New Technology Increases Scent of Shopping
No fewer than three industry
spokespeople have recently issued puffs (pun intended) agreeing with the British
queen of shopping Mary Portas about the value of scenting stores.
is currently fronting a Secret Shopper series focused especially on customer
experience and how it can (and should) be improved. She is cited by scent manufacturers,
Ambius, as a proponent of the theory behind their products (although not endorsing
the company). Their product is more about “sophistication,” according
to managing director, Jeanette Van Roy, who cited as evidence “retailers
such as Abercrombie and Fitch using their own specially created scents within
their shops to create a complete brand experience.” By diffusing a chosen
scent in specific areas of a store, it can be used to “highlight a special
Canadian “scent technology pioneers” Mood Media
makes similar promises. Its chief executive, Lorne Abony, was quoted in the Daily
Telegraph explaining, “If
a shop smells bad, a customer will walk out. It’s as simple as that. The longer
you can get a customer to stay in the store, the more likely they are to buy.”
Van Roy agrees. “Ambient scenting has been shown to make people stay
longer in fragranced areas, and the longer they stay the more they are likely
to purchase,” she said in a company press release.
Meanwhile, Sue Phillips,
president of Scenterprises, claims they are at the forefront of environmental
scenting. Writing in Glow‘s Spring issue,
Ms. Phillips said, “The Journal of Marketing and Journal of
Retailing and Consumer Services has shown that scent can make shoppers
spend more time and money in a store and make them pay more attention to a
Ambius offers 25 aromas “off the shelf” from chocolate
chip cookie to cucumber mint in addition to creating scents for specific brands.
bestsellers are “Lotus Flower, a floral smell with hints of moss,”
and “Enchanted Apple, which has accents of musk.” That said, Mr.
Abony is targeting banks as future customers, admitting, “We haven’t worked
out the smell of money, but when we do, we know we’ll be onto something.”
[Author’s commentary] I was recently at the Bellaggio Hotel in Las Vegas,
used as an illustration by Ms. Phillips. Not only did I not notice the lavender
scent but judging by the complete absence of customers in the hotel stores,
no one else was seduced by it into making a purchase.
Discussion Questions: What do you think of the potential for scents as part of the shopping experience? Has technology changed and/or improved the likelihood of consumers being influenced by scents in stores?