A research group recently published a study they did on the emotional effect of scent. They measured the galvanic skin response, like that used in a lie detector test, to determine individuals’ emotional reaction to scent.
The study tested 50 people, split into a test group and a control group. All participants were given six different multisensory virtual reality experiences, ranging from calm to exciting. The test group experienced the VR with appropriately paired scents, such as a marine sawgrass scent with a beach scene, while those in the control group did not have any added scent.
Overall, the scent provided a 38% average increase in emotional engagement than in the unscented situations. For both the calm scenes and the exciting scenes, the scent resulted in an immediate spike in emotion. But for the exciting scenarios, this faded over time while in the calm scenarios, the emotional excitement built over time.
The researchers concluded that the participants’ emotions were already being stimulated by the visuals in the thrilling VR scenes, so the relative effect of the scent was reduced.
What does this mean for you?
If you have a quiet, calm environment, then you will get results with a single scent. However, if your environment is filled with other sensory stimuli like loud music or talking, bright light and colors, you can introduce different scents periodically to further stimulate your customers and keep engagement high.
If you have a large space, especially, think about using scent to non-visually separate it into different zones with different products or purposes. For example, a bank in Columbia used one scent for its retail customers in the teller area and a different scent for the personal banking area.
However you decide to use environmental scenting, make sure that the fragrance you choose matches the environment. So you might use a baby powder scent in a baby clothing store or green tea in a spa. Using the kind of scent that “goes with” the environment makes it much more effective.
To find out the best way you can use scent to engage with customers on an emotional level, contact Air Esscentials today.