It is no secret that the key to having a successful retail business can be found in understanding the customer, their preferences, and their habits, not only in relation to what they choose to buy, but also to how they choose to do it. Every person walking into a store should be regarded as a potential customer, with a unique shopping behavior, which may or may not fit the pattern the retailer expects from them.
Thus, it is extremely important to focus on every detail which may influence the shopping experience (both positively and negatively) in order to ensure your business develops in the right direction. A pleasant shopping ambient is created multidimensionally: the olfactory aspect is just as important as the visual and the auditory ones. Given that smell is the most powerful of the five inborn senses, it is no wonder there is a strong correlation between fragrance and customer types. But how should one use smell to their business`s avail?
Feminine or Masculine Scents?
The trick is pretty simple: try to think of what type of nose-possessors you would like to lure into your store and use this information likewise, by selecting the right fragrances. The first contrasting categories most retailers target by their specific preferences in scents are the feminine and masculine ones.
Indeed, you could argue that smell does not have a gender, but it can definitely be gender differentiating, especially in the retail industry. For instance, the division between women and men sections in most clothing and accessories shops is not merely for a better organization and for rendering the shopping process easier and faster, but also for being able to create two different ambiances, each with its own color scheme and fragrance pattern.
Generally, women have the tendency to prefer sweet, floral or fruity scents, like cherry blossom and vanilla, whereas spicy, rich ones, like cedar wood, usually appeal more to men. In case your store is unisex, go for some fresh notes of citrus, ocean breeze or neutral ones, specific to the products you sell, as these are equally preferred by the genders – ex. freshly printed paper in book shops or marine, aquatic undertones as a neutral basis.
The Amount of Money Your Customers Afford
Another opposite pair of customers can be found by analyzing the amount of money they afford to spend in your shop, namely the wealthy and the more indigent.
The well-off customers are more interested in spending more, but for a better quality of products, whereas the latter category may overlook a lack of quality, granted the price is lower or if the product is on sale.
Thus, the scents you use should especially be representative for the quality of the products you sell or advertise. Do not even try to deceive richer customers by advertising an inaccurate level of quality in your overly-priced products, because most of them are experienced enough or even real connoisseurs of the business and will clearly see through your pretty fragrances and inviting mosque, chestnut and burnt amber.
Do not even try to deceive richer customers by advertising an inaccurate level of quality in your overly-priced products, because most of them are experienced enough or even real connoisseurs of the business and will clearly see through your pretty fragrances and inviting mosque, chestnut and burnt amber.
However, if you own a thrift shop, the general rule applies: the only forbidden scents are the malodorous or the repulsive ones. Your customers will not think of a specific ambient scent as a necessity or a must-have, but only as a bonus.
Choose something neutral or simple, but avoid investing too much money in it, as scent is not the most important factor in the case of a thrift, bargain, outlet or anyhow cheaper shop.
Location and Purpose of Your Store
Although this also depends on the location and purpose of your store, you should also consider the frequency of your customers` shopping habits. A duty free in an airport is unlikely to have the same customer twice in a month, yet it can have thousands of different visitors in a single day, whereas a corner shop in a tiny village will see the same faces each day, even if the count will be below one hundred.
In case your shop requires the purchases of casual shoppers, make sure you lure them with a scent that would make any average person ponder “I wonder what I could buy from here…” The good part is that you can be as daring as you feel like being, so try anything from the odor spectrum – oriental vanilla, Indian sandalwood, coconut, bergamot, cinnamon, or even chocolate in a store unrelated to food.
What would SEPHORA and NORDSTROM be without the wonderful mixture of expensive perfumes or STARBUCKS without the delicious scent of roasted coffee beans? Clearly, you would think it is unnatural and peculiar to enter one of these and smell, well…virtually nothing. These retailers have already discovered the best strategies to use fragrance in their avail and therefore increase their sales, their popularity and their community of loyal, regular customers.
In fact, the fragrance industry is not a thing of the second millennium: Michael Edwards developed the first fragrance identification chart in as early as 1983 (“The Fragrance Wheel”), in an attempt to put together a classification of fragrances that could be used by any retailers, without requiring knowledge of technical jargon.
Moreover, remember that any developing business should create a recognizable, positive image of their brand, also taking into account the use of fragrance and its correspondence to different shopping behaviors. Consequently, the power of smell becomes another useful, even paramount tool to help your business grow and flourish – use it wisely.