QB Point of Sale Retail

How Smell Completes The Customer Experience

By Leah Swain, Contributor (Email me here)

Please note, this is post 6 of 6 on using the senses to market more effectively to customers in the retail environment.

We will begin looking at scents, how they can be used to increase sales and assist in merchandising and explore how this might affect employees.  Understand, the effects listed below are generally recorded in trials, however there is always the chance that a person may have an adverse reaction to certain scents.  Not everyone loves Vanilla right? I for one will leave a business if there is vanilla. I is too overwhelming for me.

Businesses serving food or selling fresh baked goods should stay clear of any aromatherapy other than the food smells already present. If another scent is necessary (perhaps you bake at home and bring food in to sell) the only scents you should use are ones that promote the feeling of cleanliness such as lemon grass or citrus.  It should not be so strong as to compete with the food flavors or aromas, as these aromas have their own benefits. The smell of chocolate chip cookies for example relax and comforts most people. Another example might be something in a restaurant smelling like rosemary. Rosemary is said to invigorate the mind, perhaps this could be used in a library to help people focus on their research.  Let’s look at some of the most commonly used aromatherapy scents:

  • Vanilla: (You know how I feel.) Calming, Stress reducing, Warm Scent
  • Cinnamon: Reduces Nervousness, Improves Focus, Relaxing, Warm Scent
  • Citrus: Relaxes, gives feeling of cleanliness, Warm Scent
  • Thyme: Invigorates, Excites, Cool Scent
  • Mint: Invigorates, Excites, Cool Scent
  • Lavender: Relaxes, Calms, Can make you Sleepy, Warm Scent
  • Cool Scents are linked to outdoor experiences and Winter months
  • Warm Scents increase peoples spending.
  • Simple Scents: A Single scent in a space increases spending
  • Compounded Scents: One or more aromas blended together or no scent at all was shown to decrease spending.

Remember to use caution when working with essential oils.  Keep in mind they are very potent and can cause skin reactions if not handled properly.  Also, due to their strength you may need to dilute them, be sure to follow all the safety warnings on the labels. If you plan to use essential oils please know this is a quick reference guide, you should do more research for constant everyday use to protect yourself and employees.

Summing it up

Obviously, there are many aspects to marketing using the 5 senses. But the number one thing you can use is your common sense! You know your business the best. Introduce some marketing strategies about and let them stay for a week or a month, then switch it up and try another way. Don’t forget to use your QuickBooks to your advantage! Run reports to find which things work best and what ways did not work for you. Now Go! Enjoy the adventure of testing out new marketing plans!

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