Future Research Directions in Sensory Marketing

Future Research Directions in Sensory Marketing

Maher Georges Elmashhara, Nada Elbishbishy
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2220-2.ch006
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Although retail atmospherics has been an active field of study, further research is needed to address the role that sensory marketing plays in the retailing sector. This chapter presents a review of previous research and discusses the effect of visual, sound, and olfactory atmospherics on shopping outcomes. The interaction among these variables and their common impact on consumer behavior is also explored. The chapter expands and enriches the literature on retail atmospherics and discusses future research avenues. Further research will help retailers pay attention to the crucial role of sensory environment in shaping the customer experience and shopping behavior.
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Retailing is witnessing a thrilling period of change (Grewal, Roggeveen, & Nordfält, 2017). The stiff competition among different retailing formats is one side of this change (Chotipanich & Issarasak, 2017), and retailers are using different techniques to compete and entice shoppers. For example, while online retailers are trying to benefit from a bigger product assortment and a 24/7 service, offline retailers are designing their stores to provide a richer shopping experience (El Hedhli, Zourrig, & Chebat, 2016; Terblanche, 2018). Enhancing in-store shopping increases shopper satisfaction and other approach behaviors (Elmashhara & Soares, 2019b).

Providing a rich in-store shopping experience requires considering all the factors that could influence consumer behavior and their attitude towards the store. Some of these factors may have a bigger influence on the utilitarian shopping visits, while some others have a higher impact on hedonic shopping visit (Jones, Reynolds, & Arnold, 2006). Some of the factors that influence shopping utilitarian values and have been well-recognized in retailing research are convenience and accessibility (Guido, Belk, Rizzo, & Pino, 2018; Pauwels & Neslin, 2015; Reimers, 2014; Reimers & Clulow, 2014), merchandise and packaging factors (Miquel, Caplliure, Pérez, & Bigné, 2017; Newman, Howlett, & Burton, 2014), price, promotions, and return policies (Chatterjee & Kumar, 2017; Nakhata & Kuo, 2017; Shirai, 2017), product quality (Pan & Zinkhan, 2006; Vega-Vázquez, Castellanos-Verdugo, & Oviedo-Garcia, 2017), retail tenant mix (Teller, 2008; Wakefield & Baker, 1998), display and shelf-space (He & Oppewal, 2018; Ketron, 2018), layout and design (Iyer & Smith, 2015; Rosenbaum, Ramirez, & Camino, 2018), retail location (Dolega, Pavlis, & Singleton, 2016; Reigadinha, Godinho, & Dias, 2017), and parking (Mingardo & Meerkerk, 2012; Reimers, 2013). Another group of consumer behavior antecedents has been mostly studied in relation to hedonic shopping values (Abdul Karim, Kumar, & Abd Rahman, 2013). In this vein, the following factors are well-recognized in retailing literature: atmospherics and environmental factors (Bloch & Kamran-Disfani, 2018; El-Adly & Eid, 2016; Holmqvist & Lunardo, 2015), social factors (Hsu, Chen, & Kumar, 2018; Li, Lin, & Ho, 2017; Ramamoorthy, Gunasekaran, Roy, Rai, & Senthilkumar, 2018), and entertainment (Elmashhara & Soares, 2019b, 2019a; Elmashhara, Soares, & Mumel, 2019; Sadachar & Fiore, 2018; Triantafillidou, Siomkos, & Papafilippaki, 2017).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Retail Atmospherics: The physical and environmental characteristics of a retail store used to create an image to attract customers. Retailers may use atmospherics to enhance the customer experience.

Lighting in Retailing: The use of lights in stores as a crucial tool to forming the consumer's expectations about the store and shopping areas’ characteristics.

Sensory Marketing: The process of attracting consumers and win their attention, trust, and loyalty by appealing to their senses.

Music in Retailing: One of the least expensive techniques to improve ambient sound and enhance shopper perceptions.

Color Schemes in Retailing: One of the cues in atmospherics that can be used in retailing to differentiate products, as well as to influence consumers’ expectations about the store's characteristics.

Scent in Retailing: The ambient scent is another inexpensive tool that could be used by retailers to refresh the environment and attract shoppers.

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