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

Authors
  • McGrath, Mary C1
  • Aronow, Peter M2
  • Shotwell, Vivien3
  • 1 Department of Political Science, Yale University, New Haven, CT USA.
  • 2 Department of Political Science, Yale University, New Haven, CT USA ; Department of Biostatistics, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT USA.
  • 3 Trident Bookstore and Café, Halifax, NS Canada. , (Canada)
Type
Published Article
Journal
SpringerPlus
Publisher
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2016
Volume
5
Issue
1
Pages
670–670
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1186/s40064-016-2303-5
PMID: 27347464
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

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.

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