Want More Sales? Your Store Needs a Scent





Retail merchants often put a lot of thought into the visuals of their store. Items must be displayed in a way that’s appealing. The store’s color scheme must be carefully selected. Many even take employee dress codes into account.

But there’s another sense that can be incredibly important to the retail experience. Scent can add ambiance to a store environment. And studies have shown that, in certain circumstances, it can even get customers to stay longer and buy more.

So, if you want more sales, your store needs a scent.

Jennifer Dublino, vice president of development at ScentWorld Events, a trade group for the scent marketing industry, told Quartz:

“Smell is one of the most unique of human senses. Scent enters the limbic system [of the brain] and bypasses all of the cognitive and logical thought processes and goes directly to the emotional and memory areas of the brain. There’s an instant effect on the customer.”

In a study published earlier this year in the International Journal of Marketing Studies, customers confirmed the hypothesis that scent can impact behavior. Researchers stated that customers “felt greater pleasure and stimulation, expressed intention to revisit the store and spent more in a scented environment than in an unscented one.”

This doesn’t mean that you have to go out and buy overwhelmingly strong air fresheners to cover every square foot of your store. There are companies that actually specialize in helping stores use scents to increase sales.

Companies like ScentAir help stores create fragrances that best fit with their image and objectives. To do this, they try to learn as much as they can about each store – including their clientele, store material and sales interactions.

The objective is to create a scent that is completely unique to each store. But also to not overwhelm visitors. After all, you’re not trying to attack the senses of each person who walks through the door. But instead, just create a welcoming environment that makes shoppers feel comfortable, happy, and ready to shop.


Flower Shop Photo via Shutterstock

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Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

10 Reactions

  1. Very interesting and a unique post shared! Loved reading it.I agree with you that fragrance does matter especially in a store. A good fragrance gives a welcoming environment.

  2. Aira Bongco

    This sense is especially important in the food industry. Some people buy food just on scent alone. Take Jasmine tea for instance. It does not taste like anything but it smells so good.

    • Annie Pilon

      I love jasmine tea! And yes, it would certainly be important in the food industry, though probably for different reasons.

  3. A unique smell? Such an interesting idea and I get the logic behind it, but seems like overkill.

    • Annie Pilon

      That’s what I thought too at first, but smell can be so important to creating a welcoming atmosphere, so could be worth it.

  4. Apart from obvious places (perfume shops, soap shops, Body Shop), I can’t think of places where I’ve noticed a scent (maybe that’s the point! Maybe it’s subtle). I recall places that have smelt unpleasant though.

    • Annie Pilon

      I think it is supposed to be subtle – just enough to contribute to an overall environment/feeling, but not enough to overwhelm.

  5. Offices, medical offices, department stores, car agencies, brands … anyone can benefit from olfactory marketing. There have been hundreds of studies to test their effectiveness at an unconscious level and all have been successful. Here you can read more about this research: http://www.marketing-scents.com/concept

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