When I was little I used to love strolling around in vintage shops with my mother and smell all the different time periods that those items had gone through. It was fascinating how much a simple smell could bring out. As I grew into my teenage years, I started to appreciate more the smell of scented candles in fancy clothing stores that gave me the chills of being extravagant, even though I never got around to purchase anything and it was only for the tiny thrill of trying out expensive shoes.
Now, when I feel more like a child than ever, I often find myself entering body care shops or candy stores only to smell that sweet, sweet scent of fresh and pure and lovely, the kind of smell that I always associated with tasting a very nice piece of cake. Walking through the memory lane of my olfactory preferences, I realized that while we are impacted by the first vibes people send our way, we are just as well touched by the feels of a new surrounding, such as a store.
In fact, we have discussed before how music or colors can affect a customer’s will to enter or exit a store, to purchase something or not. But what about aromas and scents? Did you know that smell is the most powerful of the senses and the most connected one to our memory? As proven in the lines above, I am a very sensitive person who is always paying attention to details, so I can guarantee you that a simple scent has enough power to attract me in your store or to determine me to leave immediately and never return. It may sound extreme, but the truth is that scents have a huge contribution to the ensemble image of a store and not only do they have to reflect the products and the style of the brand, but they must also be pleasant for the target customer so an emotional connection can be established.
Best Practices to Boost your Sales with the Right Aroma
First of all, just like in almost any other situation, simplicity is truly the key. This is exemplified by a group of researchers from Washington State University, who compared the effect of a pure orange scent over the first half of the consumers involved, as opposed to the effect of a more complex blend of scents (more specific, orange, green tea and basil) to the other half of consumers. Needless to say, those who were exposed to the simple orange scent spent 20% more than the others and they were not distracted by the multitude of aromas.
The distraction that customers are exposed to when faced with a bunch of different ingredients to smell can be better understood by comparing it to walking into a room and hearing more than one song played very loudly at the same time. To avoid that, a retailer must know to always pick simple one-ingredient scents.
But beware! You do not want to pick a cheap fragrance or one that is irritating to the customer. Since over time the customer will completely ignore the scent because of olfactory fatigue, you must choose an aroma that he will notice at first and that will have an impact on him, so that he associates the shop with a particular smell that he enjoys.
It may sound like a silly wanna-be witchcraft, but using the right scent can persuade shoppers to return to your store or to purchase more. Just as music creates a nice and relaxing environment for shoppers, aromas do too!
And since a brand is reinforced by its signature elements, developing a specific, unique smell for a store is the target for every retailer. It is not as easy as it seems to be from the outside though, as it takes up to 90 days to develop a signature fragrance for a brand, but it is worth the wait when you think about the reliability it succeeds to implement into the mind of the customer.
Moreover, apart from finding the best defining scent for your store, as a retailer you must create a clean environment and that starts with remediating the odor for a more improved air quality. To achieve that, a cleaning routine must be established. The floors have to be kept fresh by vacuuming and mopping them afterward and there must be a large floor mat at the entrance in order to reduce the quantity of dirt and other pollutants brought in via people’s shoes.
Since smoking is not allowed inside a store, the air is already cleaner, but another useful option is to stop using aerosol sprays (such as deodorants, carpet cleaners or air fresheners) and start using mild cleaners and naturally-scented cleaning products instead. An ingenious way in which retailers can establish clean air is by bringing the soothing effect of nature indoors: plants are not only good for decoration, but they provide as well a healthier environment by purifying the air, as the roots of plants work together with the foliage to absorb chemical pollutants that the synthetic materials release. Plus, the level of humidity in a store has a significant impact on its air quality: in order to control dust mites, mold and other allergens, one must keep the humidity at around 30%-50% and use a dehumidifier and air conditioning (that do also reduce indoor moisture).
To conclude, aromatherapy is one of the ways in which retailers choose to express their brands’ image. You may not sell your products immediately just by spraying a special fragrance around your store, but you can surely improve the overall perception that customers have over your shop if you keep a clean and fresh environment with a natural touch and a specific scent to be remembered.