Imagine this…

You’re ready to buy a new house.

After spending years saving up for a down payment and scrolling through 1000s of listings online, you know exactly what you’re looking for.

The market in your city is HOT. So your realtor advises you to tour multiple listings. She says that if you’re interested in a property, you should make an offer ASAP.

You see 6 houses in the first week, bid on two, and get outbid both times.

As you open the door to view your 7th property, you feel frustrated but hopeful—maybe this will be ‘the one.’

You walk into the house and are greeted by a familiar smell…

The scent of fresh-baked sugar cookies fills your nostrils.

Suddenly you’re transported back in time. You remember sitting in the kitchen of your childhood home, excitedly waiting for your mom to take the cookies out of the oven.

This memory makes you smile.

You tour the rest of the house and then meet your realtor in the kitchen.

“What do you think?” she asks.

“I love it,” you respond.

“Ok. If you really like it, I suggest making an offer today,” she says. “How much are you willing to spend?”

What do you say?

In today’s edition of Why We Buy, we’re taking a look at Smell—why certain scents can sway us to spend more (or possibly turn us off).

Let’s get into it.


“Top Marketing Newsletters You Need to Subscribe To”

The Psychology of Smell 🧠

You’ve likely heard it said before: our sense of smell is closely linked with memory.

More than any of our other senses, a familiar scent can instantly evoke a flood of memories. If those memories are positive—like baking cookies with your mom as a kid—you’ll feel a flurry of positive emotions.

And if the memories associated with the smell are negative—like getting a whiff of your ex’s favorite perfume or cologne and suddenly being reminded of your painful breakup—you’ll feel a rush of negative emotions.

Studies show that emotion (not logic) is what drives the overwhelming majority of purchase decisions, therefore scent can be a powerful marketing tool.

Inside Your Buyer’s Mind🧐

‘Scent marketing’ is the strategic use of fragrance to drive behavior. The right scent can create an instant connection with your buyers and enhance their experience.

Movie theaters use the smell of popcorn to build enthusiasm. Car manufacturers spritz that “new car smell” to make test drives more enjoyable. Spas use essential oils to create a relaxing environment.

But scents aren’t just a nice add-on—they’re good business. Research shows that scent marketing can raise retail store sales by up to 11%. (Did you just get a whiff of fresh $20 bills when you read that? I did.)

Scent marketing is a subtle tactic that can have a BIG impact.

How To Apply This 🤑

Alright, so how can we apply this right now to sell more?

Use Scents Strategically

Think carefully about the emotions you want to evoke in customers and then devise your scent marketing strategy.

For instance, Cinnabon intentionally chooses locations in shopping centers that are far away from other restaurants. They want you to smell ONLY cinnamon buns as you get closer to their shop, therefore weakening your ability to resist.

Create A Branded Scent

If you want a unique branded asset, consider creating your own custom scent. 

The marketers at Disney understand the commercial value of branded scents. Their famous Pirates of Caribbean ride smells like wet wood and salt air. They even filed a patent to protect their use of ‘scent blending’.

And Bud Light partnered with Homesick, a company that creates obscure fragrances, to create their own Tail Gate scented air freshener

Embrace delegation

Your branded scent could be a fragrance that you use in your business or a custom-made perfume or cologne that only you have.

Use “Flowery” Imagery and Copy

Even online-only businesses can take advantage of scent marketing. When describing your products, consider using imagery and copy that is tied directly to pleasant smells. 

If you can evoke the powerful emotions associated with scents, you can savor the sweet smell of victory as sales come flooding in. (See what I did there?)

The Short of It 💥

Scents evoke powerful emotions. If you want to delight customers and boost sales…it makes good sense to leverage scents.

Until next time, happy selling!



Wanna really get inside your buyer’s head?

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Written By Katelyn

Katelyn Bourgoin is the CEO of Customer Camp, a 4X founder, and a cheese lover. She lives by a simple mantra: whoever gets closer to the customer wins.

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