Using Smell to Sell

This article is great if you are in retail or restaurants. Customers are so sensitive to various smells when shopping. It is a powerful edge. I can still give you an account of what different restaurants smell when I visit them. I guess thinking of food directs the senses and makes them keen.


via by Rita McGrath on 5/12/09

It never fails to astonish me how adroit companies can innovate to improve customers’ experiences in ways that make me ask, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Among the best types of these innovations are those that improve a particular ‘link’ in a customers’ experience to make it better by making more pleasant, less inconvenient or just more fun.

So here’s one for the record: UK parking-garage firm NCP has explored new technology that can actually make the stairwells in parking garages smell nicer, instead of smelling like…well, to be honest, I’d rather not go into what they smell like, exactly. But now they can smell like roses, fresh bread, or something else pleasant. Not only that, but according to web service Springwise, NCP has taken the idea a step further and will be allowing their customers to vote on the fragrance they prefer. They have a web site dedicated to the purpose: If it works in the first few test markets, they are considering rolling it out across all their properties.

Actually, including pleasant or distinctive smells in the customer experience is a tactic that has been the subject of some experimentation already. Westin uses scent to distinguish its lobbies. Some movie producers are reported to be experimenting with little whiffs of scent released during appropriate scenes. (Hmmm — not too sure about that one…haven’t we tried that before?) And of course, real estate agents have long suggested infusing your house with pleasant smells to make it more appealing to buyers.

How else might we use scent to woo customers with their noses?


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