PurposeThis study aims to examine the relationship between consumer characteristics and the effectiveness of olfactory cues on purchase behavior.Design/methodology/approachThe theories of the effects of consumer decision-making, olfaction and sensory marketing on purchase behavior are applied using loyalty card data collected through an experiment. These data are analyzed using quantitative methods.FindingsThe presence of an olfactory cue has a positive impact on purchase behavior, as measured by product-category sales. Results indicate that in sales promotion, olfactory cues are most efficient in men who have hedonistic or quality-oriented decision-making styles.Research limitations/implicationsThis paper is the first to study the effectiveness of olfactory cues on purchase behavior when the interactions between the individual characteristics of consumers are considered. The study broadens extant frameworks of sensory marketing by placing the consumer in the central position as the processor of sensory cues. The work pioneers the integration of consumer’s decision-making style (CDMS) as one of the moderating factors in the process.Practical implicationsThe results encourage retailers and practitioners to consider CDMS – and not only gender or age – when using olfactory cues in sales promotions. Hopefully, this paper will inspire retailers to think of the more psychological aspects of consumer behavior and decision-making when planning their loyalty card systems.Originality/valueThis paper is the first to study the effectiveness of olfactory cues on purchase behavior when the interactions between the individual characteristics of consumers are considered. Addressing the decision-making style in addition to demographics is a novel approach, contrasting with earlier studies that merely focused on olfactory acuity.
European Journal of Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 8, 2019
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