On the weekend I visited a shopping centre, intent on finding a new pair of jeans. Any woman knows that jeans shopping is up there with bathers shopping – a dreaded, awful experience; full of disappointing size expectations and pledges of future dieting. Therefore, I was already in a less-than-positive mind-set.

As I meandered through the various haunts I knew would produce at least a small glimmer of hope, I found a few pairs I liked and headed for the change room. Here is where an already awful experience went from bad to worse. The store obviously had its heating cranked to the max, because being in that change room was like a sauna. I found myself rushing around just to get out of there, flustered and highly uncomfortable, and with a sudden urge just to give up and go home.

This experience got me thinking. Would I be more likely to purchase something due to the temperature of the environment? Would I react differently when cold or hot, or just right?

Any seasoned retailer would tell you that temperature has a huge impact on consumer purchase habits. I find that going to the local supermarket is always one associated with the chills. I know that there’s food and safety reasons for that, but all it does is make me rush through the cold sections, forgetting what I came there to buy, or just saying ‘I’ll just get that next time’. I would love for the cold section of the supermarket to still be warm (where the customers walk, anyway). I would certainly stay longer, and buy more.

The laws of temperature don’t only relate to retailers. Service based businesses can really benefit by looking into the temperature preferences of their clients. Temperature can also be ‘perceived’ by your clients/customers by the size of the room, and what, if anything, fills it. A big empty space, for example, will always feel ‘colder’.

We frequently talk about extending brands to reach all the senses – smell, touch, taste, sound. In my opinion, branding should also be extended to temperature, and like any other aspect of brand management, kept as consistent as possible depending on the desired effect on the consumer.

Think about it – if that clothing store had turned its heating down, and maybe erred on the side of cool, I might have even bought a jacket as well!