to extend to very expensive items. For example, the car industry for a long time through both the dealer and manufacture websites has offered the ability to build your own custom option, some brands offering more customisation than others.

Steps to implement

  • Ask yourself are your customers sufficiently involved in your brand and product to be willing to put the effort into building something?
  • If product building is not an option is there some other way to include the customer in decision making of the brand in some way (new products launching, a part of the website, new content options).
  • Make is simple. Social media makes it easy to involve customers in the decision-making process.

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