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Scent Marketing: Leveraging the Sweet Smell of Success to Foster Brand Loyalty

Magical scent

Scent marketing is a powerful strategy for crafting memorable in-store experiences, harnessing the strong link between smell, memory, and emotion to enhance brand loyalty.

Kevin Kroeger, the product manager of digital engagement company Spectrio, believes that retailers can use scents to boost customer loyalty. Credit: Spectrio.
Kevin Kroeger, the product manager of digital engagement company Spectrio, believes that retailers can use scents to boost customer loyalty. Credit: Spectrio.

With the increasing competition from e-commerce and rising consumer demands, brick and mortar retailers are under pressure to deliver a singular in-store experience. Now that it’s possible to buy almost anything you want online, people expect more from retail stores. They want a real experience that they can’t get on the web, and it’s up to retailers to meet these expectations by immersing their customers in their distinct brand identities every time they enter their stores.

So, how can retailers create an experience that stands apart from their competitors and instills a deep sense of loyalty? One widespread but highly overlooked strategy is scent marketing, which refers to the use of fragrance to influence customer behavior and perception of your brand. The right scent can ultimately make customers want to spend more time in your store, allowing you to build lasting connections while strengthening your brand identity.

What is scent marketing?

Every brick and mortar retailer knows that all the various elements of their space can affect sales, such as the decor, the layout of the store, or the music being played. Well, a certain scent can add to the experience as well. By deploying a scent that reflects your brand identity throughout your store, you can make your products seem more desirable and show that you truly understand your customers’ needs.

For example, if you visit a clothing retailer that’s popular for teenagers and young adults, the store will likely be permeated with the latest cologne or fragrance for this demographic. This helps the store communicate that these are the trendiest items available today. Alternatively, a more upscale retailer might be permeated with the smell of leather. If you weren’t sure that these items are high quality and worth the price, the scent of leather might do the trick.

Scent marketing is also a great way to distinguish yourself from your fellow retailers. For example, when you step inside New York City’s Plaza Hotel, which immediately greets visitors with its signature gardenia-based scent. And when you leave the Plaza, you take this signature scent with you.

SImilarly, Singapore Airlines infuses the signature scent that its flight attendants wear, “Stefan Floridian Waters,” into the hot towels that travelers receive before take-off. Meanwhile, some NIKE flagship stores have experimented with the scent of freshly cut grass in their golf sections and the smell of basketball rubber in the areas where basketball products are displayed.

How scent marketing works

The magic of scent marketing stems from the fact that our sense of smell is the only sense that is directly linked to the brain’s limbic system, which controls memory and emotion. In other words, our sense of smell doesn’t go through as many mental filters as our other four senses. This is why we often react emotionally to a scent before we can even identify the name of the scent. For example, a certain scent may immediately evoke a certain feeling or make you think of a certain person or place, even if you don’t know exactly what you’re smelling.

So, when you pick up a scent in a retail store, that scent begins to affect your subconscious mind much more quickly than, say, a print advertisement. Retailers can use this lightning-fast process to their advantage by intentionally triggering certain thoughts or feelings that align with their brand identity. The moment you pick up this scent, your mind instantly steps into the retailer’s world, where the items in front of you perfectly complement your new mood.

Choosing your scent

Different scents have been scientifically proven to evoke certain emotions. Chocolate, for example, is famously associated with feelings of romance, while the smell of roses is associated with happiness and celebration. Likewise, scents like peppermint, thyme, and rosemary can invigorate your customers and fill them with energy.

The right scent for your brand should reflect the emotional outcome of your products. Let’s say your store specializes in particularly comfortable items of clothing. In this case, you might choose to permeate your store with a scent that evokes feelings of relaxation such as lavender, basil, or cinnamon. It’s also crucial to choose a scent that aligns with the visuals, sounds, and textures of your store. This cohesive multi-sensory approach is key for creating a memorable and immersive experience.

How to deploy scent marketing

Another critical factor in effective scent marketing is the manner in which the scent is deployed. The goal is to create an even distribution of your scent so that no customer experiences too much or too little of it. However, there are multiple ways to accomplish this, and the right choice depends on the size and layout of your store. For example, larger stores often employ industrial scent diffusers to permeate their scents across their entire space.

Conversely, the best way to permeate your space might be targeting specific customer touch points. Consider the sections of your store where it’s most important to connect with your customers. Possible examples include the entrance, product displays, fitting rooms, or high traffic areas where customers are exposed to the full scope of your selection. Either way, you’ll know you’ve deployed your scent correctly when the scent is undoubtedly present but not so overpowering that it distracts customers from your products.

Scent marketing can be a powerful tool for driving engagement and loyalty. The more immersive your in-store experience is, the more control you have over your customers’ thoughts and feelings. So, if you want to create an atmosphere that makes your customers more likely to buy your products, the right scent could be the final piece of the puzzle.

About the author: Kevin Kroeger is the Product Manager at Spectrio, specialising in retail product development and consumer engagement.

Source from Retail Insight Network

Disclaimer: The information set forth above is provided by retail-insight-network.com independently of Alibaba.com. Alibaba.com makes no representation and warranties as to the quality and reliability of the seller and products.

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