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In this video, MARKO SARSTEDT analyzes the long-term effects of ambient scents in sensory rich environments. Having identified an ideal industry partner in the German railway corporation, die Deutsche Bahn, the research team deployed a specially created scent in train compartments over a 4 month period. Regular commuters were surveyed about their perceptions of service though 9 study waves. As expected, assessments of the service improved with the introduction of the scent but researchers were surprised to find that there was no drop off in perceived service quality over the duration of the study, even when the scent was no longer in use. As Sarstedt explains, though further research is needed to assess their impact over even longer periods, ambient scents can provide a highly effective and economical way for companies to improve their customers’ experiences.


Marko Sarstedt is Chaired Professor of Marketing at Ludwig-Maximilians-University München and won the 2018 Research Award. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj. Sarstedt has previously worked at the University of Newcastle (Australia) and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. His research focuses on consumer behavior and on the improvement of marketing decision making. The winner of five Emerald Citations of Excellence and two AMS William R. Darden awards, in 2020, Sarstedt was judged the second most influential business researcher in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (F.A.Z.-Ökonomenranking).


Original publication

Short-and Long-Term Effects of Nonconsciously Processed Ambient Scents in a Servicescape: Findings from Two Field Experiments

Lichters Marcel, Sarstedt Marko, Girard Anna and Biswas Dipayan
Journal of Service Research
Published in 2019