The sense of smell is very personal. It can trigger memories – both good and bad. It’s actually in the part of the brain where psychology and biology meet. Any business owner knows that psychology means you can use it to your business’s advantage. But what is scent marketing and how can you use it? We can help.
At its root, scent marketing is defined as a kind of sensory marketing. While some marketing is directed toward your eyes or ears, this one is targeting consumers at their sense of smell. It’s about more than just having a nice smell somewhere in your business, though. The scent you choose will be associated with your brand and become part of its identity. It can help create a relationship with your guests and customers. It’s like a logo for the nose.
Since we now understand what scent marketing is at a basic level, let’s go over why a business should use it.
We are 100 times more likely to remember something we smell than something we see, hear, or taste. Scent has the most impact when it comes to willingness to visit a store, emotional enhancement in your store, and even purchase intention. The olfactory sensory neurons in the lining of the nasal cavity will detect the fragrance and then will send a signal to the olfactory cortex by using the olfactory bulb that resides in the brain. That olfactory cortex sends the fragrance to many other areas in the brain – including the ones that regulate the physiological and emotional effects of the scents. If it registered a positive reaction, it will subconsciously be associate it with your business. That’s when scent marketing helps to create a positive emotional response from your guests and customers.
Being just good is no longer enough. You have to stand out and set the bar high – and then exceed it. Nobody will be impressed by being satisfactory. Customers are looking for emotional experiences when they visit a store – not just looking for a product. 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. The value can come in many ways including coming to your defense on negative comments on social media, frequenting your store more, and telling a friend!
If someone leaves your store quickly, odds are they didn’t buy anything. But if they are encouraged by the pleasant scent, they may buy what they came for – plus! 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. See what a pleasant scent can do?
Humans remember 5% of what they see, 2% of what they hear, and 35% of what they smell. Of all the 5 senses, smell is actually the most powerful. Did you ever smell something that reminds you of your days down the shore with your family? If the data is correct and the sense of smell is that strong, a pleasant scent in your business could help create that kind of response to your brand.
Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not about the money. Money is what keeps you in business. More money is what helps you grow and expand. Aroma branding and scent marketing will not only help your business’s reputation and perception, but it can even encourage people to spend more in your store. 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. Do you need another reason than that? We don’t think so either.
Retail stores and hotels for sure can see the benefits of scent marketing. But they are not the only industries it could help. People use essential oils at home to calm nerves and help with anxiety. Doctor offices and hospitals are stressful environments where a scent that promotes calm could be beneficial to both patients and staff. It will also replace the smell that is customarily thought of at hospitals like the strong smell of disinfectant.
The space in our brain that links smells to memories makes scent marketing a successful tactic for almost any business. Trigger a happy smell memory in your business and your customers will be happier when they are in your business. Whether it’s a hotel, an apartment building, a retail store, or a doctor’s office, your brand can be enhanced by the sense of smell. Think the scent may be off-putting or overwhelming? If your scent was installed by a trained technician to make sure it’s set to the correct amount and rate, a study that was done showed less than 10% of the shoppers they asked were aware that scent was being used. The power or scent – it’s time to use it to your advantage in your business.