As the fashion industry looks to drive consumers into stores after the pandemic and its significant impact on footfall, optimize physical retail it is increasingly important for the recovery of the industry. After all, 48 percent of consumers said they prefer to shop in person when possible, according to a 2021 Raydiant survey, while 47 percent testify that they spend most of their shopping budget at physical locations on place of digital channels.
Nevertheless, evolution of consumer expectations, shaped in part by the pandemic and its lockdowns, is seeing consumers prioritize experiences and services that are engaging and offer an emotional connection to brands. In 2020, 60% of European consumers wanted to see or touch products in person before buying them, while 50% bought in stores so they could take them home immediately, according to The State of Fashion: Technology BoF report and McKinsey & Co.
These expectations place greater demands on fashion brands and retailers to provide a different physical retail experience.
Last week, BoF and Integra Fragrances, a Made in Italy fragrance brand and service company, co-hosted a breakfast and fragrance workshop with top executives from Armani, Kering, La Double J and Ginori 1735 in Milan. The conversation explored experiential retail tactics, often optimized through innovative technologies and digital touchpoints, as well as the impact of sensory and olfactory marketing in creating a holistic and enhanced brand experience in retail.
In fact, technology allows retailers to increase stores and how consumers interact with products and services, transforming engagement and dwell time. In-store, technology-enabled customers spend up to four times more time shopping.
However, as new technologies offer exciting opportunities to meet consumer expectations in the retail space, many brands and retailers are increasingly looking to sensory tactics as an opportunity to connect with their consumers.
Smell informs about 75 percent of decisions made throughout the day, BioMed Central reported in 2015, and often unconsciously. “Embedded cognition” is the idea that our senses inform our decision-making without our awareness, amplifying each other when congruent.
The “Nike Experiment”, conducted in 1991 by Hirsch & Gay, saw two identical pairs of shoes placed in two identical rooms, one scented with a floral fragrance while the other was not. Results showed that 84 percent of respondents preferred the shoes in the scented room and estimated their value to be on average $10.33 higher than identical shoes in the unscented room.
Scent marketing can actually increase retail store sales by 11 percent and boost customer satisfaction scores by 20 percent, Shopify reported in 2021. Scents can also keep people up to 40 percent longer. percent more in stores, according to a study by C. Russell Brumfield. , James Goldney and Stephanie Gunning in the 2008 book ‘Whiff!: The Scent Communication Revolution in the Information Age’.
The development of an exclusive aroma used throughout the value chain is a brand lever that creates positive associations for the consumer, strengthening their sentiment towards the brand. Olfactory branding seeks to create an emotional bond between the brand and its customers, which in turn helps build loyalty over time.
Additionally, sensory marketing experiences are also powerful, as consumers typically do not perceive them as a marketing tactic and therefore do not react with the usual resistance to advertising and other promotions.
‘Embedded cognition’ is the idea that our senses inform our decision-making without our awareness, amplifying each other when congruent.
As a result, appealing to the senses, including smell in marketing efforts, since it is inextricably linked to memory and emotion, presents an opportunity to increase conversion rates through multi-sensory marketing.
Integra Fragrances works with partners from different industries, from Fendi and Bulgari to Salvatore Ferragamo and the Emirates airline. The company analyzes brand DNA, including values, target consumers and locations, synthesized into a bespoke fragrance by internationally renowned perfumers with whom they collaborate. The scent is then diffused through brand touchpoints and points of sale: stores, corporate spaces, public and private events, scented storefronts, e-commerce giveaways and deliveries, displays, and other brand activations. on a large scale.
Bulgari is an example of a luxury brand using sensory marketing to provide an enhanced customer experience. The Roman brand partnered with Integra Fragrances to deliver its perfumes in the scented windows of the Italian department store La Rinascente, within its latest exhibition with Refik Anadol, in totem dispensers in Milan’s Duomo square, as well as specialized products in VIP gifts, so the brand’s olfactory experience extends into consumers’ homes.
Re-exposing customers to scent in different aspects of the brand experience improves brand equity: the more scent touchpoints, the more opportunities to build and reinforce positive brand associations.
“Experience cannot exist without the olfactory element. The very definition of ‘experience’ is linked to perception through the five senses. It’s powerful because it’s innate, the sense of smell sends multiple signals to our brain, so we need to be careful what and how we communicate through smell, especially with physical stores becoming places that need to fully deliver experiences. immersive, as unique. and memorable as possible,” Integra Fragrances founder and CEO Lorenzo Cotti told BoF.
Integra Fragrances owns and operates all devices connected to scent dispensers independently and remotely, monitoring their fluid levels and operating hours to offer immediate support and maintenance. The company has also developed eco-designed scent identities, which are vegan, allergen-free, responsibly and ethically sourced, and contain recycled ingredients, to help its brand partners meet consumer expectations for sustainability. Sustainability represents real value for the company, which became a “Profit Corporation” in 2021 and is working toward B-Corp status next year.
“We strive for constant innovation, constantly adapting our technology to new applications and invisible frontiers in the brand,” added Cotti.
This is a sponsored feature paid for by Integra Fragrances as part of a partnership with BoF.