As winter knocks on the door, it conjures up memories of falling snow, Thanksgiving and Christmas, cozy sweaters, nights by the fireplace, and endless cups of steaming cocoa and cider. As you read that line, did you smell the apple cider or Christmas tree? Could you smell the turkey cooking or the smoky comforts of burning wood? Our memories and olfactory senses are deeply linked in the brain. Unlocking the power of scent could help retailers give a boost to their sales this holiday season.


Capturing the consumer holiday dollar

For retailers, the fall season is all about preparation for the holidays and finding ways to maximize consumer spend. And trust us, there’s plenty of spending happening. Holiday sales in the U.S. generated $707.5 billion in 2018.

According to the National Retail Federation, in the years between 2004 and 2018, American consumers planned to spend an average of just over $1,000 on holiday purchases gifts, decorations, food, and more. In 2018, more than 165 million Americans planned to holiday shop over the weekend between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. Well over half of these consumers 89.7 million shopped both online and in-store, and another 37 million reported shopping exclusively in-store.

With concerns about the U.S. economy heading into uneasy territory, retailers will be looking for additional ways to make their brands stand out and bring consumers through the door. Increasingly, leading retail brands are turning to ambient scenting to differentiate their brand from the competition.


What is ambient scenting?

Ambient scenting, sometimes called scent marketing, is the process of using specific scents to help a business create a sensory experience. For retailers, this sensory experience can help increase footfall, elevate brand loyalty, and increase dwell time. It has even been shown to influence consumer buying decisions.

By leveraging ambient scenting, retailers can create a deeper sensory shopping experience that creates an emotional connection to their brand or products. In the same way that talking about fall images in the first paragraph of this blog may have been tied to scents for many readers, using certain scents in a store or retail environment can create a positive link to a brand or its products.

In the report, The Business Impact of Scent, Premium Scenting found that more than 74 percent of consumers have been drawn into a store because of an inviting smell. The same report found that 60 percent of consumers would make a brand their first choice if it engaged four out of five senses.

But perhaps the most fascinating finding is the ability for scent to actually increase the perception of products. In the book Buyology by Martin Lindstrom, Lindstrom cites an experiment in which two identical pairs of Nike running shoes were placed in two separate, but identical, rooms. One room was scented; the other wasn’t. Consumers inspected the shoes and by a margin of 84%, preferred the shoes displayed in the fragrant room. What’s more, the consumers estimated the value of the running shoes in the scented room to be higher than the same pair in the unscented room by more than $10.


How to incorporate scent marketing into your brand and sales strategy

Scent marketing is not as simple as plugging in an air freshener. Using a scent that is incongruous with your overall brand persona or products could be ineffective or even detrimental. Finding and creating the right scent for your brand is just as integral and strategic as any other marketing tactic.

Many brands utilize high-performing scents such as blue wood, white tea fusion, and fresh clean, to give their sales a boost in-store. The range of scents that can be utilized is extensive, and each has unique properties that can influence consumer perception in various ways.

Distinctive leading retailers are creating their own custom scents to create a unique emotional connection with consumers. This involves working with a scenting partner who has a deep understanding of your brand, customers, and overall goals. Ambius can help you create this tailored scent. Contact us today for a consultation.