One of the amazing researches presented this year at EMAC was authored by Bertil Hulten (University of Linneaus, Sweden). This research, entitled « The Influence of Smell and Vision upon Touch » was carried out at IKEA in Sweden and aimed at studying the behaviour of consumers (especially their purchase patterns) when their senses were triggered.
Bertil started explaining the difficulties he faced when trying to convince IKEA to accept the idea of this experiment. The Swedish retailer was indeed opposed to any kind of scenery around its products. According to the IKEA philosophy the products must be functional an this is the only characteristic and this is the only feature that deserved to be brought forward. Bertil had to fight to impose the changes required by his experiment: vanilla-smell candles, taking glasses out of their boxes and exhibiting them on a mate and the worst of all, shutting off some lights to create a cosy atmosphere.
The experiment was carried out in the “glasses” department and the main research hypothesis was that consumers who touch the glasses will exhibit a higher probability t purchase those very glasses.
The experiment was carried out on a 2-week period of time and an increase of 30% to 60% in sales was achieved. Several research hypotheses were confirmed:
– the longer the clients stay in the store the higher the probability that they purchase
– the longer the consumers stay in the store the higher the probability that they touch the glasses
– those customers who touch the longer the glasses are those who purchase them the most