Sensory Marketing and Shopping Behavior: Understanding the Types, Processes, and Implications

  • Elisa Schweiger

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Sensory impressions are omnipresent in our everyday lives, and they continuously exert influence on human psychology and behavior. Recently, marketeers and retailers have consciously started to create sensory rich shopping environments. More work is necessary to understand the impact of multisensory environments on consumers. This thesis investigates the impact of sensory factors on consumer behavior focusing on (1) substantive issues benefiting from sensory marketing, (2) advancing conceptual perspectives on sensory marketing, and (3) empirically assessing the effects of multisensory in-store advertisements. Three papers prioritize each of these points to advance the current knowledge on sensory marketing:

Paper 1. The first paper enhances our understanding of the substantive domains by conducting a thorough literature review highlighting sensory marketing effects with practical implications for retailers and marketing scholars.

Paper 2. The second paper of this thesis contributes to current theories within consumer research and psychology by developing a new theoretical framework that combines sensory elements with retail atmospherics.

Paper 3. The third paper empirically assesses the effects of multisensory retail environments via five field studies. Paper 3 draws on transportations theory and optimum stimulation theory to investigate the impact of visual, auditory, and olfactory elements on shopping behavior. The chapter reports the results and insights derived from shopping observations, sales data, and survey studies. The findings show that dynamic advertising content is most effective in increasing shopping behavior, while other sensory elements can enhance the attention customers direct to in-store displays.
Date of Award19 Feb 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorNancy Puccinelli (Supervisor), Haiming Hang (Supervisor), Jens Nordfalt (Supervisor), Dhruv Grewal (Supervisor) & Anne L. Roggeveen (Supervisor)

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