Retailers hoping to attract customers with the luring smells of the season should stay away from complex combinations of scents and stick with simple basics. According to, the simpler the smells, the more people buy.

"A simple scent does not distract from the task at hand," Washington State University researcher Eric Spangenberg said. "It enhances our ability to complete the task at hand."

Spangenberg, a professor and dean of the College of Business at WSU, recently conducted an experiment with researchers in Switzerland in which they diffused scents around shoppers in a Swiss home decorations store and tracked sales. Over 18 days, they created three scent patterns: a simple orange scent; a scent of orange, basil and green tea; and no scent, the article reported.

Shoppers spent 20 percent more on days when they smelled the simple orange, researchers said. It suggests that the simple scents contribute to “processing fluency” and did not interfere much with the shoppers’ focus on choosing and purchasing, according to the article.

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