ScentAir Home

Research: Spangenberg on The Retail Environment

Research: Spangenberg on The Retail Environment


Improving the Store Environment:

Do Olfactory Cues Affect Evaluation and Behaviour

Research conducted and evaluated by
Assistant Professor of Marketing Eric R. Spangenberg of Washington State University, USA
Assistant Professor of Marketing Ayn R. Crowley of Drake University, USA
Assistant Professor of Marketing Pamela W. Henderson of Washington State University, USA

Spangenberg Report Summary:

Objective: To determine the effects of Ambient Scent in a retail environment.

Duration: Twenty weeks, early 1996.

Subjects and Procedure
Subjects were 298 students (46% female) recruited from undergraduate business classes at
a large university, randomly assigned to one of thirteen conditions. One unscented and
twelve scented conditions consisting of two neutral and two positive scents diffused at either
low, moderate or high intensities. The scents chosen (lavender, ginger, spearmint and
orange) were particularly unrelated to any item in the simulated store. The store theme "one
stop shopping" contained non-floral plants, calendars, kitchen items, books, clothing, decor
items and athletic gear. The subjects were told that the questionnaire provided to them was
to determine the benefit of a retail store such as this proposed for near the university. Armed
with the questionnaire, the subjects were invited to explore the store at their own pace while a
lab assistant secretly recorded their movements from behind a one way mirror. The
completed questionaries and observations were compiled and applied to the Manover over-all
F-test with statistically significant results in all areas in favour of the scented stores.

Applied Dependent Measures
Evaluation of the store. IE; bad/good, outdated/modern. 14-points
Evaluation of the store environment. IE; unpleasant/pleasant. 7-points
Evaluation of the merchandise. IE; inadequate/adequate, bad/good. 7-points
Evaluation of specific products. IE; low/high quality, poor value/good value. 7-point
Intention to visit the store. IE; unlikely/likely. 7-points
Purchase intentions for specific products. IE; very unlikely/very likely. 7-points
Actual vs. perceived time spent in the store. Best guess without looking at your watch
Number of products examined. Hanging price tags moved.

The research showed a significant difference in evaluation of, and behaviors in, a scented
store environment vis-à-vis an unscented store despite no other changes. Scents that are at
least neutral were found to produce enhanced perceptions; the specific scent used did not
matter as much as the presence of the scent.
The subject customers importantly perceived the scented store to be of higher quality in
surroundings and merchandise with a heightened awareness in specific products and distinct
purchase intentions. Of considerable interest was the finding that subjects in the no scent
condition perceived having spent significantly more time in the store than they actually had.
Suggesting that the time consumers spend examining merchandise, waiting in lines or waiting
for help can be made to feel shorter by introducing an ambient scent.


We provide Aroma Marketing and Patented Scent Delivery Systems for Hotels, Clubs and Bars, Casinos, Retailers, Brands, Museums and Performances, Food and Beverage, Hospitals & Healthcare, Government and Military Simulation, Real Estate

ALLSENSE PTE LTD (Registration no. 200907493K)
About ScentAir Scent Delivery Products & Programs Aroma Marketing ScentAir Clients and Case Studies ScentAir Home Contact ScentAir