Does the Smell of Your Store Inspire Sales?

Good scents are good for business

I used to love going into iconic Los Angeles boutique Tracey Ross—which, sadly, closed in 2009—because it always smelled incredible. 

Some oversize, magically delicious–smelling candle would forever be burning on a countertop, and the chic aromas wafting from it added a lovely sensory layer to the shopping experience.

I’ve noticed that nowadays, many stores seem to be more interested in eradicating every stitch of scent, good and bad, from their environments rather than using aroma to heighten the clients’ shopping experience.

But the science is there—scent has the power to sell. Why? It’s connected to the mechanisms that control emotion in our brains.

I asked scent marketing expert Spence Levy, president of Air Esscentials (a JCK Las Vegas exhibitor and an official sponsor for Retail Jewelers Organization), to explain just how aroma impacts retail.

JCK: How important is scent to the sales equation?

Spence Levy: It is the equation. Scent has the strongest impact in enhancing consumer behavior in terms of cognitive, emotion, evaluation, willingness to return to the store, and purchasing intention compared to any other atmospheric variable.

JCK: When a person likes a scent, how does that end up manifesting into better sales?

Levy: It’s a bit more complex than just liking the scent. For scent marketing to work in your favor, several factors need to be considered. It’s important to match the aroma with the environment. When the proper aroma is introduced into an environment is when it ends up manifesting into better sales. 


JCK: How do you assess what type of scent would suit a store?

Levy: Before we recommend an aroma, we will ask you the colors of your store, the type of music you play, the feeling and emotions you want your store to have and what your customer demographic is. [We won’t] just put any pleasant scent into an environment without considering these factors. 

JCK: Are there certain scents that have been proven to boost sales in stores?

Levy: Grapefruit vanilla is the most popular scent for jewelry retailers. And vanilla is the most popular scent in the United States. It harks back to mom in the kitchen—it’s very comforting. 

JCK: You sell and rent air diffusers and the essential oils that work with them. Why are these great tools for scenting stores, as opposed to another scent-delivery system (candles, sprays, incense)? 

Levy: We have our own patented diffuser technology [that lets users] set the scent level down to the second. You will not be over-scenting or under-scenting. You get the same scent level on day one as you do on day 1,000. That consistency is important to scenting a store well. 

(Top photo courtesy of The New York Times; photo above courtesy of



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JCK Senior Editor

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