The experience of smell in retail stores

Can we talk about those moments of weakness when you pass in front of a coffee shop or even a supermarket, and the scent of fresh bakery fulfills your brain?

And suddenly you’re fighting the urge to go inside?

But that fight only lasts a few seconds because the fresh bakery smell is too powerful?

I think we all can relate.

Most of the times we are driven by scent, for we are extremelly sensitive to it. It’s said that we can distinguish 10,000 different smells. Unlike our other senses, it travels immediately through various parts of our brain before it is centrally processed.

It’s actually true that smell is the sense most closely linked to memory, for our other senses don’t work in the same way. That’s because smell is the only one directly connect to the brain’s limbic system, which houses emotions and memories.

This is where Scent Marketing comes in. It can be a more powerful and less expensive way to connect with the customer. A fragrance marketing strategy is definitely a must-try opportunity.

There’s a study conducted by the Global Journal of Commerce and Management Perspective back in 2013. It said “ambient scent has the strongest impact when it comes to enhancing consumer behaviour in terms of emotion, evaluation, willingness to return to a store and purchase intention.”

For example, major retailers like Nie found that scent marketing in retail stores increased intent to purchase by 80%. Another experiment was the smell of fresh-brewed coffee at a gas station increased coffee sales by 300%.


Scents have also been proved to persuade customers to stay in retail spaces longer and browse more, improving their sense of quality, creating a warm feeling of familiarity.

To conclude, there’s enough evidence, and a great amount of successul cases, that scents can help positively influence consumer behaviour. And there’s enough low-cost/low-risk solutions that retail stores should start experimenting with Scent Marketing right now.