Scent Marketing – You Know It Makes Cents!
Have you ever noticed how evocative a strong smell can be? The smell of a log fire may evoke memories of cosy winter evenings with your family. The smell of a bakery might remind you of schoolyard lunches. A salty breeze might carry you back of summer days on the beach. The smell of a perfume might recall a particular special person to your mind.
Effective marketing appeals to many senses at once. Scent marketing, as the name suggests, focuses on consumers’ sense of smell. A scent suddenly triggers a memory, which in turn spurs the consumer to action. (Did you know that smells trigger memories and emotions more quickly than other senses do?) A vapour in a retail space can be used to create a relaxing atmosphere that causes consumers to linger. Or it might cultivate an aura of luxury. Business spent nearly $80 million on scent marketing last year, and its popularity is increasing (1)
How Do You Deploy It?
Scent marketing can be divided into four main categories:
- Billboard smell – This is the smell that customers consciously notice when they enter the retail space. It is the smell they associate with the brand. For example, a café would use the aroma of its coffee beans to help create brand identity.
- Thematic smell – This is the smell that is part of the overall atmosphere of the retail space. For example, a luxury spa would use fresh, calming aromas to create an atmosphere of renewal.
- Ambient smell – This smell is much more subtle, and is often used to mask undesired smells in the air.
- Signature smell – This is smell as brand. Perfumes brands would have a signature smell, as would luxury clothes and shoes, for example.
Knowing how deploy the different scents will help you create a favourable impression on customers as they enter your retail space. If customers find the scent attractive, they are more likely to find your products attractive too. If, however, the scent confuses or even repels customers, they are likely to avoid your products.
It’s important to know your customers and the scents that are likely to appeal to them. Are your customers looking for a gentle “feminine” scent or a bracing “masculine” scent, for example? And remember that you may have to customise the scents for different parts of your retail space, depending on the types of products you sell. Also, bear in the mind the time of year. If your retails space is trying to create a Christmas atmosphere but is using scents that evoke the freshness of spring, your customers are likely to be disorientated.
Why Should You Use Scent Marketing?
Perhaps the most concrete – and most desirable – benefit of scent marketing is increased sales. Research has proved that effective deployment of scents can encourage consumers to buy your products. For example, once customers get a whiff of freshly brewed coffee, they’re more likely to come into your café. Nike found that scent marketing increased intent to purchase by 80%!
Even if customers don’t buy immediately, scents can create a calming atmosphere that encourages customers to linger in your retail space. Or you may use invigorating scents to motivate customers stay and explore your products. They longer customers spend in your retail space, they more familiar they become with your products and the more receptive they become to your brand.
Brand promotion and maintenance
When scents cause customers to linger in your store, the scents are helping build brand awareness. You create associations in your customers’ minds between the scents and the products. A warm calming scent might be used to complement luxury bed linen. A fresh cool scent might be deployed in a fitness store, whereas an antique shop might use musty evocative smells to make customers feel nostalgic.
Be aware of the impression that the scents makes. You want your scents to make customers think of your brand in a positive way. You can use scents to create an aura of quality around your products.
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A note of caution
Scent marketing works most effectively when it complements your brand in subtle but lingering ways. If the scents are overpowering and obvious, they are likely to repel customers. Diffuse the scents in a subtle way throughout your retail space. Also, if the scent is unusual or slightly unpleasant, you could end up damaging your brand.
Carefully monitor the impact of the scents on customers. Powerful vapours could have an adverse affect on some people, leading to headaches, nausea or dry mouth, or even allergic reactions. If the scent makes customers feel unpleasant, they will leave your retail space.
And remember that not all customers are attracted to the same smells. Know your customers and what they are attracted to. See which scents are creating the most impact.
Scent marketing, when carefully deployed, can help you create an attractive ambience in your retail space that hopefully will lead to satisfied customers, increased sales and brand growth.
If you’d like to find out which scent marketing solution would be most effective for your retail space, please contact our scent experts today.
(1) PwC, 2015