There is an emerging trend in retail that you have likely encountered during your last trip to the mall. It’s known as scent branding. Retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch have been using this technique for years but it is becoming more apparent in several other retail segments.
The theory behind using atmospheric scent is that smell is considered to be the strongest of the five senses. The olfactory bulb is directly connected to the limbic system in the brain; this is the area that controls behaviour and emotion. (Refer to diagram below) Scents help trigger memories and evoke emotions it can also help consumers associate with a particular brand.
This ambiance tool needs to be carefully used, what may draw one person into the store may repel another! Therefore subtle more neutral aromas are likely more fitting. The scent should also complement the product offering i.e. baby powder fragrance in a children’s apparel store or coconut oil scent in a swimsuit department, which UK retailer Harrods used.
What are your thoughts? Do you think scent branding provides an improved retail experience?