In a 2011 study, researchers observed consumers as they assembled IKEA boxes, folded origami, and built Lego pieces. They found that participants saw their “amateurish creations” as similar in value to the creations of experts. More interestingly, the participants expected others to share this view of their work.
Based on these results, the researchers concluded that people tend to value a product more if they were involved in its creation – even if they were originally uninterested in being involved. They termed this the “IKEA effect.”
The IKEA effect has a clear application in your marketing strategy: when you involve users in the process of creating your product or services, they are more likely to convert when you sell it to them.
How to Use the IKEA Effect to Boost Your Sales
- Involve consumers in the process of building your products.
Consumers can be involved by committing time to product development, by giving input in the process of its creation or improvement, or by investing money. An example of this in action is crowdfunding campaigns: when people contribute financially to the development of a product even before it is made, they are more likely to do everything to ensure it succeeds. While crowdfunded projects were massively successful, researchers have attributed its success not to the funds raised but to the community and sense of ownership the crowdfunding fostered.
- Give users the option of having your products customized for them.
Whether it’s the packaging or certain parts of the product itself, offering a customizable option involves your customers and potential customers more personally. A notable example of this is Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign. When Coca-Cola launched this initiative and allowed users to have their own customized version of the Coke, sales exploded. And the results were almost instant. Just within the first year, Coca-Cola saw significant, measurable success:
- The Share a Coke campaign was one of the most successful marketing campaigns ever in Coca-Cola’s history.
- Over 500,000 photos were posted online using the #ShareaCoke hashtag.
- Coca-Cola users created over six million virtual Coke bottles.
- Coca-Cola gained 25 million Facebook followers.