Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Smells like Christmas spirit: Researchers tie simple scent to increased retail sales

Date:
November 26, 2012
Source:
Washington State University
Summary:
Scientists and business people have known for decades that certain scents -- pine boughs at Christmas, baked cookies in a house for sale -- can get customers in the buying spirit. Researchers have been homing in on just what makes the most commercially inspiring odor. They recently found that a simple scent works best.

Scientists and business people have known for decades that certain scents -- pine boughs at Christmas, baked cookies in a house for sale -- can get customers in the buying spirit. Eric Spangenberg, a pioneer in the field and dean of the Washington State University College of Business, has been homing in on just what makes the most commercially inspiring odor.

Spangenberg and colleagues at WSU and in Switzerland recently found that a simple scent works best.

Writing in the Journal of Retailing, the researchers describe exposing hundreds of Swiss shoppers to simple and complex scents. Cash register receipts and in-store interviews revealed a significant bump in sales when the uncomplicated scent was in the air.

"What we showed was that the simple scent was more effective," says Spangenberg.

The researchers say the scent is more easily processed, freeing the customer's mind to focus on shopping. But when that "bandwidth" is unavailable customers don't perform cognitive tasks as effectively, says Spangenberg.

Working with Andreas Herrmann at Switzerland's University of St. Gallen, Spangenberg, marketing professor David Sprott and marketing doctoral candidate Manja Zidansek developed two scents: a simple orange scent and a more complicated orange-basil blended with green tea. Over 18 weekdays, the researchers watched more than 400 customers in a St. Gallen home decorations store as the air held the simple scent, the complex scent or no particular scent at all.

The researchers noticed that one group of about 100 people on average spent 20 percent more money, buying more items. They had shopped in the presence of the simple scent.

In a series of separate experiments, WSU researchers had undergraduate students solve word problems under the different scent conditions. They found participants solved more problems and in less time when the simple scent was in the air than with the complicated one or no scent at all. The simple scent, say the researchers, contributed to "processing fluency," the ease with which one can cognitively process an olfactory cue.

The research, says Spangenberg, underscores the need to understand how a scent is affecting customers. Just because pine boughs or baked cookies smell good doesn't mean they will lead to sales.

"Most people are processing it at an unconscious level, but it is impacting them," says Spangenberg. "The important thing from the retailer's perspective and the marketer's perspective is that a pleasant scent isn't necessarily an effective scent."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington State University. The original article was written by Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andreas Herrmann, Manja Zidansek, David E. Sprott, Eric R. Spangenberg. The Power of Simplicity: Processing Fluency and the Effects of Olfactory Cues on Retail Sales. Journal of Retailing, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.jretai.2012.08.002

Cite This Page:

Washington State University. "Smells like Christmas spirit: Researchers tie simple scent to increased retail sales." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126110929.htm>.
Washington State University. (2012, November 26). Smells like Christmas spirit: Researchers tie simple scent to increased retail sales. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126110929.htm
Washington State University. "Smells like Christmas spirit: Researchers tie simple scent to increased retail sales." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126110929.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins