SUBLIMINAL ALERT: This Scent Makes You Spend More Money

By Peter Zafirides, M.D. on November 26, 2012
oranges-zafirides-subliminal

Consumers spent 20% more money when they shopped in the presence of this simple scent.

 

 

Here at The Healthy Mind, we do our best to provide important information for your overall health and well-being. But every so often, we even try to save you some money! The results of a recently-published, ”subliminal research” study may help you to keep a few extra shopping dollars in your wallet this holiday season.

 

Scientists and business people have known for decades that certain scents—pine boughs at Christmas, baked cookies in a house for sale—can get customers in the buying spirit. Dr. Eric Spangenberg, a pioneer in the field and dean of the Washington State University College of Business, has been homing in on just what makes the most commercially inspiring odor.

 

Spangenberg and colleagues at WSU and in Switzerland recently found that a simple scent works best. Researchers exposed hundreds of Swiss shoppers to simple and complex scents. Cash register receipts and in-store interviews revealed a significant bump in sales when the uncomplicated scent was in the air.

 

“What we showed was that the simple scent was more effective,” says Spangenberg. The researchers say the scent is more easily processed, freeing the customer’s mind to focus on shopping. But when that “bandwidth” is unavailable customers don’t perform cognitive tasks as effectively, says Spangenberg.

 

Beware The Orange!

 

For the study, researchers developed two scents: a simple orange scent and a more complicated orange-basil blended with green tea. Over 18 weekdays, the researchers watched more than 400 customers in a St. Gallen home decorations store as the air held the simple scent, the complex scent or no particular scent at all.

 

The researchers noticed that one group of about 100 people on average spent 20 percent more money, buying more items. They had shopped in the presence of the simple scent.

 

In a series of separate experiments, WSU researchers had undergraduate students solve word problems under the different scent conditions. They found participants solved more problems and in less time when the simple scent was in the air than with the complicated one or no scent at all. The simple scent, say the researchers, contributed to “processing fluency,” the ease with which one can cognitively process an olfactory cue.

 

The research, says Spangenberg, underscores the need to understand how a scent is affecting customers.  ”Most people are processing it at an unconscious level, but it is impacting them,” says Spangenberg. “The important thing from the retailer’s perspective and the marketer’s perspective is that a pleasant scent isn’t necessarily an effective scent.”

 

So, over the next couple of weeks, be mindful as you are shopping for Christmas presents. If the scent of oranges fills the air of your favorite store, they may just be doing all they can to pry those extra dollars out of your wallet!

 

Now you know.

 

Related Story: Food Words Look Bigger When You Are Hungry

  

November 26, 2012
The Healthy Mind Network

 


Story Source: The above story contains original content and/or information reprinted and editorially adapted by The Healthy Mind. Material is provided by Washington State University and Eurekalerts


NOTE: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our TERMS AND CONDITIONS

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