Chocolate scents and product sales: a randomized controlled trial in a Canadian bookstore and café

Mary C. McGrath*, Peter M. Aronow, Vivien Shotwell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

We report the results of a 31-day trial on the effects of chocolate scent on purchasing behavior in a bookstore. Our study replicates and extends a 10-day randomized controlled trial in order to examine the generalizability of the original finding. We first introduce the study of store atmospherics and highlight the importance and dearth of replication in this area. In the next section, we describe the original study and discuss the theory of ambient scent effects on product sales, and the role of scent-product congruity. We then describe our design and methods, followed by presentation and discussion of our results. We find no evidence that chocolate scent affects sales. These findings indicate the importance of replication in varied settings. Contextual factors and the choices available to customers may moderate the effects of ambient scent on purchasing behavior. Our study highlights the value of examining the generalizability of experimental findings, both for theory and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number670
JournalSpringerPlus
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Keywords

  • Ambient scent
  • Atmospherics
  • Book sales
  • Purchasing behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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