Ambience is more important than customer service

Market research demonstrates the importance of scenting and the multi-sensory experience to consumers today. Carried out by ICM, the research found over half of consumers say they love their favourite stores due to its ambience – placing multi-sensory cues such as design, fragrance, lighting and music above good service from friendly staff.


Store ambience is more important than customer service

A positive impact

For the retail and hospitality sectors, the research showed an especially high demand for a more fragrant experience. Three out of four people (74%) have been impulsively drawn into a store by a smell, and a considerable 90% of consumers would either walk out of a store or speed up their browsing if they didn’t like the smell inside it. Similarly, in a hospitality environment, 77% of consumers said a pleasant smell in a hotel would have a positive impact on them, and 43% said they would regret or reconsider checking into a hotel if they noticed an overpowering smell.

Choosing the right scent

Professor Charles Spence MA PhD, Experimental Psychology at Oxford University, said: “As consumers, our brains are constantly monitoring the inputs from each and every one of our senses in order to make sense of the world around us. There is a growing neuroscience understanding today, of the impact of scent on customer experiences. New technologies around effective scent dispersal means there has never been a better time for hotels and stores to consider developing their brand through the use of scent and other multi-sensory marketing strategies. It is, however, important to remember that harmony is key – the right scent should correspond with its surroundings and be congruent with our other senses. Based on my own research in this area, I am convinced of scent’s role as a powerful means of communication with one’s customers no matter what the business.”

A connection between brand and consumer

The research found smell is the top rated stimuli for triggering a memory or feeling (73%), highlighting the positive impact it can play in creating a connection between a brand and consumer. As businesses focus on how to evolve their models to attract more customers and retain them both online and in a physical environment, the new research demonstrates the significant role scenting can play.

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