What is Scent Marketing? Will it Benefit You?

scent marketing infographic 2021

Scent is evocative. Ephemeral. Elusive yet unforgettable. Your nose captures the unseen world around you, often below your level of awareness. What do you smell right now? 

Each day there are invisible scent molecules swirling around you, shaping your decisions subconsciously. Scents are constantly etching memories of your experiences into your brain. You won’t even realize it until one day you encounter the smell in another time and place and you’re instantly transported back to a memory. Has that ever happened to you?

Chances are, it has. Studies show that people can remember a scent with 65% accuracy after one year. When molecules for a pleasant smell enter the olfactory system, the brain’s reward center is triggered, leading to an overall higher level of pleasant feelings. Essentially, good smells make us feel happy. 

“Essentially, good smells make us feel happy.” 

Scientists are realizing that smell is more important to our well-being than previously thought. Scent improves our social, emotional, and cognitive well-being. 


Why is scent so powerful?

It’s no coincidence that the holidays are scented. A North Carolina State University Food Scientist agrees, saying, “The aromas in these holiday products are crafted to trigger emotions and feelings.”

Smells can have significant effects on our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. This is because our scent receptors communicate directly with the emotion and memory centers of our brains, bypassing our logic centers. 

Did you know that smell influences 75% of the emotions we generate everyday? 

“With the right smell, you can create an emotional and extremely deep relationship between your brand and your customers.” – Martin Lindstrom, “Brand Sense: Build Powerful Brands Through Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight, and Sound

scent marketing in retail

Do Scents Make Business Sense?

Simply put, scent leads to connection. Think about your grandmother’s favorite perfume. Have you ever encountered it on another person, at another time, in another context? Your brain will still bring up memories of your grandmother. 

Businesses have discovered powerful techniques for evoking a similar emotional response to their stores and products. It’s called “scent marketing”.

Scent marketing is a type of sensory marketing focused on the strategic use of scents with the ultimate goal of influencing the consumer’s behavior. When businesses can form an emotional connection with customers, just imagine how much that benefits them!

Benefits of Scent Marketing

scent marketing infographic

Every industry, from hospitality to healthcare, can benefit from scent marketing. 

According to a Baylor University study, good scents improve how customers view service quality, service experience, and service value. 

For maximum effect, research shows that the scent you diffuse should be congruent with the brand image. Congruent scents improve guest satisfaction, intention to revisit and perceptions of the product and service.


  • Causes customers to linger up to 40% longer
  • Customers spend up to 20% more in scented spaces
  • Improves customer loyalty
  • Makes memorable experiences for customers to keep them coming back
  • Builds trust & familiarity between customers & your brand
  • Offers feelings of comfort
  • Strengthens connection with your customers


We’ve reviewed studies of scent marketing across the globe. Get inspired by these interesting examples of the scents of success!

  • Studies by SMI and author C. Russell Brumfield show that floral and citrus scents can influence people to linger as much as 25 to 40 percent longer in stores.
  • A UK based company proved that retailers can increase sales by up to 19% by using scent in their stores
  • An appliance & electronics store reported 33% increase in sales by adding apple pie & sugar cookie scents to their sales floors
  • The Journal of Environmental Psychology featured a Belgian project where researchers monitored customers in bookstores with and without a chocolate scent. When the scent was present customers were twice as likely to examine multiple items; twice as likely to ready synopses for multiple books; nearly three times as likely to interact with store staff; and less than half as likely to seek out one item and go directly to the register.
  • Nike found that scent marketing increases their customers’ intent to purchase by up to 80% in-store, while a gas station saw coffee sales increase by a whopping 300% when they started using the scent of fresh-brewed coffee to entice customers.
  • In the mid-90s, Dr. Alan R. Hirsch conducted an experiment with scented and unscented slot machine areas in a Las Vegas casino, and found that the amount gambled in the scented area increased by more than 45%.
  • A convenience store that started pumping the smell of coffee near the gas pumps saw coffee purchases increase 300%.
  • In one study, two identical pairs of shoes were placed in two identical rooms (one scented with a floral fragrance, the other not). By an 84% margin, customers preferred the shoes in the scented room, and estimated their value to be on average $10.33 higher than the identical shoes in the unscented room.
  • Researchers from Northumbria University found that subjects performing various information processing tasks did so faster and more accurately when their cubicle was diffused with of rosemary essential oil.
  • Volunteers in one study performed puzzle-solving tasks 17% faster after exposure to floral fragrances.
  • People can remember a scent and its related memory with 65% accuracy after 12 months, while visual recall was only 50% accurate after just four months.
  • Researchers from Washington State University and the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland found that customers spent on average 20% more in the presence of a simple scent (such as orange) than in the presence of either a complicated scent (such as orange-basil with green tea) or no scent at all.
  • Takasago, Japan’s largest producer of fragrances, found that those who work with computers made 54% fewer typing errors when the workplace was scented with lemon, 33% fewer errors when they smelled jasmine, and 20% fewer mistakes with lavender in the air.

How Well-Known, Successful Businesses Use Scent

  • Samsung pumps the scent of honeydew melons into its flagship store in New York
  • Burger King – The hamburger chain is another of the great examples of Olfactory Marketing that has been. Burger King uses its ventilation ducts to arouse the sensation of hunger among its visitors.
  • Rolls Royce perfumes the smell of leather and wood inside cars when a customer takes their car to an official workshop of the brand. In this way, the customer has the feeling of a brand new car rather than taking it out of a workshop. Their success has led a large number of second-hand car dealerships and workshops to follow suit.
  • Disney uses scent to improve user experience in the park with nebulizers that gave off the scent of popcorn in the street and used scents of gunpowder and burned rubber to add realism to the shows
  • Dunkin Donuts – one of the most successful campaigns in the history of olfactory marketing; programmed nebulizers with a coffee aroma in several buses in Korea while their kindle played on the bus radio in the mornings as people were travelling to school and work; improves coffee sales by 29% and increased visits up to 20%
  • A home-improvement chain in Germany discovered that customers began rating their salespeople as more knowledgeable after they started pumping the scent of fresh-cut grass into their stores
  • Hugo Boss uses a “musky smell with a little bit of citrus” to make customers feel more at home.
  • Hyatt Place has been using since its inception, in 2007. Its unique “Seamless” signature scent delivers the sensation of welcoming elegance and calm through a blend of fresh blueberries and light florals on a base of warm vanilla and musk.
  • Nivea tested scented ads within movie theaters. Ad recall was 515% higher for moviegoers who experienced the scented version.
  • Hershey boosted sales of their Kisses by 300% by pumping the scent of milk chocolate in the vicinity of vending machines.
  • The Lemon Tree group of hotels have a very citrusy scent on their properties because they use the smell of lemon.
  • The Las Vegas Hilton upped gambling volume by 50% with the addition of a floral scent on the casino floor.
  • Pandora – Jewellery brand Pandora introduced ambient scenting in its stores to enhance the shopping experience and create a great atmosphere.
  • Caesar’s Palace, for example, uses a beautiful, light, rose scent with hints of green woods and citrus and reports have shown that scents entice gamblers to stay, play and completely relax.
  • United Airlines uses a signature scent of orange & fir tree by pumping it into their jet bridges, member lounges, and even in their hot towels on premium cabins

Scent Marketing Isn’t Just for Huge Corporations

We make the benefits of scent marketing easily and readily accessible by your business. We can help you select the best scent for your spaces, get rid of any odors, and provide full scenting services so you never have to worry about switching or refilling fragrances.

Give us a call at 225-302-5570 for more info or contact us online at www.aerowest.com/contact-us