Could The Delightful Scent Of Chocolate Wafting Through The Air Save Bookstores?

Bring on the chocolate wallpaper, chocolate fans and delicious chocolate fountains: A new study says shoppers are in a more personable, interested mood when the scent of chocolate is in the air at a bookstore. Researchers say there’s something about the smell of chocolate that entices them to look at the merchandise more and perhaps read what it’s about, and also talk to the employees in the store after a nice, leisurely browsing session.

The study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology (via Time) doesn’t say whether bookstores should pull the full Willy Wonka treatment and install chocolate rivers (do it, please!), but it does present an interesting idea.

Researchers in Belgium held the experiment over 10 days at a general-interest chain bookstore and looked at how customers behaved when the scent of chocolate was dispensed through the air, and compared it to a regular bookstore that just smells of books.

They observed “purchase-related” customer behaviors like taking the time to peruse several books at length, hanging out in the store and talking to staff about books or asking questions.  Customers were twice as likely to look at multiple books when chocolate was around, and three times as likely to talk to personnel with the delicious aroma tickling their olfactory receptors.

But alas, chocolate works best when paired with certain subject matter, it seems: It worked wonders int he food, drink and romance genres but not so much with history, mystery and crime books. In the first category, researchers saw a 40% increase with chocolate and only a 22% uptick with the second set of genres.

Get to work, brick-and-mortar stores. Start pumping those chocolatey smells through yours stores and maybe you won’t end up like Borders.

What I want to know if this chocolate smell thing is only going to be a tease, or if I’m going to get offered a plate of chocolate if I buy a book. Because otherwise I will cheated, cheated I tell you!

The Smell of Chocolate Could Help Boost Bookstore Sales [Time]