Love at First Sight: IKEA Gets Creative Selling Exclusive Rugs

by: Kyla Osburn

After waiting in line for hours, a woman is welcomed into the store. Upon entering, an employee secures an EEG device across her forehead and behind her ears to monitor her brain activity and heart rate. It isn't until then that she gets her first glance of the product she's been waiting to see. She's not a fan, but she tries to disguise her aversion. Despite her efforts to hide her thoughts, the device attached to her head betrays her, informing the sales representatives of her true feelings. He turns her away, not allowing her to purchase the much-awaited product.

Although it may sound like it, this is not a scene from a bad sci-fi film, this is how an IKEA in Anderlecht, Belgium chose to sell (or not sell) its new limited edition rug collection.
After seeing products from their “Art Collection” pop-up on reselling sites for astronomical prices year after year, the IKEA shifted its priorities from just selling their products to selling them to people who would appreciate them, as art should be. For the collection’s release in 2019, the Anderlecht location vowed to only sell their designer rug line to customers who LOVE it. Using what they called a (He)art Scanner to detect feelings of excitement and love, the location was able to ensure that only those who really wanted a rug had the option to buy it.

Traditionally, IKEA is known for selling sleek, modern and accessible home decor, so excluding some customers from purchasing their products is a departure from their traditional "for everyone" brand image. This event modeled how established brands can benefit from changing it up sometimes. IKEA’s outside-of-the-box idea created a new shopping experience and forged a connection between the brand and those consumers who are most excited about their products
Unfortunately, IKEA customers elsewhere have not been held to the same standards as those in Anderlecht and the exclusive collection continues to be displayed both on living-room floors and on eBay for over $1,000.

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