Have you ever walked into a store and been overwhelmed by a strong perfume or fragrance in the air? This is known as 'scent marketing' – like the supermarket bakery aromas entice you to buy cookies and cakes, and scented candles are known to sell houses, retail stores are now using specific scents to complement the atmosphere and feel of a store, but if you're scent-sensitive it can make shopping hard, causing headaches and nausea and even aggravating allergies.
What is 'scent marketing'?
Scent marketing is a technique used by retail stores to add to the shopping experience. Along with things like music, lighting, customer service, visual merchandising etc, scent is used to build a specific 'experience' of the brand and make it more memorable, by pumping it through the air conditioning systems in each store. This is especially used by chain stores to create a consistent brand experience, like creating a signature scent. Unlike odour-controlled places like doctors' offices, retail stores manipulate scents in the air to create a meaningful experience of the brand. This becomes a problem for many scent-sensitive shoppers, especially when more and more people are becoming sensitive to artificial and synthetic fragrances which are strong in intensity. Read more in our recent post about the dangers of toxic fragrance here.
Why are stores doing it?
By choosing an appropriate and enticing scent to filter through the air, stores can influence what you buy (and how much) by affecting your mood and desires. Scent can be used to create a certain mood or atmosphere – for example, fruity or citrusy scents are uplifting and energising, often used in stores having clearances to encourage sales, floral scents are more calming, used in furniture or more high end stores, woody or herbal fragrances complement outdoorsy shops, while coffee and chocolate scents boost appetite in food stores. Scents are often tailored to specific age groups as well, depending on whether a brand's target market is more youthful or mature.
How can you avoid 'scent marketing'?
Now that so many retail stores are using this technique, shopping online in the comfort of your own home is one of the best ways to avoid being hit with an overpowering scent! If you need to go to a physical store, try to shop at smaller local or independent stores instead of the chain stores, as they will be less likely to use this marketing technique. Chain stores have the funds to install special scent air conditioning systems to pump fragrances through the air. If you go into a store that has heavily fragranced candles burning, you can always politely let the salesperson know that you're sensitive to the scent. Many people are becoming hypersensitive to artificial fragrances as they become even more synthetic, so the more people speak up about it, it might be possible to deter stores from using artificial fragrance so much.
Which natural room fragrances do I recommend?
If you're a small business owner or trying to sell your home, there are many natural fragrance alternatives available that won't cause headaches!
ECO. Aroma Essential Oils
Available in individual bottles as well as cost-effective packs, the ECO. Aroma essential oils are ideal for adding to a vaporiser or diffuser to dispel beautiful natural scents through the air, which along with vapour can actually help to purify the air, assist breathing and provide relief from allergies. The Calm and Destress Trio Pack, containing Lavender, Lemongrass and Lemon Oils make delightfully refreshing blends, while the Essential Trio features classic favourites Sweet Orange, Eucalyptus and Lavender for uplifting comfort.
Blisume Scented Candle Vanilla
For a touch of sweetness, the Blisume Scented Candle Vanilla provides a delightfully indulgent scent of Pure Vanilla without being sickeningly sweet. Crafted from Soy wax and a pure Cotton wick, this natural candle releases its soothing fragrance gently and safely, thanks to its pure, non-toxic ingredients.
Vanessa Megan Room Spray - Spice of Life
A blend of zesty essential oils, the Vanessa Megan Room Spray - Spice of Life combines Lavender Oil, Mandarin Oil, Patchouli and Peru Balsam for a relaxing and balancing scent. This light fragrance can be misted around a room or open space to cleanse the air and leave a gentle calming scent behind.