While many retailers in Australia are aware of the affect music can have on their customers, most have failed to grasp the new sensory retail trend taking consumer-based industries by storm – smell.

Scent is hailed as the latest initiative in influencing and encouraging customers to feel comfortable instore, making them more likely to stay inside and purchase something.

On February 25, American scent branding company 12.29’s Business Director Samantha Goldworm spoke to Inside Retail about the power of scent in retail design.

“Scent is becoming that next step. It’s the strongest link to our memory and emotion,” she explained.

“You can create an emotional connection with a customer through their nose and take branding to the next level.”

This isn’t a new discovery either. Over the past decade major brands, such as Abercrombie & Fitch, have developed their own scents or found other ways to embrace this retail trend.

However, the direction this company’s branding strategy is heading now is a more subtle approach to scent.

“When music was first introduced it was very loud. You had a band playing but now it’s a background consideration. Scent is the same,” Ms Goldworm said. “Abercrombie & Fitch was the first to push it to the limit with a smell that you could recognise from the street.”

“Now scent is becoming more subtle and in some cases it’s become more of a general feeling.”

A smell-based retail design can be particularly beneficial for businesses operating in locations with strong, unfavourable exterior scents, such as traffic pollution on main roads or industry smell around farm land.

However, Ms Goldworm advises retailers to be careful. It is important for scents to matched correctly with the brand or products featured in your store.

This will help consumers associate the scent with your business if and when they come across it outside of your store. Additionally, certain scents may not be appropriate for particular brands, due to provoking a mood or emotion not easily attributed to your store.

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