Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why retailers need to pay attention to the smell of their stores

Date:
May 27, 2014
Source:
Concordia University
Summary:
Retail stores overflowing with merchandise can make consumers feel claustrophobic rather than ready to spend. But the recent move towards open, minimally stocked spaces can leave them feeling just as anxious. The solution to this shopping conundrum may be smell, as new research shows. "Our study shows that retailers need to carefully consider how they pair shopping space and ambient scent in order to decrease consumers' anxiety levels and improve their shopping experience," says a co-author.

Retail stores overflowing with merchandise can make consumers feel claustrophobic rather than ready to spend. But the recent move towards open, minimally stocked spaces can leave them feeling just as anxious.

The solution to this shopping conundrum may be smell, as new research from Concordia University shows.

In a study recently published in the American Journal of Business, researchers from the university's John Molson School of Business (JMSB) suggest that, when diffused in retail environments, certain scents can reduce the level of anxiety experienced by consumers.

"Our research shows that scents are best at fighting anxiety when they create feelings of openness in crowded retail environments or coziness in minimalist retail spaces," says marketing professor Bianca Grohmann.

Grohmann and her co-author Tina Poon, a graduate of Concordia's Master of Science program in marketing, conducted the study at JMSB's Laboratory for Sensory Research.

To test how scents diffused in the environment affect anxiety levels caused by overly crowded or open spaces, the researchers invited consumers to a lab that was either jam-packed or nearly empty.

In each case, the lab -- a simulated retail environment -- was infused with one of three ambient scents:

  1. A scent reminiscent of enclosed spaces, like the smell of firewood
  2. A scent evoking open spaces, like the seashore
  3. No scent at all

Consumers evaluated several products, as well as the space in which the experiment was conducted. They then indicated their level of anxiety.

Grohmann and Poon found the following:

  • In crowded spaces, consumers said they felt least anxious when smelling something that evoked spaciousness.
  • In an almost empty space, consumers felt much calmer when exposed to an ambient scent evoking closed spaces.
  • Overall: anxiety levels were highest among consumers in an open space that was infused with a scent related to spaciousness.

"Our study shows that retailers need to carefully consider how they pair shopping space and ambient scent in order to decrease consumers' anxiety levels and improve their shopping experience," Grohmann says.

Ultimately, retailers who contend with small, crowded spaces, either due to limited store size or the volume of merchandise they stock, can prevent feelings of claustrophobia by using space-enhancing scents. However, those following the minimalist trend may want to consider using scents that bring a sense of coziness to the environment.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Concordia University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tina Poon, Bianca Grohmann. Spatial density and ambient scent: effects on consumer anxiety. American Journal of Business, 2014; 29 (1): 76 DOI: 10.1108/AJB-05-2013-0027

Cite This Page:

Concordia University. "Why retailers need to pay attention to the smell of their stores." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140527124113.htm>.
Concordia University. (2014, May 27). Why retailers need to pay attention to the smell of their stores. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140527124113.htm
Concordia University. "Why retailers need to pay attention to the smell of their stores." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140527124113.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The New York Times has officially endorsed the legalization of marijuana, but why now, and to what end? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Congress OKs Unlocking Phones From Carriers

Congress OKs Unlocking Phones From Carriers

Newsy (July 26, 2014) A bill legalizing "unlocking," or untethering a phone from its default wireless carrier, has passed Congress and is expected to be signed into law. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Wikipedia Puts Congress in Time Out, Blocks Editing

Wikipedia Puts Congress in Time Out, Blocks Editing

Newsy (July 26, 2014) An IP address within the House of Representatives was banned from editing Wikipedia articles for 10 days after it made some questionable changes. 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