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Article

Kaisa Sandell

This study aims to examine the relationship between consumer characteristics and the effectiveness of olfactory cues on purchase behavior.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the relationship between consumer characteristics and the effectiveness of olfactory cues on purchase behavior.

Design/methodology/approach

The theories of the effects of consumer decision-making, olfaction and sensory marketing on purchase behavior are applied using loyalty card data collected through an experiment. These data are analyzed using quantitative methods.

Findings

The presence of an olfactory cue has a positive impact on purchase behavior, as measured by product-category sales. Results indicate that in sales promotion, olfactory cues are most efficient in men who have hedonistic or quality-oriented decision-making styles.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is the first to study the effectiveness of olfactory cues on purchase behavior when the interactions between the individual characteristics of consumers are considered. The study broadens extant frameworks of sensory marketing by placing the consumer in the central position as the processor of sensory cues. The work pioneers the integration of consumer’s decision-making style (CDMS) as one of the moderating factors in the process.

Practical implications

The results encourage retailers and practitioners to consider CDMS – and not only gender or age – when using olfactory cues in sales promotions. Hopefully, this paper will inspire retailers to think of the more psychological aspects of consumer behavior and decision-making when planning their loyalty card systems.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to study the effectiveness of olfactory cues on purchase behavior when the interactions between the individual characteristics of consumers are considered. Addressing the decision-making style in addition to demographics is a novel approach, contrasting with earlier studies that merely focused on olfactory acuity.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 53 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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