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Scent marketing enhances in-store customer experiences

"Scent Marketing"
“Scent Marketing”

The retail world has progressively emphasized sensory experiences, especially using distinct scents to create a unique in-store atmosphere. Brands like Aesop and Subway leverage olfactory marketing strategies to enthrall their customers at a deeper level, foster a distinctive brand personality, and evoke positive memories associated with the brand.

Aesop, the iconic skincare brand, uses a botanical blend of basil, Ylang Ylang, and lavender scents to fill its stores and induce a tranquil and luxurious ambiance that aligns with its brand image. On the other hand, Subway fills its outlets with the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked bread, stimulating appetite and differentiating itself from other fast-food chains.

The first whispers of aromatic marketing were heard in the 1990s, initially by businesses that naturally produced fragrant goods, like bakeries and perfume shops. It has become an essential strategy for physical stores to differentiate themselves from online competitors. By understanding brand identity, customer preferences, and desired psychological effects, a subtly pleasing olfactory atmosphere can be created to positively influence shopper’s perception of the brand and their retail experience.

A prime example of aromatic marketing is the Aesop outlet in Chicago.

Enhancing retail experiences through scent marketing

Here, a “sidewalk tea”, a mix of fragrant lotion and hot water is poured over the concrete outside the store, creating a scent that draws in passersby. Inside the store, the layered notes of the store’s signature scent create an even more immersive experience for the customers.

Amidst the COVID-19 recovery efforts, the retail industry recognizes the critical advantage of scent for physical stores over e-commerce. Retailers are investing in olfactory branding – creating unique scents that signify the brand and evoke specific emotional responses and behaviors in consumers.

However, designing the perfect signature scent is challenging due to varied responses to smells based on individuals’ memories. Extensive research and experimentation, understanding the target audience’s preferences, and considering inclusivity to avoid potential allergies are critical considerations for brands to create a signature scent that complements their aesthetic and resonates with their offerings.

The effectiveness of this approach is echoed in the success of Abercrombie & Fitch, which sets its unique brand scent through its Fierce fragrance. A study further proves that pleasant fragrances can increase the likelihood of purchases by 84% and influence customers to pay more for the same product. Brands incorporating scent into their marketing strategy have great potential for increased sales volume and profitability.

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