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Journal cover: International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Online from: 1973

Subject Area: Industry and Public Sector Management

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Sensory cues and shoppers' touching behaviour: the case of IKEA


Document Information:
Title:Sensory cues and shoppers' touching behaviour: the case of IKEA
Author(s):Bertil Hultén, (Linneaus School of Business and Economics, Linneaus University, Kalmar, Sweden)
Citation:Bertil Hultén, (2012) "Sensory cues and shoppers' touching behaviour: the case of IKEA", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 40 Iss: 4, pp.273 - 289
Keywords:Field experiment, Point-of-purchase, Quasi-experimental design, Sense of touch, Sensory perception, Shoppers' touching behaviour, Shopping, Sweden, Visual and olfactory sensory cues
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/09590551211211774 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:Thanks to Linda Arvids and Gentiana Qavolli, Linneaus School of Business and Economics, Linneaus University, for their assistance with the development of the research design and participation in the data collection process of the empirical study.
Abstract:

Purpose – The presented research aims to depict shoppers' touching behaviour in relation to the introduction of visual and olfactory sensory cues at point-of-purchase in a retail setting. In the field of retailing research, there is a paucity of knowledge on how visual and olfactory sensory cues impact on consumers' touch behaviour.

Design/methodology/approach – The author presents a review of theoretically relevant work from retailing and consumer psychology, and an original study examining the impact of visual and olfactory sensory cues on consumer touch behaviour. The study was a field experiment in the glass department of the Swedish retailer IKEA. The design was quasi-experimental with a convenience sample of shoppers assigned to a control group (n=451) and an experimental group (n=435).

Findings – In the reported study, the author finds significant differences between shoppers' touching behaviour in a manipulated point-of-purchase compared to a conventional one. The findings show that visual and olfactory sensory cues have a positive impact on shoppers' touching behaviour, purchase intentions and total sale.

Research limitations/implications – The findings demonstrate that sensory cues exert a positive impact on consumers' desire to touch. Sensory cues frame consumers' affective responses and decision making through involving the sense of touch.

Practical implications – The findings provide guidelines for managers of retail and service outlets, concerning the benefits of sensory cues in enhancing shoppers' touching behaviour at point-of-purchase.

Originality/value – The research demonstrates that the introduction of visual and olfactory sensory cues impact consumers' touch behaviour at point-of-purchase in a retail setting.



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