Using scent for sales: Research says keep it simple

You know the ol’ “brownies in the oven” trick — the scent of something freshly baked can make a home feel more inviting. (There’s science behind it, too. Our sense of smell is the only one wired directly to the brain. All the others are processed first, which is why a scent can trigger memories so strongly.)

Annnyway, the Wall Street Journal has a piece (including the requisite “Dollars and Scents” section) on, well, scents and how they can be used to sell.

The idea is this: Simple scents sell better than complex ones.

Homeowners are often coached to create pleasing aromas when potential buyers pay a visit. But complex smells, like baked goods and potpourri, are likely to damp enthusiasm for a fast sale for top dollar.

It’s based on a study of shoppers in Switzerland, where simple and complex scents were piped into a store to see buyers’ reactions.

According to Prof. Eric Spangenberg of the college of business at Washington State University, who conducted the study:

Complex scents, even if they’re pleasant, can be a distraction because some people subconsciously dedicate time and energy to figuring out what the aroma is. At open houses, “they are not there to process the smells. They are there to process whether this is a place they want to live.”

Take-away: Use a pleasant floral or fruit scent as opposed to chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies.

Click here to read all about it.

About Andrew Kantor

Andrew is VAR's editor and information manager, and -- lessee now -- a former reporter for the Roanoke Times, former technology columnist for USA Today, and a former magazine editor for a bunch of places. He hails from New York with stops in Connecticut, New Jersey, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Roanoke.
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