Scents and Sales

I recently read that researchers in Belgium have discovered that the enticing aroma of chocolate inspired bookstore shoppers to stick around longer. These researchers found that shoppers were more likely to engage in leisurely browsing and ultimately purchased more books when the store was infused with the scent of chocolate.


Scientists have long known that smell is deeply connected to our emotional state and influences our behavior in surprising ways. Scents can have positive effects on mood, stress reduction, sleep enhancement, self-confidence, and physical and cognitive performance. This particular study shows that scents can even effect our shopping behavior.

The Belgium chocolate aroma study prompted the researchers to advise retailers that they can make use of pleasant ambient scents to improve a store’s environment, leading consumers to explore the store, and ultimately buy more books.

While you may not be a retailer, if you do in-person events—author book signings, author speaking engagements, trade show booths—then this study holds meaning for you. You, too, can make use of pleasant scents in and around your booth or book selling or signing tables to encourage customers to linger, bringing you more book sales.

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