Last week, I visited an IKEA for the first time. I had heard a lot about the store in the past, and I finally got around to checking one out. If you’re not familiar with the Swedish company (now Dutch-based), they’re the world’s largest furniture retailer. They have massive warehouse-sized stores, featuring dozens of furnished rooms designed to show off their affordably priced furniture.

What I wanted to tell you about today has nothing to do with how well-designed IKEA stores are. What I wanted to impart upon you was how effectively IKEA managed to nail the exit experience.

Confession time. I’m not the biggest fan of shopping. Not even close. My visits to the mall or the grocery store usually end up lasting as short as five minutes. I’m the type of person that strolls in, grabs what they need, and gets out ASAP.

However, I did not have the pleasure of visiting IKEA by myself. Instead, I was with a group of people that very much enjoy shopping. The whole experience lasted about two hours or so, which I was cool with. I actually really liked the store! I was just feeling a tad fatigued by the end.

Here’s the kicker. They sent me home satisfied and happy. Why? I noticed it as I was walking out. IKEA serves food. After, or during, your shopping experience, there’s an array of delicious, low-priced food choices that you can choose to pick up. They had everything from coffee, to frozen yogurt, to pizza, and even salmon.

When I walked out of IKEA for the first time, I had completely forgotten about how fatigued I had gotten spending a couple hours in the store. I was thinking about how delicious (and affordable) that slice of pizza had been. Now I can’t wait to go back sometime.

Another popular store, Costco, has a similar tactic. There’s a conveniently located food court that’s pretty hard to miss on your way out of the store. Much like IKEA, for just a few bucks, you can enjoy a quick meal on your way out.

You might be wondering how you can nail the exit experience for your own business. While it’s probably a bit out-of-the-question for many businesses (especially small businesses) to just tack on an affordable, high-quality food court, there’s still solutions out there that can work for each individual business.

So if a food court’s too much, why not try a platter of homemade snacks at the checkout counter? That should be easy enough. Leaving a good impression on your customers as they head out can work wonders.

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Does your business do anything specific to send customers home satisfied? Sound off in the comments! 

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