The Power of Scents In Your Store

Does your store smell? While this may not sound like a good thing, it can actually be a great thing. Scents in stores can enhance brands while also making a more memorable shopping experience. The catch is to make sure you use scents in your store the right way versus the wrong way.

[tweetmeme]The key to doing this is to first understand that scent should be an incorporation of your marketing strategy. Without it complementing a marketing plan, it can be too bold on it’s own. Customers should never walk into a store and smell first rather than see first. Their immediate reaction should be made by your entire ambiance or a specific display that draws attention to a specific product – not the smell of your store. This would mean your smell is too powerful. Instead, you want it to blend into the entire environment of their shopping experience.

The next important thing to remember is that some scents can can be “labeled” negatively. Because scents create messages that impact impressions, you want to avoid any scents you believe may have a stereotype that would not compliment your store image.

Finally, if you stay consistent with one smell in your store, customers will begin to identify that smell with your business. This can be great if they have the opportunity to smell your scent somewhere else and think of you. In addition, it may be an experience they look forward to having every time they visit your store. Either way, make sure you find one scent that you believe captures your store image while also blending in with your other marketing objectives.


  • Susan
    June 3, 2010

    Great article. My works have recently commented on my workroom fragrances. In the store, we use use air fresheners and sprays with the same scent. Customers have commented on how great the store smells. Even their kids will say “it smells good in here.” I have to have scents and the air fresheners are very mild in strength. We have recently purchased essential oils and mixed with distilled water to spritz the store every now and again. We choose to use fragrance to relax the senses and the customers. But, I do like your memorable idea.

  • Nicole Reyhle
    June 3, 2010

    Thanks for the feedback, Susan. We’d love to know what scent you use that your customers love so much! Thanks again.

  • Patrysha
    June 3, 2010

    Do you happen to know what scents are most appealing? Or does it depend on the target market? I wonder if there any published studies on those sorts of things.

  • Harald H. Vogt
    June 4, 2010

    Yes, there’s plenty of published studies. They are on our web site
    Harald H. Vogt
    Scent Marketing Institute, Scarsdale NY

  • Brenda
    December 2, 2010

    I think that Anthropologie is using this scent marketing in a way that is too strong. The scent is over-bearing and I actually can only shop there for a brief time before getting a splitting headache. They use candles to deliver the scent and ambiance for their customers. I just wish that they would tone it down with a less intense scent.

    Abercrombie & Fitch stores also do the same with an intense scent. Theirs is cologne that they spray directly on the clothing throughout the store. My kids love the smell of their new clothes when we bring them home, I’m just happy the scents wash away when laundered.

  • Melissa E
    April 14, 2012

    A number of my clients have had success in their retail stores using Vanilla based or Tropical fragrances. Sugar Cookie and Baked Apple Pie are also popular choices for Real Estate Agents to use at open houses.

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