The Top 9 Fall Scents To Help Increase Your Retail Bottom Line

Most consumers don’t ever think about what attracts them to a particular window display or to certain sections of a department store, especially during the often-frantic Holiday shopping season. They may be hunting for a specific gift or item, but the aromas they encounter along the way are often strategically aimed to subconsciously trigger wisps of recall in their brains, and as a result, they find themselves potentially purchasing items they never intended.

If you’re a retailer, you know full well (or at least you should) that it’s never an accident when a musky, manly scent wafts from a men’s apparel store or hints of vanilla and jasmine subtly linger above cosmetic and lingerie counters. Each of these scents tap into certain memories and have a unique affect on the consumer behavior of those they come in contact with. The remarkably accurate statistics now showing the power of scent marketing as a tool to further reinforce brand impressions and the so called buy button speak for themselves, and they’re numbers retailers, malls and businesses quite simply can’t ignore anymore.

We recently wrote extensively about the top researched-backed benefits of scent marketing, but the boiled down brief is a slew of recent statistical data supports the fact that properly diffused scents have the ability to affect bottom line. The right scent gently wafting through a retail environment is proven to encourage shoppers to linger longer, invoke a stronger connection with your brand, positively affect purchasing behaviors and so much more. Consequently, more and more businesses are employing the services of scent marketers, along with sophisticated scent diffusing machines, to enhance their retail environments.

But how does a business owner or manager choose the right scent for their shopping interior, particularly throughout the months of October, November and December, when certain aromas require a unique festive approach to fragrance?

This article delves into the burgeoning business of scent marketing, the statistics behind its success in retail environments and presents the top nine scents to help enhance a businesses interior and bottom line throughout the Holiday months.

The Science Behind Scent Branding For Consumer Behavior

Surprisingly, some $300 million is attributed annually to the world wide scent marketing industry, and that number is expected to grow over the next decade or two. This statistic boils down to one very potent fact; smell is considered to be “our most emotional sense” mainly because aromas are always associated with feelings and memories. And therein lies the magic of scent marketing.

According to research conducted by Nobel Peace Prize winners, Richard Axel and Linda Buck, humans have the ability to recall some 1 trillion scents, all of which can suggest memories indelibly imprinted in childhood. Even more, the Global Journal of Commerce and Management Perspective conducted a study in 2013 indicating that ambient scent is the most effective in influencing consumer behavior in terms of emotion, evaluation, desire to return to a store and purchasing habits.

By the way, if you’re looking for help with identifying the right scent for your brand, check our guide to selecting the perfect scent for your business interior.

Scent Marketing, Beauty, Retail and the Holiday Shopping Season

The power of scent marketing lies in both the actual fragrance and the equipment that’s distributing it. Without an effective air diffusion system, the vaporous scent won’t distribute evenly throughout an interior space. Similarly, without the proper scent, a business owner won’t achieve the goals the’ve set for their brand and their end of year revenue.

Instantly, the Holidays invoke rich sounds, imagery and particular associative aromas that we all connect with; scents such as pumpkin pie, the woodsy pine of a freshly cut Christmas tree and the warmth of a crackling fireplace. Rich in pageantry, warmth and color, this time of the year evokes potent memories, both good and bad. Retailers focus on the positive, and capture those golden moments that have slipped away into the dust of everyday life, like sand sifting through an hourglass.

But what scents inspire a kaleidoscope of whirling images and aromas specific to fall and winter? Our scenting experts have created the following list, based upon industry trends, both past, present… and perhaps future.

  • Pumpkin Spiced Latte:  Spicy cinnamon, clove, fruity apple and smooth nutmeg combine to render this complex, autumnal fragrance. This scent is reminiscent of childhood Halloween parties, bobbing for apples, scrumptious holiday pies and joyful family times. Pumpkin is a particularly alluring scent for men. Armed with this knowledge, retail stores catering to men’s clothing and accessories can incorporate it into their seasonal branding strategy.
  • Winter Fir and Balsam:  This fragrant mixture of refreshing natural pine mingled with a sweet peppery and delicate base has a soothing effect on the emotions. It evokes feelings of warmth and comfort. The mind’s eye (and nose) recalls Christmas trees and sleigh rides and happy times by a fireside or even in a small apartment among special friends or family. For a retailer, this scent would fare well in the rest areas of shopping malls where consumers pause with all their packages in between rushed spending sprees. It might also be very effective in hospital waiting rooms and lobbies, doctors’ offices, therapists and/or other service professionals.
  • Gingerbread:  This spicy, sweet, cinnamon, vanilla, clove and molasses blend says ‘something Christmas loving in the oven’ like nothing else in the world. Whether it is a gingerbread house, cookies or other holiday-related goodies, this scent provokes powerful memories of childhood, Christmas wonder and gift sharing. For innovative retailers, this scent might work well in stores offering: toys; kitchen supplies and children’s clothing and cafés and coffeehouses.
  • Sugar Plum:  This tart, sweet, fruity vanilla and jasmine scented fragrance is inescapably feminine, and would create a favorable ambiance in stores featuring women’s intimate apparel, sleepwear, both fine and costume jewelry, lingerie and cosmetics. Its power lies in its subtle suggestion of contentment, which, without being overbearing, affects consumer mood and purchasing behavior. Sweet thoughts of family and happy times immediately connect to the classic poem, The Night Before Christmas and the sentence: “The children nestled all snug in their beds while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.”
  • Warm and Nutty:  Cinnamon, clove, caramelized sugar and vanilla render this subtly complex sweet and spicy bouquet evocative of Grandma’s home-baked holiday meals and scrumptious desserts. While these treats are certain to ensure a trip to the gym the day after the holiday, the scent suggests the message, indulge and enjoy now. This further induces the mood to shop and purchase to the female consumer. Retailers featuring luxury soaps, bath oils and lotions as well as home accessories and appliances geared to enhance women’s lives are likely to see an increase in sales by introducing this scent in the right places.
  • Cornucopia:  This strong, woodsy scent named after the Thanksgiving horn of plenty encompasses the many aromas associated with autumn, harvest and abundance. Appealing perhaps to both males and females, this sweet spicy fragrance is infused with cinnamon, clove, ripe berries and dried autumn leaves.This blend evokes warmth and the sweet smells of home-made pies; cookies; candies; holiday hayrides; apples; cranberries and wildflowers. Retailers might effectively enhance the consumer shopping experience with this fragrance in stores featuring fall and winter clothing for both sexes and possibly home goods where holiday novelties, decorations, and household items are sold.
  • Mistletoe:  Earthy, sweet, woody and spicy, this complex scent is exclusively associated with the Christmas holidays, although its origins are Celtic and date back to the ancient Druids. The unusual fragrance screams the recall of office parties of the past, many of which should probably remain there. Nevertheless, from a retail point of view, this scent might fare well in intimate settings such as cozy restaurants and cafés, florist shops, and offices of all sizes, types and shapes.
  • Hot Spiced Toddy:  Winter’s frosty breath and the festive holiday spirit are completely captured in this provocative scent, which is a blend of mulled fruit, red berry, apple, cinnamon and vanilla. Associated mostly with Christmas Eve, this scent inspires warm memories of holidays past, family times, laughter and intimacy. For retailers, outlets featuring fireplaces; winter sporting gear; heavy clothing and accessories and ski lodges, this fragrance might well improve sales for their products and services.
  • Holiday Harvest:  Memories of snowflakes drifting by a picture window, sleigh rides along the rim of a frozen lake all collide with this potent, spicy mélange of cinnamon, eucalyptus, wintergreen, cloves and citrus. This scent can possibly benefit consumer sales in camera, photography and stationary shops peddling nostalgia with greeting cards, family photos, letters and photo albums.

In summation, smart retailers are quickly learning the new language of scent marketing and how to define and capitalize on their brands. But before they do, they’re asking themselves these important questions: What does my store currently smell like? Is there another scent that might work better? If so, what emotions and memories do I want to evoke in my consumer base? Remember, retailers, merry gentlemen and gentle ladies, before you rest ye, accept the fact that the answer to all these questions ultimately is a matter of dollars and scents.

We have well over seven decades of experience in air freshening systems, scent creation, and helping businesses transform their individual store into a multi-dimensional shopping experience. No matter how big or small, retail stores can benefit from studying the patterns of consumer experiences and customizing their own olfactory marketing strategies.

If you’re retailer, a business owner, air care supplier or distributor, speak with our team today — we can Fed Ex our newly designed Aroma Beam scent diffuser to you along with a preferred scent and have any interior space filled with Holiday cheer within a matter of days, domestically or internationally. Start optimizing your Holiday revenue »

Happy holiday smells to all and to all a good…shopping spree.

“A good fragrance is really a powerful cocktail of memories and emotion.”

― Jeffrey Stepakoff


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