Impact of atmospherics on sales of a retail store

The retail atmosphere is comprised of different environmental cues, also known as atmospherics that may be intentionally handled and structured to permit for specific behaviours from shoppers and for an improved shopping experience(Turley & Milliman, 2000).

Retail Atmospherics is a term used to describe the manipulation of elements such as colour, light levels, sound, scents and design within your store to influence the buying habits of your customers. The atmospherics of any store can establish positive feelings of excitement, curiosity, and comfort. Atmospheric changes to a stores environment will influence the clients mood or feeling for that retailer. Atmospherics is utilized to create environments and influence behaviors of shoppers. That is known as environmental psychology (Hoffman & Turley, 2002). Studies on environmental psychology claim that shoppers have 1 of 2 responses to a atmosphere: approach or avoidance (Turley & Milliman, 2000). Approach and avoidance behaviors can create four different sets of outcomes: (1) a desire to stay or leave; (2) a desire to explore and interact or a tendency to want to leave rather than explore the store; (3) a prefer to communicate with others or even to ignore them; and (4) feelings of satisfaction or dissatisfaction (Hoffman & Turley, 2002). Retailers need to understand shopper's environmental psychology and recognize how to create a space where shoppers will show approach behaviours throughout their entire shopping experience.

Hoffman and Turley (2002) recognized atmospherics of any facility are comprised of both tangible components (the building, carpeting, fixtures, POS decorations, etc. ) and intangible components (colours, music, temperature, scents, etc. ). The tangible and intangible components of atmospherics are divided into five different categories such as every one of the atmospheric variables: (1) the surface of the store; (2) the inside of the store; (3) the layout and design variables of your store; (4) the point-of-sale (POS) and decoration variables of a store; and (5) the human variables associated with the store (Turley & MIlliman, 2000). Here I mainly focussed on the general interior atmospheric components of a store.

There are five significant interior atmospheric variables employed by various retailers- (1) color scheme,

(2) lighting,

(3) music volume,

(4) temperature,

(5) signage, and

(6) scents.


The basic objective of this paper is to show that the inside of a shop plays a major influence on the shopping behaviors and purchasing decisions of a shopper. The atmospheric variables located inside a store are the flooring/carpeting, color schemes, signage, lighting, music, scents, tobacco smoke, width of aisles, wall composition, paint/wall paper, ceiling composition, merchandise, temperature, cleanliness, and public address system (P. A. ) usage. Interior atmospheric variables are extremely important because many of these variables impact a shopper's approach/avoidance behaviors, their time spent in the shop, and eventually on the products they plan to purchase (Turley & Milliman, 2000).


In methodology here I explained below the many ways or methods where various retailers generally make their interior atmospherics better or unique.

(1) Color scheme

Color schemes found in a retail store can influence a shopper's store and merchandise image, arousal level, time spent in the store, purchasing rates, pleasant feelings, and the capability to attract a shopper toward a retail display (Turley & Milliman, 2000). Different color schemes can also create different emotions from shoppers. A couple of two key color schemes that are known by shoppers across the world; cool and warm color schemes. A 'cool' color scheme includes colors such as blues and greens. This color scheme is labeled as 'cool' because blue is considered to be expressive of tranquility and tenderness. A 'warm' color scheme includes colors such as reds and oranges. This color scheme is labeled as 'warm' because orange/red is known as to be expressive of desire and sexuality. Using the different color schemes in a shop can mean various things to shoppers and can create different thoughts from shoppers. For example, using blue, green and white close together is associated with peaceful, gently, and calming meanings whereas using red, gold, orange, yellow and purple close together is associated with emotional, vibrant, hot, active, and sharp meanings. Studies show that shoppers have higher purchase intentions with 'cool' color schemes, specifically blues, than with 'warm' color schemes, specifically reds. The color schemes of a shop can greatly impact and influence a shopper's shopping behavior and purchasing decisions (Chebat & Morrin, 2007).

(2) Lighting

Lighting is a significant element of retail atmospherics since it impacts the shopper's visual evaluation of everything in the store, like the merchandise, which can finally affect a shopper's shopping behavior. Lighting is mostly used to build an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere for shoppers as well for function so that shoppers can easily see the merchandise and their way surrounding the store. Not only is lighting used to make a retail space more aesthetic and functional but additionally, it may create certain behaviors without the shopper even knowing. The Illuminating Engineering Society of THE UNITED STATES (IES) Handbook states that the primary goals common in the lighting of merchandise are to attract the consumer, to initiate purchases, and also to facilitate the completion of the sale. Lighting is one atmospheric variable that will not directly influence sales but can influence the shopper's perception of store image and their examination and handling of merchandise (Turley & Milliman, 2000). Studies have shown that shopper's handle and examine a lot more items in a brightly lit room than in a candlight room because brightly lit rooms create a higher arousal for shoppers. The right lighting of the retail store will generate arousal and pleasure for shoppers that may also improve the approach behaviors of shoppers (Summers & Hebert, 2001). Now what my very own experiences say? Often we shop in shopping malls, take the exemplory case of clothing. It happened with me that we purchased a shirt and a t-shirt from Big-bazaar and there it looked amazing. Even my friends convinced me for taking them because they too see them to be cool enough. I purchased them even though I didn't need them. Now what happens is that whenever I reached home, I came across them to be different. I became amazed to see them because they just look different in the standard room light. If previously I would have known that, then my decision would be obviously not to purchase them. I thought what maybe fooled me. Actually it's the lightings in the shop which make a larger impact in the minds of the consumer at the idea of decision making of purchasing them. It's this lighting that actually initiates the urge in someone to buy the commodities even though you don't need them actually !These lightings are done by CFL's and other numerous kinds of lights that are not usually found in Normal homes. Though I must say that lots of other factors are accountable for that apart from Lightings. All are discussed here.

(3) Music volume

Music is the most frequent atmospheric variable studied since it does have a significant impact on a variety of shopper behaviors. This includes sales, excitement, perceptions and actual time spent in the store, in-store traffic flow, and the perception of visual stimuli in the retail store. Music is a substantial variable for retailers to give attention to when deciding on the correct atmospheric variables of their store because music can actually influence a shopper's decisions and behaviors when they aren't even aware of the music. There are various aspects to music that can provide an affect on shoppers. Age the shopper; the tempo of the music; the volume of the music; the shopper's music preference and familiarity to the music; the use of background and foreground music can all have a substantial effect on a shopper's behavior and purchasing decisions (Turley & Milliman, 2000). Vocals may be a tool for increasing sales and boosting positive attitudes toward the store. Background music has been known to create soothing or arousal cognitive feelings from shoppers. Studies have shown that higher arousal music directly influences the interest span of shoppers. A rise in arousal can narrow the shopper's focus on a limited volume of objects. Therefore, their capacity to process information is reduced this means they will use simpler decision rules. Studies show that shopper's involvement is low when soothing music is playing which helps the shopper focus on the task; it offers them the capability to focus their attention. Music plays a significant role in shopper's shopping behaviors and really should be an important atmospheric cue for retailers on which to concentrate.


Time is an important factor in retail shopping, partially because studies also show a straightforward correlation between time spent shopping and shopping and amount purchaseds (cf. Milliman 1982). Also, time is argued to be as much a constraint on consumption as money and that predictions that folks would have more time at their discretion in the future than previously have not proven to be true (Berry 1979). For instance, dual career families with children coping with the transportation difficulties in dense metropolitan areas may feel powerful time pressure when shopping. Consequently, it is reasonable to expect individuals to budget their time, including shopping times, and to be concerned when they believe they are spending a lot of time in a store. People simply don't enjoy waiting too much time or wasting time. Hornik (1984), for example, reported that shoppers overestimated their waiting time less when they reported a higher level of shopping enjoyment relative to other activities. Thus, retailers would be prudent to to minimize perceived as well as actual time spent searching for their patrons.

Field research by Yalch and Spangenberg (1988) suggested that music impacts shopping times. Within their study, clothing store shoppers were exposed either to a youth-oriented foreground music or adult-oriented background music. Interviews with shoppers as they were exiting the store revealed that younger shoppers felt they had shopped longer when subjected to background music, whereas older shoppers felt they had shopped longer when exposed to foreground music. Unfortunately, actual shopping times weren't observed so it could not be determined if individuals shopped longer, merely thought that they did, or a combo of both factors.

(4) Temperature

Temperature of any store is another atmospheric variable that can influence a shopper's shopping behavior. Temperature, however, is an atmospheric variable that goes unnoticed by shoppers unless it is defined at unpleasant levels for the shopper. For example, temperatures set at unpleasantly high or low levels may be noticed by shoppers and can cause them discomfort while shopping, while comfortable temperatures will never be noticed by shoppers (Wakefield & Baker, 1998).


Signage refers to the collection of signs, posters and labels that the retailer uses outside and inside the store to steer customers in their use of the store. These elements together fulfill a variety of functions:


The retailer uses signage to market the store;strengthen retailer's image;protect its market and promote the merchandise on offer. It will also communicate the retailer 's policy on various matters, such as the kind of product, quality, price and customer services. This can also serve to aid the retailer's planned high-brand/own-brand mix.


The retailer can vary in-storage signage to find and identify the goods available. Large stores need to show directional signage in order to guide customers round the store and in one location to another. Directional signs should be large enough to be observed clearly by the clients when entering a store. They have to customers where you can go for any category of service or product. Even larger stores, particularly those on more than one level, also need to have a store guide. This should be clearly noticeable from the entry and the road to the guide plainly marked out so that even the first-time customer can plainly see where to go. The store guide is often repeated on different floors for custom convenience. The colours found in directional signage should be readable and not clash with the store environment. The signs can also be visual, using symbols as well words, particularly where the symbol is trusted. Large 3d signs are often visible and can be used to promote the image of the store as well. Hanging signs from the ceiling is often used to enhance the visibility of the signs.

(c)Category Signage

It is employed within the particular department or sector of the store. They are usually smaller than directional signs. Their purpose is to recognize type of products on offer and they're usually located near to the goods they make reference to. However they can often be promotional of 1 or more categories of product. .

(d)Promotional Signage

It may refer specifically to special offers. These may be displayed in windows ton entice the client into the store. For example, value fashion stores for younger woman may display large posters in their windows of models wearing the items on special offer. This draws focus on the merchandise and will not get in the way of the client peeking through windows. With the right colour products, the posters can truly add the attraction of the store.

(e)Point of sale

These signs are positioned near to the items they make reference to. This is so the customer can see the purchase price and other detailed information. Some of these details may already be on product labels or pack-aging. However, point-of-sale signage can easily identify for the customer those aspects likely to be greater interest, such as if the product is on special offer.

(f) Lifestyle Images

The retailer may use various images, such as pictures of people and places to make moods that encourage that encourage customers to choose the products. These are area of the visual merchandising that the store uses.

To visualize the utilization of various signage we ought to we should start with the client entering the store and progress to the inspection of individual items. The marque or logo on the outside of the store is the first sign customers will dsicover. This must be clear, distinstive and convey the image of the store in a way appealing to its customers. Dark reserved greens with traditional lettering(in old book style) convey a no-nonsence method of basic good quality products that is reassuring to young and old alike. It has been used to good effect bu Marks & Spencer, using its dark green lettering on a creamy background. However, this may go too much and could persuade a few of its younger customers that the store I not for them. This style can be contrasted your of the supermarket chain Asda, which runs on the bolder, lighter green logo in modern letters to welcome customers.

A wide selection of stores use red in name signs as it is eye-catching, stimulating and reinforces the message of good value that the bold lettering uses. Different types of store to utilize this approach are supermarments(Tesco), food discounters (Lidl). electrical retailers(Dixons, Currys, Comet), variety stores(Woolworth) and similar stores. Some super-markets, such as Morrison's and the discounters such as Netto use black on yellow. These colours can be contrasted with the orange colour utilized by upper-end supermarket Sainsbury. Its colour and rather anonymous logo indicated the type of clientele this supermarket was targeting and placed the emphasis more on quality rather than on value. As Sainsbury was forced in the mid-1990s to observe the value movement in super-markets it also needed to rethink its logo and use of colour.

Signage is one of the most important ways utilized by retailers to convey their message to the clients. The retailer's store name, promotions, pricing, and product information may all be conveyed through signage.

As a customer walks by any store, they have few seconds to know very well what they'll find inside. Professional signage will attract the customer, provide the ideal amount of information and invite the customer to enter the store or try the product.

Unprofessional signage is confusing to the client and sends a poor message about any store and product. Common problems include too many signs, ambiguous or misleading messages, spelling errors or signs that are difficult to read.

(6) Scents

The scents in a shop can also strongly affect a shopper's shopping behavior. Studies show the largest impact of scent originates from the occurrence or absence of a scent in a retail store whereas the type of the scent does not have a significant effect on shoppers' behaviors. Scents in a retail store, whether they are good or bad, make a difference and influence sales; processing time; variety seeking behavior; and the shopper's perceived time spent in the store (Turley & Milliman, 2000). As being a scent becomes more intense, shopper's reactions and behaviors tend to become more negative. Scents are an exceptionally important atmospheric variable for retailers to concentrate on because they can create positive and negative shopping behaviors from shoppers (Turley & Milliman, 2000).

Cleanliness and store organization are also critical indicators for successful retail operations. Cleanliness of any store is the most controllable atmospheric component in a shop. Cleanliness is important because most shoppers associate the grade of a retailer and its own products with the cleanliness of the store and it has a strong influence on shoppers' opinions of shops and services (Wakefield & Blodgett, 1996).


So what we conclude is the fact Retail Atmospherics is very much important and it really impact on the sales of any retail store. From the above writings, we become familiar with that factors like signage, lighting, colours, music, temperature and even scent play a very crucial role and can be used to control the customer. For instance, they can:

1. enhance the customer's perception of the store

2. structure the customer's decision making and purchasing behaviour

3. focus on certain areas of goods or services offered

4. steer the customer from one area of the store to the next.

Now below there are 10 important points which every retailer must check out to be able to retain their valuable customers and not to reduce them:-

1. Dirty Bathrooms

This customer pet peeve clearly deserves the main spot on this list. Retail store restrooms should always be sparkling clean, if they are open for public use or not. Make sure to stock the bathrooms with plenty of paper products, soap, trash receptacles and clean it daily.

2. Messy Dressing Rooms

Keeping the dressing room area free of discarded hangers, tags and empty packaging goes beyond creating a neat store appearance, additionally it is a good step towards loss prevention. Have a glance for out of place items after every customer uses the dressing room.

3. Loud Music

Playing music in a retail store can help generate a certain atmosphere for our shoppers. Music that is too loud, inappropriate or of poor quality can run a positive shopping experience.

4. Handwritten Signs

In this era of technology, there is no excuse for displaying handwritten signage. It is too easy to print an indicator from our computers or use pre-printed signs. Printed signs simply look more professional and signs with hard-to-read handwriting can be considered a customer turn-off.

5. Stained Floor or Ceiling Tiles

It is true, accidents happen. However, our customers need not see them. Dirty carpet, stained flooring and ugly ceiling tiles can turn off many shoppers. Sweeping, vacuuming and mopping should be done frequently. Consider hiring a specialist cleaning crew to polish tile floors. Replace stained portions of carpet and ceiling tiles where possible.

6. Burned-out or Poor Lighting

Replace any burned out lights as soon as possible. Make certain all customer areas of the store have ample lighting and take into consideration shoppers with aging or very poor eyesight. Your store should be well illuminated for those customers.

7. Offensive Odours

Customers understand if they go to a lawn and garden centre they will have to cope with the smell of fertilizer. The identical goes for shoppers of an feed supply store. Certain odours are understandable and may even appeal to the customer's sense of smell. However, shoppers don't want to smell an employee's lunch drifting over the store. Use neutralizers to combat any offensive odours.

8. Crowded Aisles

Consumers just like a selection however, not if this means sacrificing comfort while shopping. Be sure your store was created to allow sufficient space between aisles and keep walkways free from merchandise. Cramped spaces can ruin a shopping experience and turn off a customer.

9. Disorganized Checkout Counters

A stack of hangers, returned merchandise and sloppy work areas behind the checkout is a huge customer turn-off. This specific area where a customer's financial transaction is taking place shouldn't show any signs of disorganization. Like messy dressing rooms, a disorganized checkout counter can result in theft. Keep those register areas neat and tidy.

10. Lack of Shopping Carts/Baskets

Your type of retail shop might not require a shopping cart software or your store may be too small, but there's not really a single kind of retailer that wouldn't need at least some sort of shopping basket. If you hope for your customer to get more than one item in your store, be sure with an adequate supply of shopping carts or baskets on hand.

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