When promoting any product, the majority of sales occur when customers are in a relaxed, receptive, and trusting state. If they are tense or guarded, it’s difficult to hold their attention, let alone land a sale. The question is: In the automotive dealership world how do you get customers in the right mood to buy? Traditional answers would likely include: appealing offers, and “sign and drive.” Although these methodologies are important, there is a way to create deeper, more meaningful customer experiences utilizing a new, innovative resource: scent marketing.
Consumers do not buy cars every day or every week, as they do other products, such as food or personal care products, which renders the sale of a single car even more important respectively to company profits. The automotive industry is extremely cutthroat and competitive and car manufacturers and dealerships vie with all their might for consumer attention. Appealing to customers’ sense of smell creates sales opportunities by putting them in the buying mood.
A case study conducted by researchers Roberta Sellaro and Lorenza Colzato of Leiden University, examined the effects of the scent of lavender on trust. In the study, they found that when people were exposed to the lavender scent, they were more trusting with their money. They concluded, “Smelling the aroma of lavender may help a seller to establish more easily a trusting negotiation to sell a car.”
Scent Marketing, Branding and The Automotive Business
Scent marketing (aka scent branding) offers a new but not so obvious element to customer experience and service.
The proper scent in a luxury car showroom, for example, can enhance perception of product quality and confidence, which on an unconscious level, fuses an emotional bond between the potential buyer and the brand. The idea is to create a sensory consumer experience that will live in memory and ultimately, affect sales. A pleasant scent evokes pleasure and often leads to increased “dwell times” in auto showrooms. Scent marketing is a very subtle tool of persuasion that seamlessly affects sales and brand loyalty.
In the car dealership cosmos, it is not enough to rely on traditional measures like an attentive staff, appealing discounts and ‘sign and drive’ promises. Meaningful and intense feelings must be tapped in order to cement that connection between the customer and the sale of a new car. Such a powerful bond can only be achieved by taking into account the type of customer that will enter the showroom and will thereby be influenced by the company’s chosen scent branding.
Consumer Decisions and The Power Of Scent
Our scent-marketing experts understand that the perception of newness and luxury is highly desirable for those seeking a new vehicle and that is why so many showroom cars bear the scents of new leather and carpeting. These scents elicit a positive emotional response in consumers. Negative scents specific to the auto industry include: rubber, wax and paint. They are distinctive and can be unpleasant.
Scents and customer care are fast becoming a new standard within the automobile industry. The idea is to create a fragrance for those who visit an auto showroom that will have the affect of being like the words of Nat King Cole’s iconic love song, namely, unforgettable.
Just as vital as creating that first impression, managers of auto showrooms hope to expand the consumer shopping experience so that it will include: increased ‘dwell time,’ feelings of comfort and relaxation and ultimately, the purchase of a vehicle, which may be at even a higher price when sales are conducted within a scented environment.
Relevant Statistics and Studies
Eric Spangenberg, a pioneer in the study of scent and dean of the Washington State University School of Business, conducted an iconic but simple study in 2012 involving Nike sneakers.
They placed the same shoes in two different rooms; one scented the other not. They concluded that 84% of the customers surveyed preferred the shoes in the scented room. The study also revealed that the sneakers in the scented room sold for an average of $10.33 more than those in the room with no scent.
Another study concluded that in the presence of a simple scent, one group of about 100 people on average spent 20 percent more money, buying more items.
The future of scent marketing is likely to be greatly influenced by innovations brought about by the constant flow of research and advancements in the world of industrial science. The idea of using scent to influence consumer behavior has become an indelible aspect of the standard template for business success, both in terms of increasing traffic and that elusive, all-important bottom line.
If you are a manager or owner of a working auto showroom and suffering from a fall back in sales, consider contacting us today for help in initiating a customized scent that is guaranteed to improve your image, your brand and your sales. By influencing your customers’ emotional responses, you can maximize your brand experience, enhance the selling environment, and ultimately, increase your bottom line.