Features like light, sound, but also smell can mainly influence our behaviour. Sellers are very aware of this fact and use it to increase consumption when shopping (Shopify, 2016).

Music is incorporated since a while already. While fast music can make people hurry up in fast food restaurants to get the next table free for the next guests, slow music can make people stay longer and spend more money (Adage, 2016).

Abercrombie & Fitch stores make use of loud club music which simply effects to sort out the “older” clientelle that cannot stand higher volume as good as a younger audience. This results in fresh and young image. Furthermore, this leads to a sensory overload which weakens our ability to make decisions which, in turn, leads to a tendency to buy clothes we do not need.



Fig. 1

Apart from that, Abercrombie & Fitch is also seen as the first store that incorporated and branded their own smell aobut 15 years ago. In the beginning, their own perfume fragrance was sprayed in certain intervalls by the staff. Now it is a stable and crucial element of companie’s Corporate Identity. By now, shops, hotels and almost every “bigger” seller uses this feature.

According to Minda Smiley (Adage, 2016) studies showed that vanilla flavor in the women department of a store increased the purchase there to twice as much as without the smell.

Besides interior, music, light, etc. smell is mainly important. According to scent supplier ambius (Ambius, 2016) the time for customers to decide if staying in a shop or returning to that shop in future times needs less than 20 seconds.

Even if every human senses smell slightly different, pleasant flavours might be crucial to make us stay and return.




Nobel price winners Richard Axel and Linda Buck found out, that contrary to other senses, smell links to memories and emotions much more effectively, as it is connected to the same area of the brain. Those flash-back moments are intense and strong and can be used powerfully. We are able to distinguish about 10.000 different flavours through our nasal senses (Adage, 2016)

The more senses are incorporated, the stronger the experience for persons is. Smell is mainly linked to food.

As food operates inter-sensually it might be an even more powerful medium. Society for Neuroscience coordinator Michael Richardson from (2016) outlines that food is linked to not only taste but also smell. Without our nasal senses taste distinction would be limited to salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami. Smell, in turn, is not only mainly related to taste but also to our memory. Those two areas in our brain are similarly structured. Research studies attested that this relation is so close, that injuries in the memory section of our brain (limbic system) can affect our smelling and therefore also our tasting perception.


Brain Structure

Fig. 2


Like I already mentioned in my MPP, taste can only distinguish between, sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. Only via smell we can distinguish between all those different tastes we have.

The smell particles wander through our nose. From there electric messages are sent to the olfactory bulb, a part of the human brain. Almost 500 tiny elements make it possible for us to distinguish between those odour molecules.

Those can be combined in different ways which make a huge variety of different smells and tastes we are able to differenciate. This enables us to exactly distinguish between a soup either packed from Sainsbury‘s or our prepared from out mother (, 2016).




Adage (2016) Dollars & Scents: From Clothes to Cars to Banks, Brands Seek Distinction Through Fragrance. Available at: (Accessed: 11 April 2016)

Ambius (2016) Scent Marketing. Available at: (Accessed: 11 April 2016) (2016) Savor the Moment: The Peculiar Connection Between Taste and Memory. Available at: (Accessed: 18 March 2016).

Shopify (2016) How Retailers Manipulate Sight, Smell, and Sound to Trigger Purchase Behavior in Consumers. Available at: (Accessed: 11 April 2016)

Wikipedia (2016) Olfactory Bulb. Available at: (Accessed: 12 April 2016).

Wikipedia (2016) Limbisches System. Available at: (Accessed: 12 April 2016).

Fig. 1: bizjournals (2016) Abercrombie & Fitch predicts more than 100 stores in China. Available at: (Accessed: 14 April 2016)

Fig. 2: Steffen, J. & Schmidt, M. (2016) Profile. Available at: (Accessed: 12 April 2016).

Fig. 2: Her Campus At. (2016) Noses and Neuroscience: The Olfactory System. Available at: (Accessed: 12 April 2016).