Are aromas good sales tactics?

The Lempert Report
August 30, 2013

The Lempert Report believes pleasant food aromas work within the right context.

Fresh bread, coffee, bacon, lavender…. all scents that have long been used by retailers to appeal to wandering shoppers, drawing them in with these wafting aromas. Generally these tactics can work, unless a scent seems forced, overpowering shoppers and causing them to shorten their store visits. The scent needs to feel natural and authentic. The Lempert Report believes pleasant food aromas work within the right context. One idea is for stores to take a thematic approach, connecting shoppers’ mindset and buying missions on particular days. For example, some seasonal examples: • Barbecue aromas for 4th of July • Mexican aromas for Cinco de Mayo • Chocolate aromas for Valentine’s Day • Turkey aromas for Thanksgiving And some everyday examples: • Lavender scent near baby needs Sizzling bacon scent near meats and breakfast foods Beach scent near sun care Done with taste and constraint, these scents could associate the store with, for example, a warmth people feel with babies, or a happiness associated with being with friends and family around specific holidays and events. Such a natural association could be quite effective, suggests research done by Hasselt University and the University of Antwerp that will appear in the December 2013 issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology. The ambient scent of chocolate on 201 participants shopping in bookstores “improves approach and buying behavior toward thematically congruent books,” the study abstract says. When the scent was present, a Forbes account reports, shoppers were: more than twice as likely to examine multiple items and read synopses for multiple books; and more than three times as likely to interact with store staff.