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The Smells That Make Shoppers Spend More

Did you know the way your business smells could entice shoppers to spend more money? Here's everything you need to know about scent marketing. Smell has a strong link to...

Did you know the way your business smells could entice shoppers to spend more money? Here's everything you need to know about scent marketing.

  • Smell has a strong link to emotion and, therefore, spending.
  • Scent marketing and scent branding are complex strategies involving science and art, intended to enhance customer loyalty and spending.
  • Using ambient scent can make your business smell good and has other applications, such as decreasing stress and anxiety.
  • This article is for entrepreneurs who want to better market to customers and incentivize them to spend more money through novel marketing tactics.

You might want to focus more on the smells at the stores you visit while shopping. Those smells may even lead to increased spending. Research has shown that specific odours can also influence how much individuals spend, even though lighting and music might have a significant impact.

scent marketing

What is scent marketing?

The strategic application of fragrance at particular consumer touch points is known as scent marketing. With the proper aroma, you can instantly establish an emotional connection with the customer and enhance their shopping experience.

Both aggressive and subdued describe it. Because the chosen aroma may be spread through open doors and windows, it allows businesses to reach consumers outside of the walls of their store, which makes it aggressive. Because most customers are unaware that the perfume they are smelling is deliberate rather than accidental, it is mild.

The power of scent

According to ThoughtCo, since smells have the power to change people's emotions, they may have an impact on consumer behaviour. Lavender, basil, cinnamon, and citrus scents are calming; peppermint, thyme, and rosemary scents are energising. While rose encourages optimism and happiness, ginger, cardamom, and chocolate frequently evoke amorous impulses.

Simple fragrances, as opposed to complicated scent combinations, are strong inducers of expenditure, according to Washington State University researchers. That's because straightforward aromas, like citrus and pine, don't require the buyer to digest them mentally as much, freeing up their minds to conjure up memories connected to these energising odours.

One of the study's authors and the dean of the Washington State University College of Business at the time of the study, Eric Spangenberg, remarked, "What we proved was that the simple scent was more effective."

Two smells were created by the researchers for the study: a straightforward orange aroma and a more complicated orange-basil-green-tea scent. Over 400 shoppers were observed by the researchers for 18 days at a home décor store while the air was either filled with a basic aroma, a complex scent, or no scent at all.

The study revealed that the 100 consumers who shopped in the presence of the simple scent spent an average of 20% more.

In a series of experiments, researchers had students solve problems under various conditions. They found that the students solved more problems, in less time, when a simple scent was in the air, compared with when a complex scent or no scent was used.

Spangenberg said the research underscores the need to understand how scents affect customers.

“Most people are processing it at an unconscious level, but it is impacting them,” he said. “The important thing from the retailer’s perspective and the marketer’s perspective is that a pleasant scent isn’t necessarily an effective scent.”

Published in the Journal of Retailing, the study was co-authored by Andreas Herrmann, of the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland; David Sprott, of Washington State University; and Manja Zidansek, also of Washington State University.

The psychology of popcorn

Consider scent marketing in the same way you would a movie theatre. When they enter, the fragrance of popcorn is the first thing they experience. This is not by chance. Contrary to popular belief, a theatre makes the bulk of its revenue from the sale of concessions.

Popcorn is popping when customers enter theatres that serve full meals in stadium-style dining areas because it sets the stage for the experience that is about to take place. Scent association not only brings back memories of all previous theatrical visits, but also of the goodies that were consumed and that they may indulge in again.

How do businesses use scent marketing?

Scent marketing has emerged as a means for brick-and-mortar companies to improve the shopping experience and increase sales while internet merchants continue to dominate the market.

In order to improve customer experience, scent marketing is used to elicit a particular emotion in potential customers. It subtly encourages them to not only incorporate a scent into their brand identity but also to spend more time in their stores or places of business, all the while building positive memories with those scents that will keep them returning to the product or service (brand loyalty).

The research noted that our sense of scent is linked directly to our limbic system, which controls memory and emotion, and that ambient scent offers the following benefits:

  • Ambient scent boosts recognition and memory performance.
  • It increases the time consumers spend in a shop or business.
  • It elevates mood and a person’s level of enjoyment
  • It improves the quality of a service encounter.

How can you make your business smell good?

Scent marketing can be used in a variety of ways for your company. As an illustration, Hyatt Place has long used smell branding. According to Harvard Business Review, Hyatt Place introduced a signature perfume called "Seamless" when it first opened. This blend of notes, which includes blueberries and floral notes on a base of vanilla and musk, is used throughout all of its Hyatt Place facilities. Like other businesses adopting fragrance branding, Hyatt wants to make customers subconsciously identify their property with a pleasant scent.

Visitors to the Magic House at Epcot Center at Walt Disney World in Florida are calmed and reassured by the aroma of just-baked chocolate chip cookies. According to ThoughtCo, Singapore Airlines utilises a proprietary fragrance it calls Stefan Floridian Waters. The aroma is utilised by the company in its aircraft, worn by flight attendants as a fragrance, and used to wash in-flight towels.

Scent marketing even has applications beyond increased spending. Scents have been shown to decrease anxiety levels in cancer patients awaiting MRI tests (vanilla) and dental patients in waiting rooms (lavender). The science of scent marketing and scent branding has advanced to the point where companies can be very specific about the desired reaction. If the retailer is looking for a high-end appeal, the smell of leather is the way to go. Linen and cotton evoke cleanliness, good health, and springtime.

Influencing the way your customer thinks and acts is the goal of all businesses who want to sell their goods or services. Scent marketing is simply one more method to add to your marketing strategy. Whatever atmosphere you seek, you can likely get it through a scent or combination of fragrances.



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