Delivering an excellent in-store experience to customers is no easy task for retailers. In addition to ensuring your employees are offering exceptional customer service, you need to consider how shoppers will perceive every aspect of your store environment, including lighting, music, floor plans and merchandise display. But in determining how to create an optimum in-store environment, don’t forget one of the most important factors that can positively influence the customer experience—scent.
Scent is the most powerful of the five senses and the only sense directly connected to the brain's limbic system which is responsible for memories and emotions. As a result, scenting strategies offer an excellent vehicle for establishing and reinforcing a brand's identity with potential customers.
Of course retailers want to create a pleasing environment for shopping through careful consideration of details like music and merchandise placement, but adding the right scent can take your customers' experience from what they expect to what they consider truly exceptional.
For example, during Christmas customers will expect seasonal décor, such as festive lights or snow scenes as well as seasonal music in your retail space. But what if they were also met with a whiff of gingerbread or pine? Scents like these can create an unexpected and unmatched holiday mood.
There are many opportunities to use scent to help reach customers and influence their behavior in unprecedented ways. Research has demonstrated that ambient scents increase positive product ratings by 25%. Moreover, customers will linger 40% longer in scented areas, and scenting can increase purchase intent by 80%.
There are several potential benefits to be gained by developing a scenting strategy for your retail environment, including:
- Evoking pleasing emotions and memory to draw patrons into stores with a warm welcome
- Increasing footfall and dwell time in a specific area or department
- Promoting a scented product within an area or throughout a store
- Eliminating malodors in a store
- Enhancing a holiday feel with familiar scents
- Reinforcing a retailer's image with a branded scent