How one supermarket saw sales soar when it pumped out the scent of melon?

Supermarket shoppers spend more when there’s a whiff of fresh fruit in the air, according to research. 

A Dutch store pumped the smell of melon down its aisles. A study timed 300 customers in and out of the supermarket and then quizzed them about how they felt as they shopped, what they smelled and whether they’d bought more or less than planned. No scent was used in the first week, then in the second week a faint aroma of artificial melon was diffused into the food hall and checkout areas.

In the final week, the odour was made more intense, by the researchers from the Netherlands and Australia. Melon was selected because it was judged to be universally popular, appropriate for the surroundings and easy to synthesise. The evidence, published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, showed that the stronger the scent was, the longer customers stayed in the shop. 

Last winter Waitrose tested out a spicy scent on customers to make them feel more festive during Christmas shopping trips Store-wide data showed that takings at the tills rose two per cent in the second week and 14 per cent when the scent was strongest.

 The proportion of unplanned purchases by studied shoppers also rose from 33 per cent to 43 per cent. Some UK supermarkets have previously tried wafting the smell of baking bread from the ovens to their front doors. And Waitrose jumped on the idea last winter, testing out a spicy scent on customers to make them feel more festive during Christmas shopping trips.

 A Waitrose spokesman said: ‘This was popular with customers and we will explore further opportunities to use scent in shops in the future. We always aim to engage all the senses of customers shopping with us. 

Contact us on 1300 731 680 or email us at to find out more about introducing scent in your shopping centre.