We have all walked into a store and coughed with the over-powering smell of fragrance. But if a store gets the scent just right, it can have a significant effect on consumer sales !
It’s well known in marketing circles: Scents can have a powerful effect on consumer behavior. After sound, scent is the second most powerful sense, experts say, and the only one of our five that bypasses the rational part of our brain to tap directly into our emotions. By spraying the right molecules into the air — into their merchandise, or even onto their letterhead — companies can make customers feel relaxed, energized, safe, young or sexy.
In interior design, smell seldom receives attention. However, smell has a strong association with feeling and influences people’s activities. Odor is a key motivational factor in human behavior, playing a critical role in behavior patterns. Smell affects areas of the brain that deal with emotions, feelings, and motivation, which can lead to a specific behavioral response.
Scent is amazingly influential in what we do and how we do things in a purchasing moment.
Scientists at the University of Michigan and Rutgers University found that scents significantly improved consumers’ memory about products.
When products are scented (versus not), consumers are more likely to remember information about those products. This occurs even though the product scent is not reintroduced at the time of recall, and even when memory is assessed as much as two weeks after product exposure.
As a result, a growing number of companies are adding scents to their sensory repertoire, along with the lighting, music and design they use to evoke certain moods among shoppers.
Most often, retailers try to evoke relaxation and happiness in their customers, in order to make their shopping experience more pleasant.
Lindstrom says that relaxing aromas such as lavender actually slow down our heartbeat rates and make our perceptions of time slow down, which encourages us to linger in the store longer, increasing our odds of spending money.
Marketing gurus have a stunning array of scents at their disposal. Some examples, courtesy of Lindstrom:
Vanilla: Makes you feel childish, young, energetic. Vanilla provides comfort because it reminds of breastfeeding mothers.
Wood: Reflects earthy, solid, classic values. “Back to basics and back to nature,” is how Lindstrom describes it.
Fruit: Evokes summer, and makes people feel more open-minded, happy and sexual.
Cigars and leather: Reflect conservative values and make brands seem more trustworthy. Lindstrom points out that banks and law firms often, sometimes unwittingly, use leather and wood in their interior furnishings, to project a certain solidity.
The scent wafts through the stores all day, diffused by electronic devices scattered in the store.
The smell of vanilla puts women, typically intimidated by electronics, at ease, while the mandarin denotes class.
The bourbon is there for the guys.
It basically enhances the environment for a first great impression. Retailers, hotels, and even car makers use scents, to evoke certain moods that will make customers happier with the brand.
When it rains,look for rainbows