Air Aroma talks to Inside Retailing

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Common scents can add to the in-store experience

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Retailers have known for decades that a shopping experience should be a complete experience.
This is in particular true in the current climate of uncertainty and financial hardship. Consumers are looking at retailers to offer an escape from the daily grind. A place where they can loose themselves and feel happy about themselves.

Just imagine how disappointed they would be to find out that the store is noisy, sales assistants are uninterested and on top of that the store smells like a wet dog.

I don't think they would come back to the store once the economy picks up again.

Fact 1: Our sense of smell impacts 75% of our daily emotions and feelings

Fact 2: The first 15 seconds of a consumers' shopping experience largely determines how they feel about their overall shopping experience.

No wonder that retailers around the world team up with specialist companies to create the perfect shopping experience in their stores by diffusing quality fragrances.

Although scent marketing in its current form is a relatively new marketing discipline, thanks to the progressive and innovative nature of the retail industry retailers around the world are fast embracing scent marketing as a standard brand requirement.

Often they have fragrance diffusion specialists create an exclusive signature fragrance for a retailer or retail chain that perfectly matches their brand identity. Another advantage is that it truly ties in the audio-visual and tactile cues in the store to create a complete story and address all senses.

How contradictive it may sound, in particular during the current global economic downturn retailers are looking for ways to stand out and provide the most complete experience to their consumers. Diffusing an exclusive fragrance that leaves a lasting impression with their guests is no doubt the most powerful way to do this.

A good example of a retailer in Australia who has implemented scent marketing is Peter Alexander. Walk into one of their six larger stores (e.g. Chadstone in Melbourne, George St in Sydney) and you are immediately taken into ʻPeter's World'. Quirky visual merchandising, friendly staff, hip music and a subtle scent lingering in the background to complement the overall ambiance.

Peter Alexander has even gone one step further by diffusing four different fragrances throughout the day to create four slightly different experiences. Whatever time of the day it is however, the scents always match the overall Peter Alexander story and what the brand stands for.

When it comes to technologies used to diffuse scents, many different options are available.

From oil burners and candles to spray cans and fan-forced units with gels. These methods all work to a certain degree, but either pose a fire hazard or are only effective for a short period and don't offer a consistent scent output.

Cold-air diffusion is the way to go. Under pressure of filtered cold air, a fragrance oil is dispersed into a dry mist of microscopic small droplets, often smaller than 2.0 micron (by comparison, a spray can produces droplets of between 50-80 micron). This dry mist of fragrance then mixes with the air in the store (either via the HVAC or straight into the air) to create the perfect ambiance. Another key advantage of using this technology is that it preserves the properties and quality of the fragrances and ensures an even scent.

* Marijn Kortekaas is Commercial Director for Air Aroma International.

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