The Use of Sensorial Marketing in Stores: Attracting Clients through their Senses

The Use of Sensorial Marketing in Stores: Attracting Clients through their Senses

Mónica Gómez Suárez (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain) and Cristina García Gumiel (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6074-8.ch014
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


The main concern of this chapter is to develop a state-of-the-art of the literature referring to the use of sensorial marketing within the store. For this purpose, a deep interdisciplinary review of the theoretical and empirical works related to this discipline has been carried out. Thanks to this review, the link between some sensorial stimuli and consumer behavior has been demonstrated, but also the lack of research in some areas of study has been identified. This chapter provides a general overview of the sensorial variables used within the store by the managers, their main effects in the consumer behavior, and the most important model, the SOR model, to explain these relations. Conclusions, managerial implication, and recommendations for future research are provided.
Chapter Preview


Sensorial marketing, as explained above, refers to the manipulation of some elements by retailers which are related to human senses, in order to create specific atmospheres. This promotes the development of key performance indicators, such as the duration of visit or the money spent in the store.

Although the use of the physical setting to create atmospheric impact as a form of marketing communications can be traced as far back as 1908 when the American Telegraph and Telephone (AT&T) Company used the visual impact of its organization’s building’ (Wright, Newman, & Dennis, 2006) as a tool. So it was in the beginning of the nineties when the potential of the atmospheric effects in retail become evident.

In relation with the origin of the atmosphere concept, it goes back to the creation of the environmental psychology. According with the psychology science, “psychologists have determined that the physical environment has an effect on human behavior and this branch of psychology has become known as environmental psychology” (Countryman & Jang, 2006). Also Mehrabian and Russell (1974) described it as “the direct impact of physical stimuli on human emotions and the effect on physical stimuli on a variety of behaviors, such as work performance or social interaction.”

Taking into consideration this premise, Kotler (1973) stated that if the physical environment had an effect on human behavior, it would also influence the behavior or individuals in consumer settings such as retail stores (Countryman & Jang, 2006), giving rise to the atmosphere’s concept. He defined it as “the intentional control of ambient variables with the purpose of getting a concrete customer’s response” (Turley & Milliman, 2000).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Merchandising: Groups of techniques used in a store with the purpose of improving the image of the products sold.

Organism: Component of the SOR model which analyses the emotional states of customer when they are impacted by sensorial elements or stimulus.

Atmosphere: Specific ambient created in a store by means of the utilization of sensorial elements such as colors, light or music.

PAD: Taxonomy to measure emotions composed by three dimensions: pleasure-displeasure, arousal-nonarousal and dominance-submissiveness.

Stimuli: Component of the SOR model which explores the external elements manipulated by managers to generate a response in the consumer. These external elements are perceived through the human senses.

Response: Component of the SOR model which measures the reaction a consumer has after being impacted by stimulus.

SOR Model: Theoretical model which explains the relation among the stimulus (S) the customer receive, what emotions they feel in their organism (O), and their responses or attitudes (R).

Sensorial Variables: Elements or factors perceived through the five human senses which are manipulated to cause a reaction in the consumer.

Sensorial Marketing: Marketing discipline which studies the responses of customers when they are impacted by the manipulation of variables that can be perceived by the five human senses.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: