The Top 8 Best Scents for Retail Stores

October 15, 2020 3 min read

The Top 8 Best Scents for Retail Stores

Scenting your retail store has many advantages which we’ll be exploring in depth below. But it can still be hard to determine what the best scent is for your store. The choice will ultimately depend on a variety of factors: your products, desired atmosphere, main customer demographic, etc.

To help make scenting your store easier, we’ve decided to reveal our favorite scents for the retail store environment. We also discuss important scenting strategy differences based on what kind of customer you’ll be scenting your store for, and how to effectively scent your store once you’ve decided on your fragrance

Before we get started though, if the idea of scenting your store is completely new to you, let’s discuss why you may want to consider it.

Why Scent Your Retail Store?

Many businesses know that visual displays, music, and other sensory stimuli are effective marketing and customer retention tactics. Yet these same businesses all too often ignore the most powerful human sense of them all: smell.

Not only is smell our most powerful sense, it’s tied intricately to the emotional centers of the brain, and thus has the most sway over our mood and memory. So if visual and auditory stimuli can improve customer experience, imagine how much that same experience can be improved if more businesses actually capitalized on smell and fragrance

Not only does the logic of scent marketing for retail make sense, but more and more the science is now catching up to support it. Inone study, two identical pairs of shoes were placed in two identical rooms. The only difference? One of the rooms was scented with a floral fragrance. The study found that 84% of customers preferred the shoes in the scented room. As an added kicker, the customers also estimated the shoes’ value to be an average of $10.33 higher than the same exact shoes in the unscented room.

Who Are You Scenting For?

Before you start scenting your retail store, it’s important to get clear on what kind of customer you’re trying to appeal to. Eric Spangenberg is one of the premier researchers on how scent can affect retail consumers. The results of one of his studies make it clear that, in order to achieve optimal results, scents should suit the preferences of the primary gender demographic that shops in your store.

In the Spangenberg study, this “gender-congruent scenting” involved diffusing traditionally feminine scents such as vanilla around female customers. This scenting strategy resulted in a doubling of sales in women’s clothing stores. In the same study, sales of men’s clothing also rose when stores utilized masculine scents like patchouli and rose maroc around their male customers.

The key takeaway here is to choose a scent that fits the preferences of your ideal, or frequent retail customers

The 8 Best Scents for Retail Stores Revealed

Another study by Spangenberg revealed thatsimplescents are the most effective for increasing sales rates. The idea is that you want the scent to be subtle and simple enough to be easily processed, so that the customer’s mind is still free to focus on their shopping and browsing experience.

Thus, an ideal scent would be simple in nature, while evoking positive feelings and experiences, without being overly complex or distracting

Some great fragrances that fit these criteria are:

Diffusing seasonal fragrances at the appropriate time of year can be another effective strategy to boost retail sales.

Effective seasonal scents include:

The Best Way to Scent Your Retail Store

Now that you know the best scents to employ in your retail store, it’s important to scent your location in the most effective way possible

Candles and room spray, while they have their place, will likely not be strong enough to evenly cover the entire surface area of your store, especially if it’s rather large. Reed diffusers, while convenient and low maintenance, can oftentimes suffer from this same drawback

Because of these shortcomings, we typically recommend ahigh quality, cold-air nebulizing diffuser. You can browse our selection to find one that perfectly fits the size of your retail space. The nice thing about these machines is that with our fragrance control technology, you can raise or lower the intensity of your scent whenever you choose - allowing you to perfectly dial in your desired fragrance levels

You can read more about our cold-air nebulizing diffusershere.


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