In-store and festive songs are used to create a

In-store music and
aroma are two environmental factors that have been shown to influence
consumers’ emotions and shopping behaviors. Several studies have investigated
their effects on variables such as dwell time, purchase or spend, and
recommendation behavior.

As retail markets become increasingly competitive,
retailers are continuously looking to differentiate their retail offering. One
way they can differentiate is by providing a shopping environment that is
customized to meet customers’ needs, not only in terms of merchandise,
convenience and pricing but also in providing a pleasant and, possibly,
exciting shopping atmosphere. Over the past two thousand years modern Christmas
are associated with distinct sounds and smells. The smells of pine, cinnamon
and mulled wine combine with the sounds of carolers, traditional hymns and
festive songs are used to create a Christmas holiday atmosphere. In order to
attract customers, retailers often implement such techniques to create pleasant
atmosphere that awake the spirit of Christmas holidays. The use of smell
marketing during the holiday season is a wise choice for retailers, considering
the fact that many retailers’ annual profitability depends on strong holiday
sales. It was observed by Kotler in a published work1,
that retail environments create atmospheres that affect consumer’s behavior. Consumption
patterns are significantly related to emotional states and time spent in the
store, propensity to make a purchase, and satisfaction with the experience.

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In a retail setting, numerous researches show that
ambient scents influence consumers’ affective and cognitive reactions as well
as their approach behavior toward products and stores.2
A well-known theoretical basis for studying ambient scent effects is the Stimulus-Organism-Response
This model states that affective and cognitive responses triggered by an
ambient scent mediate the effects of the scent on approach behavior. In line
with this model, research has found that the presence of a pleasant ambient
scent triggers a positive affective reaction and/or a cognitive reaction such
as enhanced attention, memory, and evaluation.4
Thus, a pleasant ambient scent may shift consumers’ shopping goals from
searching for specific products they want to buy (i.e., goal-directed behavior)
to exploring stores in general and in detail (i.e., general approach behavior).
The use of smell marketing in retail has been observed through various
While specialty stores often rely on the inherent scents of their product lines
to attract customers (e.g., bath shops and candy stores), many retailers rely
on ambient scents not associated with any particular product to attract
customers and influence them once in the store environment. Some sources show the
hypothesis that pleasantly scented environments elicit approach behaviors while
unpleasant environments elicit avoidance behaviors. However, there is a report7,
that pleasant ambient scents can fail to have the desired effect if they are inconsistent
with consumers’ expectations or preferences regarding a retail store and its
merchandise. That is, to be successful, olfactory cues should be pleasant and
also ought to be fit with other components of the environment into which they
are diffused. To better understand the way that in-store atmospherics
influences shopper behavior, it is important to consider the mood and emotions
that shoppers experience while shopping within a specific store. Mood states
are present in virtually every shopping encounter and could have a significant
effect on shopper behavior.


Music is another environmental cue demonstrated to
affect consumer behavior. Several studies have demonstrated that music can
affect mood89, perceptions of time10,
interaction between buyers and sellers. Together, these findings suggest that musical stimulation
is a powerful way of influencing consumers’ affective responses in retail environments.
For instance, it was demonstrated that French wines sold better when paired
with corresponding (i.e., French) music than with inconsistent (i.e., Chinese)

usage of smell and sound.

The interaction of environmental cues is a normatively
important and theoretically interesting area of research that has received
little scholarly attention. It is important to note, that we expect that
consistency between ambient scent and music in a retail setting will affect
consumer perceptions and evaluations therein. It is clear that there is
consistency between ambient scent and music in a retail setting will affect
consumer perceptions and evaluations therein. Interaction between scent and
music such that the addition of an ambient scent to a retail environment will
have positive effects on consumer evaluations (of the store, the store
environment and the merchandise offered) when in the presence of consistent musical
stimuli. Conversely, consumer evaluations will be affected negatively when the
addition of an ambient scent occurs in the presence of inconsistent musical
background. Large number of studies indicate that consistency between an
ambient scent and music in stores leads to more favorable evaluations of the
store, its merchandise and the store environment. Behavioral intentions to
visit the store are also positively affected by consistency between ambient
scent and music. When inconsistency exists between the ambient scent and music,
however, evaluations and behavioral intentions are either not affected or in
some instances are negatively affected. For retailers, it seems crucial to
select combinations of scents and music that are congruent in the minds of
their customers-like the combined usage of Christmas music with a Christmas
scent. Such environmental cues are likely to lead to more favorable outcomes
for retailers using such stimuli in their stores. Retailers need to be aware
that not all combinations of music and scent positively affect shoppers. Combinations
which are not consisted, are unlikely to elicit favorable outcomes. Retailers
might be better advised to use a single environmental cue rather than introduce
irrelevant combinations of music and scent.

A pleasant ambient scent has a negative effect on
consumers’ product evaluation when it is mismatched with other environmental
elements, especially in a combination with irrelevant music background.