Psychology of Smell and Consumer Behavior

In this article, we talk about the concept of scent and how it plays a role in managing a business, especially in the industry of floristry. From the relationship of the sense of smell with the tendencies of human behavior, we discover the effects that fragrance has on the decision making processes of customers and converting mere window shoppers into actual buyers from the interior of the store.

First, we look at the study of the psychology of smell and how it affects people’s actions and behavior, including their purchases and choices among a wide range of products. Next, we look over a list of common scents and the usual feelings and meanings associated with them, and how they came to be prominent amongst retail and big corporate shops. Finally, we delve into the concept of scent marketing and how business owners use the element of fragrance to improve their marketing and increase their sales rates.

If you are interested in a formal course or want to get certified as an expert on everything related to the industry, we recommend looking into professional bodies and colleges in floristry such as the American Institute of Floral Designers or the AIFD (www.aifd.org), the Society of American Florists (www.safnow.org), the American Floral Endowment (www.endowment.org) and other similar organizations offering programs specializing in floristry.

Scent and Human Behavior

Several studies have discovered that smell is intricately linked to the brain’s specific section for memory, and given that most people retain memories stretching back to their childhood and formative years, scent can affect individuals’ behavior and their decision-making processes. Certain scents can trigger specific memories and thus have a tendency to steer them towards some choices more than others, depending on what memory it brought up.

Because of their especially fragrant smell, flowers have been known to complement a place’s aesthetic and theme. Wedding organizers normally enlist the help of florists to provide bouquets and boutonnieres not just for the visually pleasing appearance but to create floral arrangements that smell as sweet and lovely as the event it is placed in.

Funeral homes usually receive flower ornaments for services in hopes of exuding happier and comforting scents for the family in grief. Romantic dates, anniversaries and proposals especially, are known to make use of the power of fragrance in order to set the mood, leading up to the big question. No matter the occasion, scent is without a doubt an important part of the entire aesthetic and theme with its wonderful mood setting (in some cases changing) effects on people and their behavior.

Some Common Scents and Meanings

From jasmine to chamomile to peppermint, different plants and flowers have a wide variety of meanings associated with them. Here is a list of some common flowers and meanings supplementing them.

Lavender is generally used to induce sleep, and normally prescribed to people who have trouble sleeping, or want to catch a quick snooze during the day. Similarly, jasmine has been proven to help put people in a relaxed state and get to sleep more quickly.

On the other hand, the smell of peppermint is known to energize people and is usually used by gym buffs and runners to evoke more invigorating exercises and routines. In the same vein, vanilla is linked to food cravings; smelling it before a good meal would likely make you hungrier, but getting a whiff of it after a healthy plate would keep you from snatching that tempting candy bar.

Scent Marketing

As established by our discussion of the psychology of smell, different fragrances affect people’s mood and decision-making processes. While a variety of scents do have different effects on different people, there are certain smells that have a widely accepted meaning associated with them.

The types of feelings evoked from these blooms, of course, play an important role in how business owners and retail shop managers layout their stores in order to maximize customer experience and increase their probability of purchasing. As we know, scents trigger specific memories in people. While they may not immediately remember what happened, they are bound to feel exactly what they felt when they first smelled it, and if the scent makes them remember positively related, or happy times in their life, they are more likely to buy.

In fact, studies show that shoppers who wandered into a wonderfully smelling shop are 300% more likely to actually purchase an item or two. Used properly and carefully, scent marketing can increase your conversion rates of onlooking shoppers into actual buyers anywhere from 80% to 300%, like one retail store’s report.

So how do we use it in flower arrangements and flower shops? It’s simple. Set up a meeting with your core team, preferably consulting with a marketing expert (better if you already have one), and lay out your goals and aims for your business. From there, you choose a scent that matches your shop’s overall aesthetic and your target audience. Most business owners invest in scent diffusers (yes, even the big corporately established ones) that spread the preferred scent in every corner of the shop in hopes of getting their customers to buy their products and services.

After that, it’s up to you to keep track of the rates of walk-in customers against the actual purchases made. You will likely notice some customers lingering over certain sections of your store or specific flowers gaining more attention after the introduction of the scent. Your job from then on is to record these instances and make adjustments as you move forward, slowly driving towards your ideal.

REFERENCES:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201506/how-does-scent-drive-human-behavior
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200711/the-hidden-force-fragrance
https://blogs.spectrio.com/the-psychology-of-smell-how-scent-impacts-customers

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