If I see it, I will believe it. If I hear it, I will believe it. If I smell it… I will interpret it. Smell is where biology and psychology come together and that means there’s an opportunity to use it to your business’s advantage. But why and how? Let’s start at the beginning.
The definition of scent marketing is a type of sensory marketing targeted only to affect the consumer’s sense of smell. It’s more than adding a nice aroma to an area in your business. It’s about that scent becoming part of your brand’s identity to help foster a relationship with guests and consumers alike. Think of the scent you use in your business as a logo for the nose.
Now that we know what scent marketing is, let’s consider why you would want to use it.
We are 100 times more likely to remember something we smell than something we see, hear, or taste. When it comes to enhancing emotion, evaluation, willingness to visit a store, and purchase intention, scent has the strongest impact. Fragrances are first detected by olfactory sensory neurons. These neurons are in the lining of the nasal cavity. From the nasal cavity, the neurons signal the olfactory cortex via the olfactory bulb in the brain. Once the olfactory cortex receives the signal, it sends the fragrance information to several other areas in the brain – most notably, areas that regulate the emotional and physiological effects of odors. A positive emotion that can be associated – subconsciously – with your business will create an emotional response in your customers and guests.
You can settle for being satisfactory, but in this day and age, you may as well close your doors if that’s the bar you are trying to reach. Mediocrity is not often tolerated.
Recent research showed that customers are no longer just looking for a product – they are seeking emotional experiences. In fact, the Harvard Business Review conducted a study on the importance of connecting emotionally with customers. They found that emotionally connected customers are 52% more valuable to a brand than those who are just satisfied. Loyalty in customers will not only keep consumers coming back, but they can become your cheerleaders on social media. We’ve all seen a negative review where the people that love that brand swoop in and dispel it. Now that’s standing out.
Customers that stay longer in your store tend to spend more. A Samsung study found that when consumers were exposed to a company scent, shopping time was increased by 26% and they visited three times more product categories. The American Marketing Association reports that people stay up to 44% longer in businesses that smell good. Besides what a negative smell can do for longevity, a pleasant smell can do the opposite. In this instance, the opposite is the one you want.
Humans remember 5% of what they see, 2% of what they hear, and 35% of what they smell. In fact, smell is the most powerful of our five senses making it the biggest threat or the biggest asset to your business. How many times have you forgotten where you purchased something or the name of that hotel you stayed at that one time in Newport? If the sense of smell is as strong as the data suggests, then you can be sure a pleasant aroma will help embed that name in your memory.
Your bottom line is what keeps you in business. While many may say it’s not all about the dollar, we all know that’s not entirely true. Money keeps your business afloat and more money helps you grow. We already showed how scent marketing can help keep customers in your store longer, but aroma branding will also improve customer perception of products and stores. It will even encourage spending. One study reported shoppers were 84% more likely to buy a pair of shoes in a scented room – and would even pay more for them. If that’s not enough reason for you to implement scent marketing into your business, we aren’t sure what is.
Scent marketing sounds great in retail and hotel lobbies, right? But also consider there are scents that can encourage calmness and ease anxiety – people use them at home all the time. So, consider scent marketing in hospitals and doctor offices as well. Not only will the calming scent help in an already stressful situation, but it will erase the disinfectant smell that is usually associated with those types of facilities.
Because memories and smells are linked in our brains, scent marketing allows brands to capitalize on these memories and trigger positive associations with their brand whether it’s a retail store, an apartment building, a doctor’s office, or a hotel. If you think having a scent in your business may be obtrusive or overwhelming, if you’re using the correct scent administered at the correct rate, a study showed less than 10% of the shoppers they asked were aware that scent was being used. Time to use the power of scent marketing in your business.