Why the smell of fresh figs could make you spend more on clothes

Article by WebMaster

If you find yourself twitching your nose next time you make a trip to the shopping centre, it’s not just the food court that’s fighting for your olfactories.

Chances are, your favourite boutique may be pumping a scent through the air vents or a diffuser to make you spend more time – and money – there. Scent marketing is still in its infancy in Australia, but more companies are employing it in their arsenal of strategies to lure customers to their physical stores. Andrew O’Keefe, of Melbourne-based Scent Australia, said when customers visit a store, the five senses come into play.

“You can’t compete with smell online. It’s a powerful driver of human emotion and buying behaviour,” he said. Mr O’Keefe said scent marketing had been shown to increase “dwell time”, which usually translates to increased sales. “When anyone walks into a business they should be well aware the brand’s intention is for them to buy,” he said.

Consumer psychologist and Gruen Transfer panellist Adam Ferrier, of media agency Cummins & Partners, agreed olfactory marketing tapped into emotions that could drive customer loyalty and spending. According to scent marketing companies, gyms need fresh scents such as peppermint to mask odours and promote activity. Photo: Supplied
“It helps set a defined space for the brand in the consumer’s mind,” he said. “The downside is it’s hard to activate it outside of the channels you own. A retailer may have a nice smell … but it’s hard for that retailer to remind consumers of that smell in its advertising.”

Mr O’Keefe’s company has worked with big-name brands from Country Road (figs) to Anytime Fitness (peppermint). He said different industries and market segments required different scents to target the right customer and outcome. Vanilla is said to be a gentle, calming scent suitable for aged care facilities. Photo: Marina Oliphant
Fitness and sports centres need freshness both to mask unpleasant odours and encourage an energetic atmosphere, while aged care requires a gentle, soothing scent such as vanilla to create ease and encourage visitors.

When it comes to tailoring a fragrance for retail, Mr O’Keefe said he takes a similar approach to wine selection. “When you are targeting someone who’s refined it will be different to a younger girl. You’d make the perfume for the younger girl sweet. For the older market it’s more of a floral. It’s a little bit of an art, it’s a little bit of a science,” he said.

French retailer The Kooples recently opened in Australia but was unable to import its fragrance from Paris due to customs regulations. Operations manager Ellen Barr explained the company created a woody, slightly masculine but still unisex scent for its local stores. “It’s the first thing they comment on, more than the music more than the marble interior,” she said. “It keeps people in the store longer. It’s emotive. It’s a new brand and helps them engage with the brand subconsciously.”

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