With the holiday season upon us, many retail stores are facing the inevitable drop-off of in-store traffic in favor of online shopping. Factor in the constant struggle to differentiate one’s brand from the competition, and the increasing focus on crafting an outstanding in-store shopping experience begins to make more sense.

To distinguish their in-store experience from the competition, many retailers are placing great weight on the use of experiential marketing tactics, such as the application of branded music and holiday scent marketing. While science has long proven the use of scent to be effective in influencing customer purchasing behavior and driving increased sales – new research has shown that the most effective scents may not be the most complex.

In a recent article on the matter, scent researcher Eric Spangenberg was quoted as saying, “ambient scent may lead to an enhanced subjective experience for retail shoppers; the time consumers spend examining merchandise, waiting in lines, or waiting for help may be made to seem shorter than it actually is by introducing ambient scent into the environment.”

However, Spangenberg explains that the most effective fragrances tend to be those with more simplified notes. For example, instead of choosing a complex Christmas fragrance, such as that of mulled wine, stores may do well to choose a more simplified version of this scent – such as one which focuses on the strongest element or note of that fragrance, such as cinnamon.

Spangenberg’s research concludes that customers respond to more simplified fragrances by spending more in the store. In fact, his findings reported a 20% increase in overall purchases, when compared to those made by customers challenged by complex olfactory stimulus. According to his experiments, the most important element was not presentation of a complex fragrance – it was the selection of a fragrance congruent with what a customer expects from their experience.

The key takeaway from Spangenberg’s findings is the importance of focusing on simple holiday scents that call up fond memories of past occasions, while using the simplest olfactory elements. Spangenberg also notes that it is important to pay close attention to the audience you’re trying to engage.

For example, a retail store which caters to men may want to focus on invoking the essence of the holiday season through use of more masculine notes, such as the scent of fir. On the other hand, a retailer focused on sales to female customers might choose a fragrance with more feminine tones, such as vanilla. Doing so, savvy retailers can ensure that their holiday scent marketing efforts will drive customer engagement, as opposed to alienating their target audience.

When in doubt, Spangenberg advises to keep the focus on creating a great customer experience with refreshing scents. Any focus retailers place on improving their environment through scent is positive, and can help lure customers away from shopping online. “You feel good about being there,” Spangenberg says, “and you want to go back.”

The irony of finding a simple holiday scent for your business is that such a task isn’t always so simple. However, working with a brand marketing expert like Mood Media makes it easy to find that perfect holiday scent. When you work with Mood, you can choose from more than 1600 alluring scents, and our dedicated scent specialists will guide you towards the right scents for your business and your target customer. We can even help you create your very own custom scent for a truly unique holiday shopping experience.

For more information on finding that perfect scent, contact the experts at Mood Media, today. We’ll help you elevate the holiday shopping experience and set the right Mood, from the start.

Holiday Scent Marketing