Boost year-end sales with the lingering scents of Christmas.

It’s that time of the year again – Christmas trees are up and glistening in tinsel and flickering lights. Christmas music fills the air and window displays are beautifully dressed to encourage the festive spirit. The festive season is upon us, and if you’re a store owner – whether it be online or a brick and mortar store, you know it’s time to pull out all the stops and pull up your Christmas stockings to get shoppers interested in your goods and services.

According to Vian Chinner, a South African innovator and data scientist “A significant portion of retailers’ annual profits are attributed to the festive shopping season – from Black Friday to the weekend before Christmas Day – which generally spans over about three weeks.”

But with massive festive season specials, rapid growth in online shopping, and pervasive Christmas marketing, it’s no wonder retailers are having to rethink their sales strategies to get shoppers in their stores. What is it that customers are looking for? Studies show that now more than ever, shoppers are craving an experience. According to Mark Vogel, industry expert and brand manager at Avant Marketing Group, “The end product, what you take home in the box, is almost irrelevant. It’s the experience.”

A great in-store experience can be created by offering exceptional customer service, well thought out product displays, rewarding regular clients, or just a great in-store soundtrack. But there’s something that is often neglected, and one of the most important factors that can positively influence the customer experience – scent.

How scent sells

Smells are linked to early life experiences stored deep in our memories. According to an article written by Proflowers, “certain scents that are highly prevalent during the holiday season evoke feelings of nostalgia—the sensation of reflecting on or longing for the past and past experiences for which we have much affection.”  Those who have happy memories of the holidays will recall those same positive feelings from simply experiencing the same scents of the season.

Scent is so closely connected to our brains that different smells form associations, evoking feelings and memories easily. Most of the time, we base our decisions on emotions — not facts and figures. This means we can use the power of scent to not only entice customers in but to evoke holiday nostalgia and increase sales by selling emotions rather than products.

Research has demonstrated that ambient scents increase positive product ratings by 25%. Moreover, customers will linger 40% longer in scented areas, and scenting can increase purchase intent by 80%.

The scents of Christmas

Since the Christmas holidays only come once a year, it’s the tradition we like to be reminded of, and holiday scents are often tied closely to your favourite traditions.

Scents that remind us of Christmas include:

  • Mint
  • Roast meat
  • Ocean breeze
  • Sunblock
  • Pine
  • Gingerbread
  • Christmas cake
  • Oranges and cloves

The opportunity to enhance a retail environment is never more appropriate, accepted and expected, than during the festive season. So if you want your customers to feel good about being in your store this festive season, then scent is the perfect tool to create that perfect atmosphere.