There’s a good reason scent marketing is becoming incredibly popular: it works. The right scent can evoke powerful emotional responses in your customers, giving them a positive impression of your brand and making them want to linger in your store and spend more money. You can use scent to make your customers feel calm, energetic, nostalgic, happy – or hungry. Companies are pouring time and resources into scent marketing because of the incredible results they get from it. If you don’t believe us, just check out these scented billboards popping up in Australia.
Does simply smelling food make you feel hungry? It starts with the endocannabinoid system. Endocannabinoids are chemicals your body produces naturally. These cannabis-like chemicals and the receptors in the endocannabinoid system are associated with the transmission of messages related to sensations such as pain, anxiety, euphoria, and hunger. It wasn’t until recently that scientists began to understand the endocannabinoid system’s involvement in the coordination of scent, hunger, and food intake.
What they’ve learned is certain cannabinoid receptors, the CB1 receptors, connect the nervous system to the brain structures associated with scent. Feeling hungry activates the CB1 receptors, which activate these brain structures. That’s why our sensitivity to smell increases when we’re hungry – and why smells can intensify our cravings for food. Although humans are not driven by smell as powerfully as animals, we do make many decisions based on smell, and food intake is one of them.
Understanding scent marketing
Using scent as a marketing strategy works largely the same for food businesses as any other business. Companies can harness the power of scent to influence buying behaviors in their customers, particularly when the scent complements the products being sold. The opposite is also true: if the scent in your store has nothing to do with the products you’re selling, it can confuse shoppers and turn them away. For example, you’d choose a soft scent for a women’s clothing store and a holiday scent such as cinnamon or pine for the Christmas season in a retail store.
It works the same way with food businesses. Fill your space with a subtle but powerful scent that coordinates with something you sell, and you’ll spark hunger and cravings in your customers, who will then make buying decisions based on these sensations. Your job is to recreate the sensory experience of eating something delicious and make your customers want it again. When they buy your products, you both win: you make a sale, and your customer receives the pleasurable experience they want.
Using scent in your food-based business
If your business is centered on food or you sell food in your store, your first job when it comes to scent marketing is choosing the right smell. Keep in mind one person’s pleasant aroma is another person’s turn-off, which means you must choose carefully. When it comes to food, you have less of a chance of offending potential customers—not many people complain about the warm, fresh-baked cinnamon aromas wafting from the local Cinnabon or the roasty coffee scent of any Starbucks.
You can create your own hunger-inducing ambience with the right scent. If the foods in your business don’t produce smells that radiate far enough or smell strong enough, that’s okay. With an essential and aroma oil diffuser and the right high-quality oil to diffuse throughout your space, your customers will have the same positive experience.
The businesses that have the most success with scent marketing establish a signature scent their customers come to expect when they walk through the doors. One trick is to avoid “clashing” food scents. For example, Cinnabon recently added more savory items to their menu to boost breakfast and lunch sales – but they were careful to avoid onion and garlic because they create strong odors that would interfere with their signature cinnamon roll scent. Their breakfast sandwiches and maple sausage bites work well because the scents of cheddar cheese and maple syrup enhance the smell of their cinnamon rolls rather than distracting from it.
The best food scents
The right food scent for your business depends on several factors, such as the type of products you sell and who your customers are. At AromaTech, we sell a variety of fruit and food scents to pair with your business goals. Here are some of our favorites.
These are just a few of the essential and aroma oils we offer at AromaTech. Shop our commercial diffusers and wide range of scents to discover the perfect way to scent your business, and you’ll discover the smell of success. Be sure to contact us with any questions or comments!
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