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The Power of Simplicity: Processing Fluency and the Effects of Olfactory Cues on Retail Sales

Andreas Herrmann, Manja Zidansek, David E. Sprott and Eric R. Spangenberg

Journal of Retailing, 2013, vol. 89, issue 1, 30-43

Abstract: Although ambient scents within retail stores have been shown to influence shoppers, real-world demonstrations of scent effects are infrequent and existing theoretical explanation for observed effects is limited. The current research addresses these open questions through the theoretical lens of processing fluency. In support of a processing fluency explanation, results across four studies show the complexity of a scent to impact consumer responses to olfactory cues. A simple (i.e., more easily processed) scent led to increased ease of cognitive processing and increased actual spending, whereas a more complex scent had no such effect. Implications for theory and retail practice are provided.

Keywords: Olfaction; Complexity; Processing fluency; Sales (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:eee:jouret:v:89:y:2013:i:1:p:30-43