I can’t pass the candle aisle at Target without stopping to check a few out. I just can’t – it’s impossible. Don’t even let me near the cologne or perfume section. If you are wearing a scent that I love, chances are I will ask you which one it is.
Scent affects 75% of our daily emotions. Scientists believe that our sense of smell ties directly into our limbic system, the process responsible for our memory and feelings – which is what makes it so powerful. It is why I am so obsessed with scent – a wonderful scent, combined with a powerful memory, becomes a marker for that experience.
Some Scents Always Stick With You
Six years ago, my Papa (grandpa) passed away. One of the first things I thought of was the various colognes he wore. I asked around the family and picked up a bottle of each of the colognes he wore over his lifetime (that you can still get). Every time I put one on, I am 12 years old again, getting ready to go out together when we visited Palm Springs, CA.
Each fragrance is similar but feels like a different era of visiting him. I can’t even put my finger on the exact details, but I know it’s not the same memory. Scent is a powerful tool!
The Business Impact
Scent can write an experience deep into your memory. If you run a business with an in-person experience, this technique isn’t just for fun.
“…a study run by Nike showed that adding scents to their stores increased intent to purchase by 80 per cent, while in another experiment at a petrol station with a mini-mart attached to it, pumping around the smell of coffee saw purchases of the drink increase by 300 per cent.” The Independent UK
Years ago, we did work with a startup sporting goods store. One of our ideas for our client was to invest in scent marketing. Imagine you are walking down the central street downtown, and you pass the smell of dirt and grass. You look over, and there is a brand new store with the top-of-the-line gear you want and need to play football.
We wanted to tap into the great memories players had playing the games they love. Unfortunately, our client didn’t quite share this vision for their strategy.
If you are telling a story, you start with the five Ws. If you are building a retail experience, start with the five senses. You may not address them all, but tailor your unique experience to as many as you can.
How can you use scent to change your customer’s experience? A small change can make a big difference.