A study in the Journal of Marketing shows that a scent’s “temperature” in a store can affect what and how much a customer buys.
“People smelling warm fragrances such as cinnamon feel that the room they are in is more crowded, and feel less powerful as a result,” wrote study authors Adriana V. Madzharov (Stevens Institute of Technology), Lauren G. Block (City University of New York), and Maureen Morrin (Temple University). “This can lead them to compensate by buying items they feel are more prestigious.”
The researchers conducted many experiments on how warm and cool scents affect perception and decision making. As mentioned, people in “warm” scented rooms felt more crowded than when they were in a “cool” scented room, even when the room contained the same number of people each time. The “warm crowded” room people made up for this feeling of less power by buying prestigious items to help raise their personal status. They even bought significantly more items overall.
“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,” the authors wrote. “We show that retailers can easily manipulate social density perceptions with a subtle and relatively inexpensive application of ambient scenting in the store environment.”
Now all the team stores will smell like cinnamon, right?