Aromas, Decisions, Sales, Oh My!

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Should you bake a pie or a batch of chocolate chip cookies before potential buyers visit your home? Realtors® typically advise homeowners to create a pleasant aroma for open houses or showings. But how do we determine the appropriate aroma? A recent study has provided us with the answer. Eric Spangenberg, Dean of the College of Business at Washington State University, researched the effects of aromas on decision making. The results indicate that complex smells actually hinder the cognitive decision making process, thus hindering the sale of your home. Professor Spangenberg and his co-authors studied 402 people in a home-décor store in Switzerland over 18 days. The study indicated that shoppers spent 31.8% more, on average, when the store was scented with a simple orange scent over a complex blend of orange, basil and green tea. The survey further illustrated that if a scent was confusing or unknown, the shoppers spent a considerable amount of time trying to identify the scent rather than focus on the product. In addition, this research is consistent with the theory that the property scent should be harmonious with the home. For example, a mountain resort home should be highlighted with fresh cedar. A beach house may be accented with a fresh coconut scent. A more traditional style may be complimented with a fresh scent of vanilla. Professionally, I agree with this research. My recommendation is to never use artificial or confusing scents and always stick with a fresh, simple aroma that compliments the individual property. To learn more about the actual research, pick up a copy of the March edition of Journal of Retailing. But on a side note, baseball and apple pie are always excellent choices!