In order for customers to get the full immersive experience while shopping, we want to engage as many of their senses as possible. However, the sense of smell is rarely used for this purpose. Customers can see the clothes, feel the fabric, hear the music playing in the store, (we’re going to skip taste, but the taste can be affected by the smell). But our noses are not usually exposed to anything in the store unless it is a bad smell of returned clothes or something.
There is an easy way to change this that will provide a memorable experience for the customer: create a signature scent for your brick and mortar store. High-end hotels have been doing this for a while and it makes a big impression on the customers. The scent does not need to be overpowering, but it should be unique enough to make your brand stand out.
There are many reasons, including scientific evidence, for why you should use a signature scent in your store.
Here are five reasons why your company should create a signature scent:
- Scientific evidence
- Hotels’ success
- Other brands’ success
- Brand recognition
- Incorporating all the senses
1. Scientific evidence
One of the main reasons why you should consider creating a fragrance for your company is because of the hard evidence of success. There have been many studies done that show it improves the customer’s perception of product quality, increases average unit sales and the price the customer is willing to pay for a product, and increases the duration of a retail visit.
That alone could be enough reason to create a fragrance. The smell should be pleasant and mild, which will make the customers stay around to smell it for longer. It also increases the overall quality of the product, since it makes the clothes seem more expensive and elevated. The scent should be constant throughout the store, many hotels put the scent directly in the air conditioning units so it is pumped through the air. But there are many other techniques depending on the store size.
2. Hotels’ success
Scent branding is probably the most popular among the hotel industry. A lot of high-end hotel chains will curate a unique fragrance that they place in all of their hotels worldwide. This creates a cohesiveness that the customers feel every time they stay in that hotel.
The Westin and Hyatt Place are two examples of companies that have their own scent. Some customers like the smell so much that they bought the scent for their own homes for them to feel like they’re on vacation all the time. The hotels use scent branding to create memories in customers’ senses that could trigger nostalgia if they smell a similar scent. For example, they might visit a Westin in Costa Rica, so every time they smell a similar scent, they will be reminded of their fun trip and want to go back again, or visit another Westin somewhere else.
3. Other brands’ success
There are a lot of notable clothing brands that have decided to create signature scents. Hollister and Abercrombie (who are owned by the same company) are both known for the scent of their stores. People will walk past the store in the mall and be able to smell it. It is also a great advertisement for their perfumes and colognes since the store’s fragrance smells like that. They have found a lot of success in this, and people are always talking about the smell as they walk by. On the other hand, some may say their smell is too intense and it stops them from going in, so instead, opt for a lighter, diluted scent that is more universally friendly.
Other stores like Brandy Melville use a similar technique where they spray their clothes with a perfume that is exclusive to them. No one else knows what the scent is or where to buy it, so people have to go to the store to smell it.
Two other industries that use scent branding are amusement parks and restaurants. For amusement parks, Walt Disney World is a great example because they use different fragrances for different locations around the parks to enhance the guest experience and to create long-lasting memories. For restaurants, a lot of fast-food chains, like Burger King, pump the smell of their burgers outside to entice people to walk in.
4. Brand recognition
A big reason why signature fragrances are successful is because of brand recognition. Sometimes people don’t even realize that they are attracted to the smell, but they will find themselves wanting to go into the store because they smell it walking by. In other cases, customers may smell a similar smell and say “Oh this smells like (your brand name)” and they will influence the person they are talking to, to go into your store to smell it. Or they will be reminded of your store and decide to make a visit.
Either way, customers are being brought into the store, where they will then spend more time browsing the clothes and potentially spending more money. It also promotes brand loyalty, since customers will be reminded of the smell and continue to go back and shop more.
5. Incorporating all the senses
As stated in the beginning, shopping is an immersive experience where people can go into the stores to try things on and be able to look and feel the fabrics. Hearing is also used because many stores already play music in the background. Having a signature scent is similar to the reasoning behind the background music. It creates a better atmosphere and keeps people in the store longer.
Using all of the senses helps influence customer’s decisions, and sometimes they don’t even realize they are being persuaded. As the scientific evidence states, people are more likely to spend more money if the store has a signature smell.
Scent branding is still a fairly new concept in the retail industry, but it is definitely something companies should consider for increasing traffic and sales. Obviously, this only applies to in-store shopping, so online boutiques cannot use this technique. However, you do not have to be a large company to use this technique, small boutiques can still gain the same benefits by using air fresheners or wall plug-ins, and they can still create their own unique scent with different companies.
Scent branding for hotels has been around for a while and has even been mentioned in shows like Emily in Paris on Netflix and other well-known magazines and websites. This is also a marketing technique that will be around for a long time, so investing in this now will prove to be successful in the future. Maybe it is time for you to hop on the trend and create a unique fragrance for your store that will bring in more customers.