Do Olfactory Cues Affect Evaluations and Behaviours?


Eric R. Spangenberg is an assistant Professor of Marketing at Washington State university, USA
Ayn R. Crowley is an Associate Professor of Marketing at Drake University, USA
Pamela W. Henderson is an Assistant Professor of Marketing , Washington State University, USA.

This report was printed after minor editorial change in the April 1996 Journal of Marketing, USA. Below is a summary of the findings.

The report finally gives conclusive evidence that Scents or Aromas ( if pleasant ) in a retail environment do:

  • Improve the perception of customers as to the evaluation of the store
  • Improve the perception of customers as to the stores environment
  • Improve the perception of customers as to the merchandise
  • Improve the perception of customers as to specific products
  • Improve the intentions of customers to visit the store
  • Improve purchase intentions for specific products

In addition

  • Customers perceived that they were in the store for a lesser period than actual when a store was scented.
  • The type of scent or aroma used in the store is immaterial as long as it is pleasant
  • The intensity of the scent did not make significant differences to the results

One area that this study has not touched on in any evaluative way, is the mood changing characteristics of some aromas. The affect of these aromas on people’s moods has long been claimed by the aromatherapists and certainly some empirical evidence is available from industry where they have applied aromas to create mood changes in their employees. The Japanese seem to be in the fore-front of this application.

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