Aroma Scent Marketing - Whole Home Scenting

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How Aroma Scent Marketing Affects Customer Behavior

Creating emotional connections and memorable experiences is vital for brands competing in today’s competitive marketplace. Smell is the strongest and most intensely emotional of the five human senses. A whiff of perfume, the smell of bacon or coffee in the morning, or the scent of freshly mown grass are all examples of smells that people connect to specific experiences.

Shoppers make these same kinds of connections when they experience specific aromas in your store. The effective use of aroma scent marketing can encourage shoppers to spend more time in your store, forge connections with your brand and influence consumer behavior in a variety of other ways.

Reasons To Use Aroma Scent Marketing To Attract Customers

Attract customers with scent marketing.

Research has shown that scent can be a vital tool for directing a consumer’s mood in a way that is desired by the retailer. Smells can be used to create a specific atmosphere in a store. For example, manufacturers of luxury cars often spray their showrooms and cars with leather scents that are meant to evoke the perception of luxury. Studies of consumer behavior have found that consumers shopping in scented environments tended to view products for longer, which increases the chance that the consumer will make a purchase.

Additionally, pleasant smells tend to lead to increases in the amount of money spent by shoppers. Research suggests that the use of scents can be a powerful tool for building customer loyalty. When retailers use scents that evoke memories or pleasant emotions, it helps forge a bond between the retailer and the customer. Retailers have also had success using scents to entice shoppers to enter stores.

Power of Aroma Scent Marketing

Scents can be one of the most powerful tools to attract customer attention because a person’s sense of smell is closely connected to the limbic system, which supports functions such as emotion and memory. Research has indicated that people are affected up to 75% more by smells than by sights or sounds. Studies have found that 80% of men and 90% of women have experienced memories that trigger emotions in response to smells. Because of this, the emotions and memories triggered by scents can be more intense and immediate than similar responses triggered by other marketing tools, such as music or images.

Ambient and Non-Ambient Scents

Ambient scents are those that do not originate from a known specific object. Examples include scents dispensed by air freshening systems that are generally present in the environment. A non-ambient scent is produced by a specific object, such as the smell of leather coming from a piece of leather furniture.

A 2001 study by Mattila & Wirtz found that ambient scents are more likely to improve consumer perception of a store than the scents coming from the store’s products. However, to be an effective aroma scent marketing tool, ambient scents must match the image of the store. Researchers found that when ambient scents match the store image, consumers exhibit higher levels of impulse buying and approach behaviors.

Aroma Scent Marketing and Gender

Gender and scent marketing.

A 2003 study found that aroma scent marketing is a particularly effective tool for stores that primarily target women as customers. The reason for this is that on average, women have a more acute sense of smell than men. This discovery has lead many top retailers to develop signature scents that are disbursed throughout stores in the hope of positively influencing the mood of customers. Some marketers believe that all stores and brands should develop a unique scent that identifies the brand to customers and sets the store or brand apart from competitors.

Effective Use of Aroma Scent Marketing

For aroma scent marketing to be effective, marketers must take care to choose the correct scents. For example, a U.S. clothing store experimenting with fragrances found that using a subtle vanilla scent in the women’s department and a rose scent in the men’s nearly doubled sales; however, when they switched the scents, they noticed a dramatic reduction in sales.

Other retail stores have tried using different scents at different times of the day to match the natural highs and lows of the body. Invigorating scents are used in the morning to perk up sleepy shoppers, while soothing scents are used later in the day to comfort tired shoppers stopping by after a long workday.

Additionally, studies have shown that consumers tend to react more positively to aromas that occur in nature, such as flower or fruit smells, than to man-made aromas, such as those found in disinfectants. Consumers tend to have negative associations with smells that remind them of hospitals and other similar settings.

Aroma Scent Marketing for Low-Visibility Stores

Scent marketing is important for stores with low visibility.

Aroma scent marketing can be a particularly valuable tool for stores, such as retailers located in corner points at malls that have low visibility to customers. The use of scents in these stores can attract customers who might otherwise pass by because they can not easily visually locate the store. However, retail outlets, such as malls, that house multiple retailers run the risk of the combined smells from different stores creating an unpleasant or overwhelming aroma, so this tactic must be employed with care.

Overuse of Aroma Scent Marketing

While aroma scent marketing can be a valuable tool, overuse can create a negative experience for consumers. Some people are sensitive to smells and may suffer physical consequences, such as headaches and shortness of breath when overexposed. Additionally, some customers who find small amounts of some scents to be pleasant or mood-enhancing may find large amounts of the same smells to be overwhelming or unpleasant. It is important to carefully calibrate the use of scents so that it achieves the desired result without creating a negative impact for guests.

Aroma Scent Marketing With Whole Home Scenting

If you are ready to put the power of aroma scent marketing to work in your business, our HVAC scent diffusers and fragrances can help you achieve your goals. Contact us to find out more about how our products can meet your needs.

Photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo (customers), Tim Mossholder (gender sign), Artem Beliaikin (open sign)
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