The Chocolate Bookstore That Changed Consumer Behavior 

Are you a chocolate-lover who loves to read books? If you answered yes then settle down because we at Daastan have some chocolaty information to share with you. Keep on reading to learn more about the Chocolate Bookstore.

Welcome to the Chocolate Bookstore

The Power of the Scent

Before we get to the exciting part, where we talk about chocolate and books, we must recap a few things…

We know by experience that many of us are sensitive to the smells that linger around us. Being stuck in a tiny room filled with rotting fish might truly feel like a nightmare. However, that nightmare can be turned into a sweet dream if you instantly teleport yourself to a candy shop and instead become surrounded by the odor of sugar. In fact, psychological studies have taught us that scents can significantly influence our reactions, perception, and the way we behave. Additionally, research has revealed that consumers’ behavior in stores change as a result of the ambient scent that is solicited. Marketing managers have thereby attempted to influence purchase-related behaviors in shops by applying attractive odors that prevents costumers from wanting to leave the store early.

Alright, now that you have familiarized yourself with the power of scents it is certainly time to walk closer to the Chocolate Bookstore.

Chocoholics to the Front

Researchers have found that smelling chocolate can evoke feelings of arousal and pleasure among consumers. Simply sensing luscious chocolate aroma can call forth positive moods and change the activities of humans’ central nervous systems. Chocolate scents can distract shoppers from achieving their initial shopping-goal by having them explore a store more thoroughly than they had first planned to. Another artifact the aroma of chocolate can contribute with is to affect the way in which people treat a cookbook when they encounter it.

We think you get it now, chocolate is capable of doing a ton of things.

Pretesting Scent-Intensity and Associations

The collection of facts presented above piqued the interest of Belgian researchers to find out more about “the effect of chocolate scent on purchase-related behavior in a bookstore“. To test this idea, they first conducted a set of pretests to attain the perfect intensity of chocolate scent that would eventually be used in their real experiment. It was decided for the strength of the odor to be regulated at lower levels to prevent turn-off scenarios. This enabled costumers to sniff hints of chocolate as they walked around the bookstore without potentially being overwhelmed by it.

Then, another pretest was carried out before the actual experiment began. The aim of this last pretest was to see what type of book genre people associate the scent of chocolate with. Romance and cookbooks came out as top 2 genres, with most associations to chocolate being reported. Contrarily, history and crime emerged as genres that were least connected to the aroma of chocolate. The reason why this pretest was carried out was because previous research had indicated that for items that smell neutrally (e.g., nature paintings) it would be more effective to put in a smell that would be congruent with the object under observation (e.g., lemongrass and wild mint).

Now let’s finally enter the Chocolate Bookstore. 

The Bookstore That Smelled Like Chocolate

After the pretests were completed, it was time for the research team to carry out their 10-day experiment. They placed scent dispensers in a bookstore in Belgium. For 5 days the bookshop smelled like chocolate, following a period of 5 absent-scented days. Weather condition, shopper traffic, and in-store music was the same during this 10-day period. An observer in the store traced consumer behavior during the whole study. Let’s have a look at what was found.

Using Chocolate to Increase Book Sales

Customers were reported as 2.22 times more likely to inspect books when the store smelled like chocolate. In addition, they were 3.48 times more likely to look at congruent books (cookbooks and romance novels) and 5.93 times more likely to purchase those book when the chocolate odor was applied compared to when no scent was dispersed. This led to sales (of congruent books) increasing by 40.07% during the period when chocolate aroma was dispersed. Contrastively, sales of incongruent books (history and crime books) increased by 22.19%. This means that it is possible for the sale of specific genres to be boosted when related scents are discharged. In fact, it seems like the bookstore’s overall sale improved significantly and costumers were more eager to shop longer.

Although promising, a lot more research is needed to confirm the effect of scents on consumer behavior. For instance, it would be interesting to see if non-food related scents would have similar impacts on book sales. But for now, we will continue living our chocolate fantasy.

You can read more of our blogs here. 


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