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Marketing is a key strategy for any successful business, promoting products and services and advising customers that your products are better than the competitors. A good marketing manager will know his competition, who his customers are, where they are located and what their buying habits are. Any new way of presenting your products and making them more desirable is a bonus, so the use of scent is another advantage to be investigated.

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Of all our senses, smell is the most powerful and emotional. Scent can attract customers and connect them to a brand, and this will then stay in the memory. Our brain instantly links smell with pleasant or unpleasant experiences, creating underlying levels of nostalgia which can trigger an impulse from buyers. This is a growing phenomenon and is expected to increase dramatically over the next ten years.


There are four distinctive types of smells: aroma is usually associated with the smell of freshly brewed coffee; thematic, which complements the purpose of the place, such as a beauty salon; ambient is subtle and atmospheric; and signature, which is exclusive to create a brand image.


When you are in a store and your senses are suddenly filled with a delightful scent, you will linger in that area and have a look around to determine the source of the perfume, so customers will stay looking at products longer. Scent can also help to create a brand image – for example, hotels have various methods of using scent to make people associate their hotel with good times. Also, scent can create an appreciation of quality – goods displayed in a scented area will sell more easily than those displayed in an unscented area. Scent Marketing can, therefore, help to boost sales through instant emotional reactions.

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How many people can walk past a bakery and not be tempted to go and purchase some of the freshly baked bread or cakes? Retailers are creating an immersive brand experience with scent marketing – for example, Starbucks outlets have dark green and wood décor, soft music and the scent of freshly brewed coffee permeating. Cinema complexes give you the entertainment vibe mixed with the smell of freshly made popcorn. Who goes to the cinema and doesn’t have popcorn?

Scent can positively help influence customers’ behaviour in a retail space.

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