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Scent Marketing Facts: Appeal to Customer Emotions Through Their Nose

Posted by Jim Bruno


Remember walking into a hotel lobby for the first time. 

Whether or not you were aware, your brain picked up several signals from the scents that surrounded you.. You subconsciously made judgments about the safety, cleanliness, and quality of the hotel. Emotions stirred within you that impact your experience for the remainder of your stay.

First impressions matter, not just for the eyes but also for the nose

Businesses looking to attract and retain customers find that decorating with scent is just as important as decorating for the eyes. Scent touches our emotions, helps customers build connections with brands, and can even make people perceive brands as higher end.

Here are 10 facts that show the power scent marketing has for your business.

 1. Scent Generates Most of Our Emotions

It may be surprising, but most of our emotions don’t come from what we see or hear. Research shows that nearly 75% of our daily emotions are evoked by scent. The sense of smell is linked to the parts of the limbic system of our brains that process emotion and learning.

2. People Can Detect Thousands of Odors

The nose is built for an amazingly vast olfactory experience. Scientists believe humans can recognize at least 10,000 different odors. And, since scent is linked to memory and emotion, humans associate fragrances with events, people, and places. Some businesses have used this to their advantage with scent branding or using a custom scent to remind customers of their brand. 

3. Scent Stays In Our Brains Longer 

People remember smells with a 65% accuracy after a year. Our other senses don’t perform nearly as well. The Sense of Smell Institute found humans only recall images with a 50% accuracy rate after only 3 months. Researchers at Rockefeller University found that people hold a short-term memory of only 1% of things they touch, 2% of what they hear, 5% of what they see, 15% of what they taste, and 35% of what they smell.  

4. Smell Impacts the Perception of Time

Shoppers can lose their sense of time when experiencing scent. A Paris study showed consumers thought they spent about 25 minutes in a store that had been scented despite having spent more than an hour in the store. Before the store was scented, shoppers claimed they spent 45 minutes in the store after spending only 40 minutes. 

5. Pleasant Scents Make People Spend More

Hershey opened a store in Times Square in 2018. The smell of Hershey’s chocolate is a huge selling point, but it’s challenging to experience a scent that’s under wraps. After adding chocolate scenting to the store sales jumped 34%. 

A study found that adding scent to some slot machine areas in a casino boosted revenue by 45% over similar areas that weren’t scented. 

6. Combining Sensory Experiences Is Powerful

Scent is powerful on its own. However, it’s best to pair scent with congruent sensory experiences. For example, research shows that combining Christmas music with scents associated with Christmas leads to improved customer satisfaction.

7. Scent Improves Mood

Scents have been used in therapy for nearly 6,000 years. Studies have shown scents have the ability to positively impact mood, as well as stress and hormone levels. 

For example, undergoing a medical procedure is one of the more stressful experiences in life. A study of patients undergoing an MRI found that 64% of those who inhaled a vanilla aroma found their anxiety levels drop before the procedure compared to 4% who didn’t.

8. Quality Scenting Builds Product Value

Nike shoes have long been known for higher-end athletic and collectible footwear. However, luxury scenting can make them seem more valuable to a potential buyer. A study showed that customers were 80% more likely to buy Nike shoes when they experienced them in a scented room.  

9. Scent Helps Build Long-Term Relationships

Experience is now more important to consumers than price. Ambient scenting helps create a positive customer experience that is relaxing or makes them feel safe. Research shows that customers would pay a higher price for exceptional customer experiences. 

10. Simplicity is Best

It’s best to avoid combing a variety of scents to come up with a “super scent.” However, simple scents perform better than complicated scents or no scent at all.

Research shows customers spend an average of 20% more time in a place with a simple scent than a complicated scent. It may be tempting to combine sandalwood, rose, orange, and ylang-ylang to create a scent you think captures a company vibe. Sticking with hibiscus in your scent diffuser machine may work better. 

Create a Lasting Impression With Scent Marketing

Decorating with scent allows a business to create a sensory appeal that connects consumers to their brand. Ambient scenting should be part of the customer experience strategy of any business looking to differentiate itself from its competitors.

Forge a Strong Connection With Your Customers

Rochester Midland Corp. is the exclusive North American service provider for SCENT::LINQ, a premium quality ambient scenting system with luxurious fragrances. Learn how Rochester Midland and SCENT::LINQ can help your business connect to your customers through ambient scenting.


Click to learn more about ambient scenting!

Topics: odor control, Customer Experience, #AmbientScenting

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