Scent marketing is not a new concept. There are documented cases of ancient civilizations using scents on everything from ships to pets. However, with improvements in scent dispensing technology and the increasing difficulty of reaching consumers through traditional marketing channels, scent marketing is rapidly gaining popularity. How do marketers know that it works? The answer is scent marketing research.
How Scent Marketing Works
Pleasant smells serve as a gateway to the behavior-approach system in the human mind. This chain sets off a collection of actions that can be predicted by marketers. Additionally, distracting aromas can cause shoppers to perceive they have spent less time shopping than they actually have, which may increase impulse buying and spending.
Whether a person considers a fragrance to be pleasing or not is partly dependant on the intensity. Neutral smells tend to become unpleasant the more intense the aroma is. Pleasing smells tend to have a certain point of optimal intensity past which they become increasingly unpleasant. Pleasant smells activate the parts of the brain that improve a person’s mood and positive perception of a place or experience. Scent marketing can take advantage of this to shape the consumer experience.
Scent Marketing Research Examples
Numerous studies have been conducted to determine the effectiveness of scent marketing. The “International Journal of Marketing Studies” surveyed 400 consumers who had shopped in a Nike store utilizing a pleasant ambient scent. The results showed that the use of the scent improved the consumers’ opinion of both the store and the products. It also made them more likely to shop at the store again. A “Salon” study found that gamblers increased spending by 45% when the casino was filled with a floral scent.
Scent marketing research by The Fragrance Foundation has found that scents can motivate customers to remain in a store longer and make more purchases. German researchers determined that when a large home improvement store diffused the scent of freshly mown grass, shoppers tended to migrate to the scented areas and believed the employees working in those areas were more knowledgeable than the employees in the unscented areas. A Swedish study found that employing a pleasant scent at a point-of-sale shampoo display caused sales to rise by 36.9% at that particular point-of-sale location and 27% throughout the store.
What Scent Marketing Research Says About Effectively Employing Scent Marketing
Scent marketing research indicates that for scent marketing to be effective, the scent used must correspond to the product and the environment and have contextual meaning. As an example, imagine you are walking down the dairy aisle at the grocery store and you catch a whiff of freshly baked cookies. It makes sense that this might trigger an impulse to buy milk. However, when marketers paired this scent with milk ads at a bus station, it didn’t work very well, because buses and milk and cookies don’t go well together.
A study conducted by Washington State University and the University of St. Gallen found that simple scents work the best. This may be because simple scents are easier for the brain to process and help keep shoppers focused on shopping. Scent marketing research indicates that the human sense of smell is unique among the five human senses. Scents have an immediate effect because they bypass cognitive thought and directly affect the brain’s limbic system, which is responsible for controlling emotion. Because of this, marketers must be careful not to overwhelm consumers with complex scents.
Benefits of Scent Marketing
Scent marketing research has proven that the practice has multiple benefits.
Brand Recognition Improvement
Scent marketing can improve brand recognition by linking a brand or product with a consumer’s emotions. Effective use of scent marketing can help a brand differentiate itself from the competition and build brand loyalty. Because scent marketing creates an association between a brand and a pleasant memory, it makes brands more memorable.
Increased Shopping Time and Sales
Scents can make shoppers feel more comfortable in a store. Scent marketing research studies have found that scent marketing can increase the amount of time shoppers spend in a store by up to 20% and increase sales by an average of 300%.
Perception of Higher Value
A properly employed ambient scent can help establish a favorable perception of a business. It can also help a business establish a particular type of image, such as a seller of luxury goods utilizing scents associated with high-end lifestyles to encourage shoppers to perceive the store as a high-end retailer.
Improved Workplace Performance
Scent marketing research has found that it doesn’t only work on customers. It can also have benefits in the workplace. A “Harvard Business Review” study found that an increase in employee happiness increased productivity by 31%, sales by 37% and creativity by 31%. Using scents in the workplace can improve mood, productivity and alertness. Some of the most effective scents for workplace environments are rosemary, lavender, lemon, jasmine and cinnamon. These scents can reduce stress levels; improve energy; relieve tension, anxiety and anger; have a calming effect; and improve mood, focus and attention to detail.
Better Guest Experiences
First impressions are critically important for any business, and scent is one of the first things that guests notice. Research has found that visual memories tend to diminish by 60% after one year, but scent memories see a reduction of only 40%.
More New and Repeat Customers
Pleasant smells can entice new customers into a business more effectively than visuals or music because they create an immediate connection to the brain. Using the right scent marketing techniques can make customer experiences more pleasant and memorable. Customers who have positive shopping experiences are more likely to return to a store. Returning customers are particularly valuable to businesses because research has shown that they tend to spend 67% more than new customers.
Putting Scent Marketing Research To Work
Whole Home Scenting has a variety of products that can put the power of scent marketing research to work for you. Our whole-home diffusers can help you create exactly the mood you want for your space. Contact us today to get started with our HVAC diffusers and fragrances.