HOUSTON (KTRK) -- When you go shopping these days, it is all about the atmosphere. Retailers are using your senses to get you to open up your wallet.
"You're just, 'oh, that's kind of nice', that smell, or music, whatever it is. It would keep me in the store longer than if I was just running in somewhere that didn't have that," said shopper Megan Ray.
This is no coincidence. Retailers are tapping into your senses, and they aren't afraid to admit it. Many stores even have their own signature scents that they hope you'll remember.
"What we're trying to do is create an amazing experience that's unforgettable," store designer Josue Diaz said.
University of Houston Bauer College of Business professor Dr. Vanessa Patrick says retailers are setting the mood to get you to spend money.
"Putting an appropriate scent into a space can actually create a much more powerful experience for a customer. It can generate more sales from a transactional standpoint, and because of this memory trace that we have, this emotional
connectional we have to scent, it can create a more loyal customer long-term."
But the technique doesn't always come off smelling like roses.
"Some brands are in your face, loud music, stark lighting, you know, sensory overload," said Roger Bensinger with Prolitec, an air treatment and indoor air quality technologies company.
Yet, research shows that the senses strategy works with most consumers to keep them shopping longer and buying more.
"Most customers may not be conscious of what's going on when they walk in, but for the customer, it should be a seamless experience," Patrick said.
Marketing gurus call the tactic atmospheric pressure, and it is not just limited to retail stores. Grocery stores, health clubs, and airlines are also using the tactic to get you to spend
"Once you touch it and hold it you think oh, I've got to own this. So as long as we're human, atmospherics will always work," Patrick said.
Researchers point out that we use these techniques when we fix our hair, put on perfume or makeup, and pick out clothes to wear. When doing so, we are essentially selling ourselves and our own personal brand too.