IKEA Creates In-Store Man Cave

Discussion
Sep 28, 2011

The dirty little secret is out. Many guys don’t like walking around a cavernous IKEA trailing their female partners. To its credit, IKEA in Australia has recognized this and launched MÄNLAND.

For those not familiar, MÄNLAND is IKEA’s way of taking some of the dread out of going to its stores for guys. The concept is pretty simple: an in-store man cave with sports on the television, foosball and pinball machines, massages, free hot dogs, chips and drinks.

According to an Adweek report, MÄNLAND is "modeled off the actual IKEA toddler-care areaand women are given a buzzer to remind them to collect their significant other after 30 minutes of shopping."

Responses on the store’s Facebook page were largely positive, although some questioned the 30-minute limit.

Discussion Questions: What do you think of the MÄNLAND concept? Is this something that can and should be repeated in other retail situations?

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32 Comments on "IKEA Creates In-Store Man Cave"


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Bob Phibbs
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

If it gets guys to go in and shop, why not? Could there be a corollary to women at an automotive parts store, a sports bar — who knows? Will guys come back repeatedly? Doubtful, but like with a fussy infant, it might just give mom more time to shop — and that has to increase sales.

Kevin Graff
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

This might be the only way to get me to go to an IKEA with my wife! While I completely admire the brilliance of their traffic flow model, trying to navigate the store with the rest of the ‘sheep’ is for me, and many men, too mundane, drawn out and painful. Don’t misunderstand … it works for them. But give men a chance to avoid the experience and they will. This is more brilliance on IKEA’s part because now more men may actually want to go to their store. Too bad it is just a temporary installation.

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
9 years 7 months ago

I like this idea but again, this provides a distraction from a potential customer that could increase the basket. Okay, so the man is bored; at least let them walk around and browse instead of shoving non-sale elements in their face. I personally would not implement such a strategy, but perhaps change around certain sections of the store to appeal to the man cave wanting dudes that walk around the store aimlessly. Or better yet, bring in products that would compliment a man cave. There’s a novel idea!

Steve Montgomery
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

I think it a great idea and could be extended to other retail formats. Men tend to go into a location, buy what they are looking for, and leave. It is not retail therapy. It is something that has to be done in order to fulfill whatever need they have at the moment. This is especially true in a store like IKEA where many men don’t really care about the item(s) being selected. I do agree that in IKEA, 30 minutes is not sufficient time for a decision to be made, but it might be in some clothing stores and other formats.

Dick Seesel
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

This is an idea that would work not only in other IKEA stores but in all sorts of retail settings. In fact, the traditional regional mall typically has a female-centric tenant mix and could use a similar idea. Just providing a seating area (as many malls do) is a courtesy but not an incentive to extend the shopping trip. Let’s see if an enterprising mall developer follows suit.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
9 years 7 months ago
IKEA may be on to something. It would — at the very least — substantiate the longstanding claims of some feminists that the only difference between men and boys is their age. But seriously … those poor men … dragged through the big, bad store by their insensitive, harpy-tongued, mindless shopping machines of a female companion. Thank God somebody brought the couch, nachos and football game! Really? Men forced to shop IKEA in such great numbers that they need a sanctuary? Man cave? Really? Like there aren’t women who would rather park themselves for half an hour while their male partners wander around DIY Land lost in their fantasies of using their impact drivers to assemble permanent domestic tributes to the power and glory of pressed wood?! There may be a way to make this idea more offensively stereotypical. Perhaps IKEA could dig out those old Playboy Bunny costumes from the 1960s that are all the rage of NBC this season and have Bunnies serve the poor, long suffering boys. Gender neutral customer lounge —… Read more »
Art Williams
Guest
Art Williams
9 years 7 months ago

I think that it is very good and creative marketing gimmick. Should make it easier for some wives to get their husbands to go to IKEA and at the very least makes for interesting conversation. The buzz and free publicity that this generates is not a small thing.

Mel Kleiman
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

I love it. Just drop me off and shop until you drop.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

Ahhh! Thank you IKEA. There is a G_d out there looking after us. I am one who despises shopping. I am a buyer. I go to a store knowing what I need; and that is usually what I leave with. I agree withe the video customer who said going to IKEA is a 14 on a scale of 1 to 10. That is to say it is not IKEA that is the problem. It is the shopping and stopping and looking. Boring!

Now to the “man cave.” While it is a good idea that will entice the male to go to a store; I can see it also as something that will allow him to tolerate his wife possibly spending more. For me, it is OK for my wife to go and let me stay home watching football.

Ian Percy
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

The 30 minute thing is like milking the cow and then kicking the bucket over. We do have a need for rules and bureaucracy don’t we — even in the most casual of situations?

The key is to listen in on the aisle-way and parking lot conversations of real people. What are they really saying and thinking? Forget the focus groups and surveys — that’s all artificial marketing stuff.

A friend used to have a very successful women’s clothing store outside of Toronto. Simple listening resulted in loungers and TVs for guys (no time limit), a full juice and coffee bar (he used to brag about having even grape juice for kids to show how much he trusted customers), change rooms so large you could rent them for banquets and gas money if you drove all the way out there and didn’t like the place. And that was at least 20 years ago!

Charlie Moro
Guest
Charlie Moro
9 years 7 months ago

Greatest concept since they put benches and sports bars in malls. I would be more than happy to “assist” in the shopping experience if I could wander off and watch a sports event and relax and still be there to carry the many purchases out to the car.

Max Goldberg
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

What a great concept! More retailers should have space for men to relax while shopping with women. It would make the shopping experience better for both sexes.

Jesse Rooney
Guest
Jesse Rooney
9 years 7 months ago

This sounds like a great way to keep couples in the store after exceeding the limited attention span some men may have for looking at furniture. No longer will the distaff side be limited in their examinations of Swedish furniture by their companions’ demands for comfort, which means more wandering and, presumably, more sales.

Obviously, there’s the potential for sales at the man cave itself. What better way to sell the ingredients for a personal man cave than at a store’s one already set up? IKEA should probably emphasize a soft sale strategy though; no one wants to be banged over the head by a salesman at a location that is supposedly a refuge from sales.

And, of course, the umlaut makes it extra manly.

Tim Henderson
Guest
Tim Henderson
9 years 7 months ago
IKEA’s Manland works as a short-term publicity stunt. But beyond garnering some press, e-chatter and word-of-mouth, the only thing Manland seems to succeed at is perpetuating outdated stereotypes of males and male shoppers — “daycare for husbands,” “mantrums,” “long-suffering male shoppers,” “imbecilic toddlers.” Really?!?! I remain a fan of store lounges for shoppers who want to rest a bit, wait for family members and friends, enjoy a snack, and/or be mildly entertained by videos, TV, music, magazines, etc. But couching such lounges in caveman stereotypes falls well short of a real understanding of the various types of male shoppers, as well as their lifestyles, needs and behaviors. If Manland were launched six or seven years ago, I might have felt different. But in 2011, it just feels dated. A more current approach to reaching both males and females would be slipping the IKEA offering into the everyday lives of consumers by, for example, creating an IKEA Pop-Up Lounge and taking it to major events so consumers could sample the IKEA wares outside the store in… Read more »
Fabien Tiburce
Guest
Fabien Tiburce
9 years 7 months ago

I think IKEA would have been better off thinking of ways to make the IKEA experience more appealing to men. Men can be impulse purchasers and the IKEA aisles are full of impulse purchase opportunities. While guys hang out “in the cave,” gobbling down hotdogs (and other stereotypes…), they sure are not shopping. Thumbs down from me on this one.

Ben Ball
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

As a divorced dad I would hate the predictable request of my tween girls to “go to the mall” every time they would visit.

Then I found AF — and those big comfy leather chairs placed right in the middle of the store where I could watch the girls from store floor to dressing room to checkout.

Perfect.

In deference to Ryan’s typically brilliant satire — I agree they should let women who’d rather nosh than shop with their significant other in as well.

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

Any time there are “tag along” shoppers, the retailer would be best served by providing them with some “time filling” activities. The activities need to reflect the target “tag along” shoppers with the ideal option being an activity that appeals to the “tag along” which might increase sales. In the IKEA example, the “man cave” might highlight products that it offers that guys are interested in, for example, storage, workplaces and outdoor products.

Larry Negrich
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

I can generally entertain myself at an IKEA by looking at all of the products and estimating how much of my weekend it would require to assemble each. But if corporate management has determined that wives buy more while their spouses are watching football with other men, then I will join the boys in Manland and enjoy. Heck, put in a tap and pour some cold ones, I would take no offense. I can’t until the management at Cabela’s unveils its Wife Corral–or the reaction that would bring about.

Jinida Doba
Guest
Jinida Doba
9 years 7 months ago

Great concept on the outset, except for one tiny drawback: THE MEN AREN’T SHOPPING. Why not place man-friendly products for sale in the ‘man cave’?

Dennis Serbu
Guest
Dennis Serbu
9 years 7 months ago

Somehow I am straining to connect “Man” and IKEA. Berkley grads and lost children of the ’60s maybe, but real men? Maybe when they open a Skjutvapen Butik on the first floor….

James Tenser
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

This made me laugh out loud, especially the Aussie news video.

I suppose we could act all mock serious about the social import of MANLAND in a world where women are more empowered than ever, and men are slipping ungloriously toward the status of bill-paying house pets.

Too bad we males are so undependable that we can’t be left home safely while our keepers venture out for a giddy retail excursion. Luckily for us, we are still handy for grilling things, carting out the trash and lifting heavy objects onto the roofs of our SUVs.

Seems to me they should have named it Mandergarten.

Carlos Arámbula
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

I can see the concept working in other similar retailers. It’s a brilliant idea. While 30 minutes is not nearly enough time, it is plenty of time to brand and sell to a very willing male audience.

Take away the fun aspect of Manland and it’s really a 30 minutes merchandising opportunity for IKEA. The masculine shopping behavior of a married man is very different than that of a single man — he has turned over all decisions on home decorating to his spouse or mate — so this concept allows the retailer to remind men they have choices and desires they can satisfy at the store.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

Excuse me, but don’t most women take men along because they want them to be there regardless of how the men feel? If the men are going to stay in their own little play area, they might as well stay at home. If ’twere me, they might lose a customer for giving my man the excuse to humor me by coming but then irritate me by preferring to behave like a child and not provide the emotional support I need during the shopping “experience.” (Not that I would be caught dead in an IKEA myself, anyway, having broken my own rule by going back a second time after swearing off after the first visit. There will NOT be a third visit, come what may.)

Matthew Keylock
Guest
Matthew Keylock
9 years 7 months ago

I guess this concept could help if it means avoiding the initial browsing stage of the visit that my wife could complete. I’d gain some time for whatever I need or want to do (likely iPad-based) and then just be a part of the buying decisions. However, IKEA stores are generally designed to flow shoppers through the journey in a carefully managed way, so wouldn’t be that conducive to a browse then buy approach.

It would be better to browse on line then either order online or visit the store if necessary. Personally if I don’t need to be at the store then I’d rather not go at all. IKEA as a destination for TV watching and hot-dog eating doesn’t appeal too much!

I get this concept more for a Mall experience and especially if kids are involved, but not sure it would make much difference to my IKEA shopping.

Doug Fleener
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

I love the name MANLAND. I’m so happy to see that we men have moved beyond the bench at the front of the store. I use to work at the original MANLAND…The Sharper Image. Wives would drop off husbands there all of the time.

There are certain malls that already have MANLANDs…called the bar. Other than that, it’s smart business to engage anyone with a buyer who has the potential to distract them. More stores should do this.

By the way, the 30-minute limit is just stupid. What, do you they think our wives are just going to drop us off for the night and then go out with the girls? Why would you rush the shopper?