There has been a lot of buzz about scent marketing backed by plenty of scent marketing statistics. Major brands have successfully used this sensory marketing tactic for decades. Scientific studies have also shown the positive influence of scent marketing on mood and purchasing behaviors. Here are five observations based on statistics drawn from academic and market research along with tips so that any business can benefit from effective scent marketing.
1. Scent Is More Memorable Than Other Sense Experiences
According to a Rockefeller University study, our short-term memory retains 35% of what we smell versus 15% of what we taste, 5% of what we see, 2% of what we hear and 1% of what we touch. Most people can discriminate more than 1 trillion olfactory stimuli and recall smells with 65% accuracy after a year as compared to 50% of visuals after only three months.
Olfaction, or the sense of smell, is known to be one of the oldest and most evolved senses. The human nose has millions of scent receptors and our scent cells renew every 30 to 60 days for maximum functionality. It is also significant that scents have a direct path to the brain.
The olfactory bulb is connected to the limbic system that processes emotions and memories. For this reason, it is possible to use scents to improve the mindset of employees and connect with customers on a deeper emotional level. Most scent marketing statistics clearly indicate that pleasant scents have several positive effects on customer behavior.
2. Customers Increase Dwell Time in Scented Areas
Our brains process scent subconsciously long before we can consciously decide whether or not we like a particular smell. In general, areas that are pleasantly scented have increased customer dwell time. A study by Samsung found that consumers who were exposed to a company scent underestimated their actual shopping time by 26% and visited three times as many product categories or departments.
The positive effects of scent on consumer behavior are also apparent beyond the retail sector. A study conducted in a casino found a 45% increase in revenue from slot machines in scented areas and a 40% increase in the time guests spent in scented areas over unscented areas.
In order for this statistic to prove true in practice, it is important that a business select a pleasing fragrance. One-on-one interviews, focus groups or market research can be helpful in determining whether a scent is a good choice for a location. It is also important to factor in the effects of fragrance notes.
3. Scent Marketing Statistics Indicate the Effects of Different Scents
The fragrance notes and overall profile of a scent can affect everyone who experiences scent marketing. A Japanese study found that diffusing certain essential oils had effects on the mood of data entry operators working in a building. Citrus oils increased the alertness of subjects and performance went up 54%. Lavender and jasmine had the effect of soothing stress.
Choosing comforting, familiar fragrance notes can have a positive effect on employees’ and customers’ attitudes and moods. Another study found that the scent of vanilla and lavender reduced anxiety in medical care facilities. In the right location, a gourmand scent such as baking cookies or roasting coffee can improve concentration levels and social behaviors.
The wrong scent can prove a distraction, rather than a successful marketing tool. In 2006, a “Got Milk” campaign with scented billboards in San Francisco bus shelters was so unpopular that the feature was removed on the first day. On the other hand, a study published in the “International Journal of Marketing Studies” reported that four hundred customers of a Nike store using ambient scent marketing positively evaluated the aroma.
4. Marketing to More Senses Increases Brand Impact
It may be possible to use scent marketing to even greater effect alongside visual, auditory, tactile or savory elements. Each aspect of sense marketing should reflect the identity of a brand and be related in some way to the products and services for sale. It is important that sense marketing methods work together and do not clash to prevent sensory overload.
Researcher Martin Lindstrom reported that brand impact increases by 30% when more than one sense is engaged, such as through visual and auditory, visual and olfactory, or olfactory and auditory strategies. Engagement rises by 70% when a brand message appeals to three senses.
In addition to ensuring that sensory marketing methods work together, it is also important to provide the proper context. A scent with detectable fragrance notes that are unrelated or contrary to the identity and values of a brand can have the unintended effect of confusing consumers or driving down dwell time and purchasing.
5. Scent Marketing Statistics Emphasize Context and Quality
The information people take in as they experience a scent has the potential to cause negative or positive reactions. For example, a psychologist suggests that two groups of subjects asked to smell cheese will approve or disapprove based on whether the contents are described as cheese or as having a less savory scent. The context that is provided for scent marketing can determine the effectiveness of a campaign.
A carefully chosen high-quality scent can have a positive effect on consumers as long as it coincides with goods or services for sale. A pleasant ambient scent can also contribute to an improvement in mood. Scent marketing specialists focus on finding the right scent based on the identity, purpose and values of a brand and the features of locations. Ambient scents can perform the practical function of masking unpleasant odors, or scents can be featured more prominently in a signature or thematic scent experience or as an aroma billboard.
Scent marketing statistics suggest the potential for positive results when scent marketing is properly implemented to influence customer behavior. Most people can quickly identify businesses with notable smells. Many other locations use ambient scents to enhance customer or patient experiences. There are many possibilities for using scent marketing in commercial environments.