There is no shortage on research to show us that our senses have the power to control our emotions, cognition and overall decision making processes. We have already dedicated one blog to the power music holds and how retailers are using it successfully. That said, it comes as no surprise to look over the power scent plays in the marketplace. Scent marketing is more than “making it smell good” in a brick and mortar; rather, it’s getting your customers engaged, leaving a lasting impression on your brand and causing them to make a longstanding connection whether they are in your store or not. Other senses give us more concrete vocabulary terms to describe what is being taken-in. Sound has tone and pitch, sight has color, taste has salty and sweet and touch has texture, but smell mostly has memory and relational descriptors (meaning you describe a smell by describing another smell). And since most all personal purchases are driven by emotion and rationalized later, it’s important for a store owner to understand and utilize the power of scent.

But not so fast with that discount spray fragrance or box store candle! Research also shows us that getting the right scent is actually more powerful than no scent at all. Further showing that the wrong scent could actually decrease sales and drive traffic out of your store instead of wanting to stay longer. Here we will look at 3 ways the right scent can give your customers a better shopping experience (which drives up sales and customer loyalty):

  1. Remind them of what they want.
    One way scent drives sales is by reminding the customer of something they want. In one study, a gas station with a convenience store attached piped the smell of coffee out to the gas pumps where their customers were more prone to fill-up and leave without additional purchases. After the coffee smell started to take over the outdoor gas pumps, coffee sales jumped 300%. One simple scent reminded the drivers of something they wanted and it drove them go inside and make the purchase. The gas station was able to use a simple, well-known scent to remind the outdoor customers of what they wanted and they came inside to purchase.
  2. Remind them of where they want to be.
    Scent works uniquely to the other senses as it goes directly to the limbic, or the right side of the brain, so it goes directly to the emotional side. The other senses go to the left, are processed and then those processes go to the emotional side. So, when a customer enters a store or lobby and is greeted with the warm smells of Christmas or clean outdoor scents that remind them of vacation, a retailer has instantly created an atmosphere that takes the customer to a place they love being. We tend to linger in places we love to be, and a strong scent-connection to those places will cause us to stay.
  3. Give them a place to return.
    Without an experience tied to the scent, the scent emotionally means nothing; however, once a tie has been made then it could be there for the rest of that person’s life. If a customer felt taken care of, enjoyed the products and were happy with their purchase, the scent of that store will also go with the customer. Now the scent of that store has an emotional connection that isn’t going away anytime soon. When hoping to foster customer loyalty, scent works with and for the retailer and helps to further bond that customer to the store.

With so much in marketing focused on visual and sound, it can be easy to forget the power of smell and it’s ability to shape your brand. We make scent branding a reality to help round out the overall sensory customer experience. No matter your industry or your audience, scent can play a subtle, yet significant role in transforming perceptions and completing an experience for maximum effect.

Are you ready to talk to one of our designers to see what scent marketing could do for your office, retail or healthcare facility?