Stop and Smell the Roses….

We all know how powerful the sense of smell is. You just have to open an old school book, and there you are, 8 years old, sitting in class again. In the never-ending hunt for new ways to offer an immersive in-store experience, retailers are turning to aroma marketing, which is both highly-effective and relatively inexpensive.

Retailers who are turning to “brand-scents” want to create powerful positive associations with their brand, and their are no shortage of options for suppliers, who say that the correct use of scent will elevate mood by as much as 40%. According to the work of Nobel laureate Richard Axel and Linda B. Buck, the sense of smell remains the most sensitive of the five senses. It directly affects the decisions.

Scent marketing

Retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch and Starbucks have created their own aroma which is found in shops and fast that consumers associate with the brand.  Its not just about the feel-good factor either.

Improve Sales

Several studies in recent years underline how a scent can significantly improve sales. A team of US researchers has demonstrated in 2006 the importance of scents by genre. A women’s clothing store with a vanilla smell recorded double sales compared to the same shop odorless. The same result was found in a commercial menswear with a rose fragrance. In another study, sales of a book increased by 40% with a chocolate scent.

Increase Dwell Time

Customers having a great experience will stay. They might be welcomed by the inviting aroma of freshly baked cookies, or attracted by fresh, clean scent of peppermint. Or soothed by a hint of lavendar. No matter what the audience, there is a scent to appeal.

Improve the perceived value of products and experience

This is an important aspect for luxury retailers to consider. With competition eroding the perceived value of high-spec goods, aroma is something that can set a brand apart.

What aroma choose?

With the human brain able to store over 10, 000 aromas there are a lot of options.The challenge for retailers is to define what will be the perfect aroma. Many researchers working on these issues are in particular trying to determine whether the perception of smells is universal or cultural. According to an Israeli study of 2011, five universally loved scents are lemon, grapefruit, bergamot, orange and mint. Retailers need to play with these scents while remaining unique.

As an innovative and inexpensive approach to customer engagement, scent marketing can pack a real punch. Research has shown that scent is our most powerful connector. It is the only sense which is directly connected to our limbic system – the portion of our brains which processes and stores emotional connections and memories – which means it can be leveraged to influence customer behaviour.  Scent marketing can help define your brand, drive purchasing behaviour and create long-lasting, positive customer relationships.


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