Take a Deep Breath and Prepare to Open your Wallet
Back in the day, as the expression goes, food stores did not have to pipe in artificial aromas. Some of us recall coffee, bread, cheese, candy and, yes, fish and meat. Some more tantalizing than others, perhaps, and no readily available records of whether customers spent (proportionately) more then than now. But at least they were from real products.
Brooklyn, NY-based NetCost Market is using wall-mounted spritzers to entice customers with grapefruit, bacon, focaccia and chocolate fragrances in the relevant departments. Some have produced a faster, greater return than others, according to Angelina Khristichenko, the store’s merchandise coordinator. The New York Post reported her conviction that "fruit sales are probably up seven to eight percent" with "the momentum in other departments growing bigger and bigger."
Customer Juliya Lubin reportedly found the bacon smell "subtle" but said, "It made me really hungry all of a sudden!" Another customer agreed that it made her hungry but said it didn’t make her spend more, while a third expressed concern that one in the fish department "would be awful."
ScentAir, the company providing the machines, explains on its website, "We draw people in. We make them want to stay awhile. We make them want to come back."
There is evidence to support Netcost’s experiment. Introducing a discussion here in February, we quoted Sue Phillips, president of Scenterprises, who claimed to be 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 brand."
In other developments, Liza Eckert reports on deathandtaxesmag.com about a smell-o-vision system being developed by Samsung and UC San Diego. Not quite ready for use at home yet, it may eventually "produce up to 10,000 different aromas." Anticipating mobile apps using such technology, Ms. Eckert also imagines the potential downside of sharing relatives’ scatological humor.
- Sweet smell of success – New York Post
- Brooklyn supermarket resorting to olfactory mind control – Village Voice
- Scientists working to perfect smell-o-vision – Death and Taxes Magazine
- New Technology Increases Scent of Shopping – Retailwire
Discussion Questions: What do you think of the potential of scents as in-store marketing tools for retailers?