CHICAGO — Deploying scent in-store can enhance the shopping experience, extend the visit and boost sales, though few brands or retailers use it as a marketing tool today.
That soon will change as success stories become more widely known, said speakers on a scent marketing panel here at last week's GlobalShop, the branding conference. A promotional test staged in a department store setting increased sales of one product by 30 percent over a control store, and other research found shoppers will linger longer — up to 40 percent longer — in a scented store than an unscented one.
"Scent has the number-one recall of all five senses," said panelist Christine Belich, vice president of visual merchandising at Sony. The electronics giant infuses a proprietary, citrus-based scent across two zones within 41 of its Sony Style stores. Belich, a former visual merchandiser for Neiman Marcus, said the tactic is all about enhancing the in-store experience, with a focus on female shoppers.
"We knew if we made a positive impression, they would remember us," she added.
Customer response to a scent-based campaign tied to the "Spider-Man 3" movie — and scented sachets packed with online order shipments — reinforced Sony's commitment to its signature scent since first experimenting with it in 2004. "It's part of our DNA now," she said.
Sony does not calculate return on investment in scent marketing, but other panelists said it's measurable.
Richard Weening, president and chief executive officer of Prolitec, a Milwaukee-based company that provides ambient scent solutions, said using aromas to promote scent-based products, such as fine fragrances, delivers a direct ROI through increased sales.
On the other hand, calculating ROI for scent used to enhance the brand image or store experience takes some study, he said, and research shows consumers linger longer in scent-enhanced locations. Shoppers interviewed after visiting stores located in 19th-century buildings with no scent management overestimated the duration of their stays by at least 20 percent, he said. Shoppers interviewed following a visit to a scent-enhanced store consistently underestimated the length of their stays.
"Scent has a 'time compression' impact," Weening said, and that translates to greater sales opportunities and ROI.Russell Brumfield, chairman and ceo of Whiff Solutions, a Clearwater, Fla., marketing company, cited research indicating that scent-based environments can keep shoppers in stores up to 40 percent longer than control stores. "I personally believe ROI is imperative," he said. "Scent is one of the least expensive things you can do," he added, noting that a $100- to $400-a-month scent program that lifts sales a 10th of a percent will pay for itself.
Brumfield said brands already are involved in scent marketing, if only passively and by default. "In a retail operation, you have a scent policy. You just don't know it," he said. "You either decide to actually control the scent in your store, or you don't. Every environment has a smell. It's up to you to take it on."
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews