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Fragrances Influence Impression of Retail Spaces

Jan. 27, 2015

Scent “temperatures” shown to have measurable effect on consumer behavior.

Something as simple as adding a fragrance to your retail facility could increase sales, says a new study published in the Journal of Marketing. The researchers from the Stevens Institute of Technology, City University of New York, and Temple University conducted experiments to assess how different scents could influence shoppers’ perception and decision-making behavior.

The scientists found that when people are exposed to a “warm” scent, such as cinnamon, the shoppers felt they were in a more crowded room than shoppers who smelled a “cool” fragrance. The people smelling the warm scent felt less powerful in a crowded room and were more likely to buy items that were associated with prestige and an increase in personal status. The researchers are also quick to note that the positive trends didn’t stop there, with the “warm” customers buying significantly more items than their “cool” counterparts in addition to their more expensive taste.

”This study, to the best of our knowledge, is the first to show how fragrance in the environment can affect how we feel about the space surrounding us, and how that in turn can drive customers to choose prestigious products. We show that retailers can easily manipulate social density perceptions with a subtle and relatively inexpensive application of ambient scenting in the store environment,” say the study’s authors.

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