Back to resources

Clothes at the Uniqlo Art and Science of LifeWear Exhibition

5. Take the payment off the table

Part of a short series on memory design

Denise Hampson
Monday 27th June 2022

The last article considered how the shape of the space influences an experience, with linear spaces offering particular opportunities for emotional engagement and storytelling. A linear space is one where every customer follows a pre-set and pre-curated path.

Some of you may be thinking about IKEA!

IKEA is a linear store experience. IKEA may be the only stores where you have to walk past EVERYTHING they have to sell. In one long path. And it’s exhausting!

Let’s for a moment go back to that model of the mind that works with two operating systems. One of the jobs of the conscious, system two mind, is to apply checks and balances to the activity of the subconscious. The whole time our subconscious minds are enjoying stroking the sofa fabrics and imagining what it would be like to cook in our brand new kitchen, our conscious, rational minds are busy saying “yes, but… do we need it, can we afford it, is there a better alternative?”

That constant chatter and checking and comparing takes a lot of mental effort, and is draining, so it’s no surprise we get to the end of our visit and realise we’re tired.

Imagine for a moment you go to visit a car dealership because you want to take a closer look at a car or test drive a new car. Or imagine you go house hunting for a new place to live. Even if you love the car or the house, you don’t let your emotions run high, do you? That’s because there’s a sale on the table and a negotiation to navigate, so you have to play a poker face and you have to keep your enthusiasm in check.

Even if you are in the most immersive enjoyable emotionally-engaging space, if there’s a sale coming, it’s hard to relax.

The best example of this I’ve seen was at a wellbeing expo where a team of masseurs were offering “free” 10 minute back and shoulder massages. They waited until customers were sat down comfortably and then said, “it’s free, you just pay what you think it was worth at the end!” That’s a great way to stop anyone enjoying their 10 minutes of relaxation right there.

Martin Lindstrom, in his book, Buy-ology, describes the psychology of product placement in movies. The most successful ones are where we don’t think we are being sold to at all, instead when the product becomes an integral part of the story – such as when Eliot drew E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, out from hiding in the bushes with a trail of Reece’s pieces. Sales of those candies soared.

Why was that?

When there’s a sale on the table, we’re more cynical and comparative but when we believe we’re just being entertained, our guard goes down and we’re able to enjoy those emotional stories so much more.

In those places I described previously; the Heineken Experience, Madame Tussauds, the Uniqlo Art and Science of LifeWear Exhibition, the London Dungeon, Alton Towers, Disney… you get the payment out of the way at the gate and then you’re free to enjoy yourself inside.

Your conscious mind can take a hard-earned nap and leave your emotional mind to take it all in. Take the payment off the table and the story you share becomes more impactful.