Study shows the right sounds and smells will make shoppers spend

Retailers can start factoring in shoppers’ senses when figuring out how to increase dwell time. A new study by Washington State University researchers has found that combining tunes with simple, store-appropriate smells could help retailers.

Looking over related scientific research — and making sure their sounds, music and displays match their customer base — could help stores improve the shopping experience and draw in business, said Eric Spangenberg, dean of the college of business at Washington State University, in an article on

Spangenberg said pairing the wrong scents with unsuitable music or failing to keep a consistent sensory experience could scare away shoppers. Faster-tempo music isn’t always a good idea, he said, as slower music encourages customers to spend more time mulling purchases.

The article discussed a company called ScentAir, which provides scents to businesses as a means of improving customer experience and marketing. Demand for scent-related product increases at the holidays, said Ed Burke, the company’s marketing director.

“If they’re putting a lot of effort into decorating for the holiday, what scent is crucial?” he said. The company consults with clients about what type of scent — simple or complex, holiday or signature — will best appeal to customers and make their store come across as authentic, he said.

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