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Article
Publication date: 14 April 2020

Hua (Meg) Meng, César Zamudio and Robert D. Jewell

This paper aims to examine how olfactory imagery, triggered by scent brand names prior to smelling, influences scented-product purchase intention.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine how olfactory imagery, triggered by scent brand names prior to smelling, influences scented-product purchase intention.

Design/methodology/approach

Five studies were conducted. Logistic regression analysis was used to predict likelihood of olfactory imagery formation. ANOVA and t-test analyses were used for scent brand name group comparisons, and serial mediation analysis was used to test how scent brand names impact purchase intention through olfactory imagery vividness and the (dis)confirmation between imagined (i.e. expected) and experienced scents.

Findings

Scent name familiarity stimulates olfactory imagery formation. Scent brand name specificity (e.g. “Lavender Bouquet” vs. “Floral Bouquet”) influences purchase intention, with specific names leading to lower purchase intention, because they generate vivid olfactory imagery and induce a disconfirmation between imagined and experienced scents.

Practical implications

Branding scents on products should be a strategic product design decision. Surprisingly, although specific scent brand names trigger vivid olfactory imagery and precise scent expectations, they mitigate purchase intention and thus are riskier. General scent brand names are safer.

Originality/value

This research contributes by extending the literature on the effect of verbal cues on scent perception by considering the role of scent brand name specificity on purchase intent. It also adds to work on how olfactory imagery influences purchase intention by incorporating olfactory imagery vividness. Finally, it proposes and tests an underlying cognitive mechanism to explain the relationship between scent brand names and purchase intention.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

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Article
Publication date: 6 June 2018

Ingrid Gottschalk

The purpose of this paper is to broaden the list of boundary factors which impact consumer evaluation of ambient scenting. More specifically, this study aims at…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to broaden the list of boundary factors which impact consumer evaluation of ambient scenting. More specifically, this study aims at demonstrating that pre-informing about the scenting measure, the particular environment in which the scenting takes place and the disposition of persuasion knowledge are necessary variables to be considered for achieving positive evaluations.

Design/methodology/approach

A field experiment was carried out in a local grocery store (a “pay-now” environment) and in a medical therapy centre (a “pre-paid” environment, n=200). The paper draws on the theoretical concept of spreading activation, the consumer decision process and the persuasion knowledge model. Data were analysed by using ANOVA and moderated regression analysis.

Findings

Consumers evaluated the scenting as more favourable when having been pre-informed about the marketing measure. Consumers were also more in favour of ambient scents in the usage-oriented, pre-paid service environment than in the purchase-oriented, pay-now store environment. Persuasion knowledge moderated the relationship between environment and evaluation of ambient scenting.

Research limitations/implications

As important research implication, the role of customers’ pre-information, environment and persuasion knowledge as boundary factors for scent marketing interventions is supported. These results can inform retailers how best to proceed in scent marketing. Future research could extend the present results with various informational measures and in different pre-paid and pay-now environments and experiment with different scents.

Practical implications

The results speak for pre-informing customers and using scents particularly in pre-paid environments, such as medical therapy centres. For customers with a higher level of persuasion knowledge, pre-information and a fitting environment are particularly advisable.

Originality/value

This paper adds important insight to scent marketing literature by addressing additional boundary factors which so far have been neglected. Methodologically, it differentiates itself by employing a field experiment, which offers higher external validity than laboratory experiments which are frequently used in scent research.

Details

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 46 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

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Article
Publication date: 20 November 2007

Lena Goldkuhl and Maria Styvén

The intangible character of services makes it difficult for customers to evaluate a service offering before consumption. Scent offers a powerful means of making services…

Abstract

Purpose

The intangible character of services makes it difficult for customers to evaluate a service offering before consumption. Scent offers a powerful means of making services tangible. Therefore, this paper aims to contribute to the understanding of how scents can be used for services marketing purposes.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents an overview of studies, mainly from the area of retailing, indicating how scents can be used in services, and this is followed by a number of examples of such applications.

Findings

The paper finds that, although there are examples of service providers utilising scents to tangibilise, enhance and differentiate services, this area has been relatively neglected in marketing literature.

Practical implications

By adding the component of scent to their offerings, service providers have the opportunity to create a competitive advantage. When using scents in services marketing, managers should consider the aspects of presence, pleasantness, congruity and memory of scents.

Originality/value

No other paper with a specific focus on scent as a tangibiliser, enhancer and differentiator of services has been found in marketing literature. This paper provides important insights into the use of scents for services marketing purposes.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 41 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article
Publication date: 21 January 2021

Karim Errajaa, Patrick Legohérel, Bruno Daucé and Anil Bilgihan

The purpose of this study is to examine the role of scent congruence with the brand image in the formation of consumers’ reactions to the atmosphere of a place.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the role of scent congruence with the brand image in the formation of consumers’ reactions to the atmosphere of a place.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a factorial design (i.e. scent congruent with the brand image, scent not congruent and control), an experiment was conducted in a multi-service and hospitality space welcoming both local consumers and tourists (N = 303).

Findings

The findings show that when the scent is perceived as congruent with the brand image, reactions in the store are more favourable. It is not enough to use a scent that “smells good” or that is congruent with other factors (e.g. sensory environment); the scent must be perceived by consumers as consistent with the brand image. Findings also reveal that the diffusion of a scent congruent with the brand image improves guest satisfaction, intention to revisit and perceptions of the product and service.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations are both the emphasis on direct links and the focus on a French brand (café/co-working space franchise). It would be appropriate to extend the research to other contexts.

Practical implications

The findings show how important it is for hospitality organisations to use scents to generate a positive impact on their guests. Hotel, restaurant and café managers wishing to enhance customer reactions through the creation of an olfactory atmosphere should take scent congruence with the brand image into consideration.

Originality/value

The study of the effects of the atmosphere on consumer behaviour as a function of olfactory congruence with the brand image uses in-situ experimentation (café/co-working and food and beverage area).

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 33 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

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Article
Publication date: 30 March 2020

Ibrahim Taylan Dortyol

This research aims to uncover consumers' deeply hidden thoughts and feelings about store scent and its effects on shopping experiences.

Abstract

Purpose

This research aims to uncover consumers' deeply hidden thoughts and feelings about store scent and its effects on shopping experiences.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a qualitative approach, this research uses Zaltman metaphor elicitation technique (ZMET). All the steps of the ZMET have been performed, and important constructs and contents have been explored.

Findings

Ultimately, a hierarchical value map was presented. Accordingly, the naturalness and intensity of the scent played a prominent part in its effectiveness. The pleasantness and complexity of the scent, the malodor, congruity and incongruity of the scent, as well as nostalgia, were seen as the predominant originator constructs that resulted in approach or avoidance reactions.

Research limitations/implications

These findings have practical implications for managers seeking to design a store atmospherics making way for consumers to engage with the store and the brand. The cultural milieu in which the study was performed could be seen as a possible limitation of the study. This cultural angle should also be taken into consideration while the findings were considered.

Originality/value

Using ZMET as an innovative research method makes the study significant. By doing so, the metaphors of consumption are extended to the sensory marketing field to provide a more comprehensive understanding on the effects of store scent. Moreover, the study contributes to the existing literature of smell marketing.

Details

Qualitative Research Journal, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1443-9883

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Ana M. Arboleda, Carlos Arce-Lopera and Samuel González

The purpose of this paper is evaluate to what extent consumers can recognise a scent within a context that is congruent either with the product or with the user…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is evaluate to what extent consumers can recognise a scent within a context that is congruent either with the product or with the user, respectively, objects’ quality or subjects’ involvement.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper consists of two experimental studies. The first study assesses people’s capacity to recognise three scents: leather, synthetic leather, and fabric. The second study assesses the way in which a frame of reference (quality or involvement) affects people’s capacity for scent recognition (leather and fabric).

Findings

Results confirm the difficulty of scent recognition revealing, in the first study, a low level of consistency in subjects’ responses. The second study shows an interaction between the type of scent and consumers’ framework: subjects who are primed to think about product quality present more accurate scent recognition when they smell leather, whereas subjects who are primed to think about themselves present more accurate scent recognition when they smell fabric.

Practical implications

These results can be used in brand communication. A scent, such as that of leather, should highlight quality attributes in its communication. If the product is unscented, communication should highlight the subject who uses the product.

Originality/value

Previous studies show the importance of the consistency between scent and product marketing strategies. This study complements these findings by differentiating the context where a scent is presented considering either the product (the object’s quality attributes) or the individual who uses that product (subject’s involvement).

Propósito

Este estudio evalúa en qué medida los consumidores pueden reconocer un aroma en un contexto congruente con el producto o con el usuario, respectivamente, calidad del objeto o involucramiento del sujeto.

Diseño/metodología/aproximación

Este artículo consiste en dos estudios experimentales. El primero evalúa la capacidad de los individuos para reconocer tres aromas: cuero, cuero sintético y tela. El segundo estudio evalúa de qué forma un contexto de referencia (calidad o involucramiento) influye en la capacidad para reconocer un aroma (cuero y tela).

Hallazgos

Los resultados confirman la dificultad para el reconocimiento del aroma mostrando, en el primer estudio, un bajo nivel de consistencia en las respuestas de los sujetos. El segundo estudio muestra una interacción entre el tipo de aroma y el contexto de los consumidores: Sujetos que se les induce a pensar en la calidad del producto tienen un reconocimiento del aroma más acertado cuando huelen cuero; mientras que sujetos que se inducen a pensar en sí mismos tienen un reconocimiento del aroma más acertado cuando huelen tela.

Implicaciones prácticas

Los resultados pueden ser utilizados en la comunicación de la marca. Un aroma, como el del cuero, deberá destacar en la comunicación atributos de calidad. Si el producto no tiene aroma, la comunicación debe destacar el sujeto que usa el producto.

Originalidad/valor

Estudios previos señalan la importancia de la consistencia entre el aroma y las estrategias de mercadeo de un producto. Este estudio complementa estos hallazgos diferenciando el contexto en el que se presenta un aroma considerando el producto (atributos de calidad del objeto) o el individuo quien lo usa (involucramiento del sujeto).

Details

Academia Revista Latinoamericana de Administración, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1012-8255

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Book part
Publication date: 2 September 2014

V. Kumar, Nita Umashankar and Insu Park

Retail marketing is in the midst of an evolution. The paradigm is shifting from a product-centric to a consumer-centric focus, with a particular emphasis on understanding…

Abstract

Retail marketing is in the midst of an evolution. The paradigm is shifting from a product-centric to a consumer-centric focus, with a particular emphasis on understanding how consumers transition from harboring an interest in a product to actually purchasing that product. In response, shopper marketing, and in-store marketing (ISM) in particular, have emerged as important mechanisms to influence shopper behavior in brick & mortar and online retail environments. The academic literature is replete with work on what factors of ISM influence shopper behavior. In this chapter, we categorize prominent streams of findings on ISM into firm, customer, competitor and product characteristics of ISM and examine how the notion of a “store” is evolving from bricks to clicks – namely from physical formats to online shopping experiences. Insights from this chapter will help retailers and store managers identify what their customers respond to within a physical store, how technology is changing the way they can capture information on customers, and how shopper behavior is evolving in response to brick & mortar and online retail environments.

Details

Shopper Marketing and the Role of In-Store Marketing
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-001-8

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2018

Meng-Hsien (Jenny) Lin, Samantha N.N. Cross and Terry L. Childers

The purpose of this paper is to explore the mediating role of emotions in processing scent information in consumer research, using event-related potential (ERP)-based…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the mediating role of emotions in processing scent information in consumer research, using event-related potential (ERP)-based neuroscience methods, while considering individual differences in sense of smell.

Design/methodology/approach

Prior research on olfaction and emotions in marketing has revealed mixed findings on the relationship between olfaction and emotion. The authors review earlier studies and present a neuroscience experiment demonstrating the benefits of ERP methods in studying the automatic processing of emotions.

Findings

Results demonstrate how emotional processes occurring within 1s of stimulus exposure differ across individuals with varying olfactory abilities. Findings reveal an automatic suppression mechanism for individuals sensitive to smell.

Research limitations/implications

Scent-induced emotions demonstrated through the use of ERP-based methods provide insights for understanding automatic emotional processes and reactions to ambient scents by consumers in the marketplace.

Practical implications

Findings show an automatic suppression of emotions triggered by scent in individuals sensitive to smell. Marketers and retailers should consider such reactions when evaluating the use of olfactory stimuli in promotional and retail strategies.

Originality/value

The authors review past literature and provide an explanation for the disparate findings in the olfaction–emotion linkage, by studying individual differences in response to scent in the marketplace. This is one of the first papers in marketing to introduce the application of ERP in studying consumer-relevant behavior and provide technical and marketing-specific considerations for both academic and market researchers.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 52 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article
Publication date: 20 March 2017

Kaisa Kivioja

This study aims to examine the impact of olfactory cues at the point of purchase on consumers’ purchase behavior in terms of sales.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the impact of olfactory cues at the point of purchase on consumers’ purchase behavior in terms of sales.

Design/methodology/approach

The theory of semantic congruence and sensory marketing on consumer behavior is tested using data collected through an experiment and analyzed using quantitative methods.

Findings

The presence of an olfactory cue has a positive impact on purchase behavior, as measured by product and product-category sales. Results indicate that a more common, category-congruent scent is optimal, as opposed to product-congruent, differentiating scent, even for a single product.

Practical implications

The findings encourage retailers to implement scents at the point of purchase as a sales promotion tool. Targeting a product category, instead of a single product, would seem the most feasible target scope.

Originality/value

This paper studies sensory marketing and cue congruence in a real-life retail setting, measuring the impact in terms of sales, and not only in relation to purchase intentions or brand image. Addressing a precisely defined target that suits retailing, namely, a single product and product category, is also novel, contrasting with earlier studies focused on ambient scents in large environments.

Details

Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 34 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2014

Tina Poon and Bianca Grohmann

This replication and extension of Hirsch and Gruss examines the impact of spatial density and ambient scent on consumers' spatial perception and anxiety. The paper aims to…

Abstract

Purpose

This replication and extension of Hirsch and Gruss examines the impact of spatial density and ambient scent on consumers' spatial perception and anxiety. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

A 2 (spatial density: high, low)×3 (ambient scent: no scent, scent associated with spaciousness, scent associated with enclosed spaces) between-participants experimental design was implemented in a laboratory setting. A pretest determined scent selection and manipulation checks were successful.

Findings

Spatial perception was influenced by spatial density, but not ambient scent. Ambient scent and spatial density interacted, such that consumers' anxiety levels significantly increased under conditions of low spatial density combined with an ambient scent associated with spaciousness, and directionally increased under conditions of high spatial density combined with ambient scent associated with enclosed space.

Research limitations/implications

This research was conducted in a laboratory setting in order to increase experimental control. An exploration of the strength of the observed effects in a field (retail) setting would be insightful.

Practical implications

Results of this study suggest that retailers need to consider both spatial density and choice of ambient scent carefully in order to reduce consumers' anxiety levels.

Originality/value

This research is one of the few to consider the impact of spatial density and ambient scent on consumers' anxiety levels. The use of a between-participants design and the experimental manipulation of both spatial density and ambient scent results in a more rigorous test of the scent – anxiety relation observed in previous research.

Details

American Journal of Business, vol. 29 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1935-5181

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