Sunday, November 17, 2013

Holiday Shopping & Scent

A previous post detailed how what you smell can affect what, and how much, you eat. But, did you know that scent can also affect how much money you spend when shopping??

Needless to say, retailers are often happy to take advantage of this fact. I receive a trade journal for retailers, and one article is subtitled, "How retailers can utilize scent to increase sales.'

Of course, the most obvious link comes from the fact that our sense of smell is linked to our emotions and memories, as all 3 of these are processed in the same part of the brain. Shopping is often an emotional experience rather than a financial one, or one we approach without feelings. Memories that scent conjure up can be very powerful.

A device (new to me) called a "scent cannon" can actually shoot scent into a retail environment at pre-determined intervals. One enterprising gas station in California used a scent cannon to project the smell of coffee around the gas pumps as cars approached. This resulted in an increase in coffee sales of 300%!!! 

Scents are carefully chosen. It's easy to eliminate scents that may contain petroleum derivatives, or alcohol, that may cause respiratory irritation, headaches or allergic reactions. Many stores choose "signature" scents that are designed to become associated with their store. Generally accepted as pleasant scents, like lavender, can  help create a positive mood in a retail store, and, increase the likelihood of you parting with cash. A positive mood also makes you more patient in a lengthy checkout line, and, if you smell the scent elsewhere, you may actually think of the store long after your shopping experience. 

Cinnamon scent seems to have a calming effect, and, citrus scents are mood lifting. 

One retailer actually uses a heavy scent so as to keep "older" shoppers, which they define as over 25 years of age, out!!!

Next time you're shopping, pay attention to what you smell. And, be mindful of sticking to your budget! Happy holidays!