PURPOSE : Retail stores are required to provide a stimulating in-store experience for customers and do this by developing various strategies. One strategy implemented by retailers is the use of sensory cues to encourage consumers to engage with the environment and the products on display and available for purchase. Conducted in a lighting department, the purpose of this paper is to consider how retailers can employ a multisensory cue, which is formed by combining three single cues to positively impact consumer behaviours – specifically time spent, touching and purchase.
DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH : The study comprised an experimental design, which implemented single congruent visual, auditory and olfactory cues that formed a multisensory cue. Consumer behaviour outcomes of these cues were measured using objective measures.
FINDINGS : The results show that a multisensory cue impacts time spent and purchasing, but no evidence of it affecting touching was noted. In the case of the single cues, auditory and scent cues impacted time spent, but their effect was not to the extent of the multisensory cue, which was superior.
RESEARCH LIMITATIONS/IMPLICATIONS : The study focussed on one product category within a general furnishing store, thus limiting the extent to which the findings can be generalised.
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS : The effect of a multisensory cue exceeded that of single cues, emphasising the need for retailers to consider and develop a multisensory retail environment.
ORIGINALITY/VALUE : While research into the effect of single cues on consumer behaviours has shown positive effects, research into a multisensory cue, especially in a real-retail setting, is relatively scarce.