It’s no secret brick-and-mortar businesses are in transitory period—and they’re having a rough time to figuring out how to get foot traffic. After all, 51 percent of U.S. retail purchases were made online in 2017. What is the best amongst customer retention strategies, particularly for stores? The strategy for retailers—from luxury brands, like Fendi to Mom-and-Pop shops—is to create an “experience” for customers. Dropping items into a cart and having Amazon Prime deliver in a few hours is a sign of the glorious times, when needs can be fulfilled quickly.
But consumers want special moments, beyond the glory of receiving packages in their fuzzy slippers whilst watching Netflix. They want a special interaction when they’re physically in the store. A brick-and-mortar in-store experience needs to trump the comfort of the bathrobe.
Retailers are finding out boosting customer interaction with their brands means higher sales. One method: activating a customer’s sense of smell. The new breed of retailing shops need to be catering to a customer’s every sense: attractive scents, colors, and music. Neiman Marcus and Tag Heuer have customized music playlists for their in-store shoppers. Colors for different industries can mean higher earnings or lost customers.
The senses are coming to reign.
Is scent really that important?
Humans are incredibly talented at differentiating scents, with an ability to recognize over 1 trillion various scent combinations! In fact, science shows that 75 percent of the emotions we exhude or feel are largely influenced by scent. The International Journal of Marketing Studies showcased a study done by Nike. 400 in-store shoppers took a survey about the “pleasant ambient scent” that perforated throughout the shop. The survey revealed that the shoppers opinions about the Nike brand improved, its products, and the likelihood that they would return. For customer retention strategies, scent makes financial sense.
What kind of scent should I put in my store?
That’s a tough question. With over 1 trillion combinations of smell, choice is not lacking. Luckily most business owners aren’t necessarily looking for their office, gym, or salon to smell like wet dog or rotting leaves. This narrows down the option to a few hundred—which is where the process really begins.
Is this industry-appropriate?
What works in a women’s lingerie store may not work in a bookstore or at a nutritionist’s office.
How do you want to customers to feel?
Perhaps you’re a life coach, then choose scents that are relaxing and promote creativity, like lavender. If you want clients to feel energetic and excited, chose notes of orange. Different business owners have different business goals; scent is another tailored tool in helping you reach that goal.
What kind of technology is available or needed to disperse scent?
You could do inexpensive incense sticks and burn a few throughout the day. Or you could do a few cheap diffusers throughout the store and have it release the fragrance every few hours. It’s important to consider how you can control the intensity of the scent. Diffusers may be too strong or too weak, depending.
How does the scent compliment the shop?
Thematic scents match the purpose the store. Think of calming vanilla for furniture stores or lavender for spas. Ambient scents, like Nike’s, means that it’s a generalized pleasant smell that is meant to conceal any weird smells and create a constant in-store scent, whether you’re in the back corner or at the cash register.
Is it worth getting a signature scent tailored made?
If you work in an industry of exclusivity—or trying to make your brand appear more exclusive—a signature scent is a must. Since it’s completely tailored to your aesthetic, customers will instantly feel they’ve stepped into a one-of-a-kind experience. Scent plays a huge role in memory recall; customers may not remember the name of your store right away, but if they remember the smell, that could help fill in the memory space—making your service much more memorable.
Business owners need to step up their game in creating memorable, in-store experiences. The right fragrance could mean more money in the bank, which epitomizes the smell of success.
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