The increase in information available online has reduced the amount of time that car-buyers need to spend in car showrooms. The impact on dealerships and automotive brands has been a gear shift in terms of attracting new consumers and retaining customer loyalty.
19 out of the 24 stages of purchasing a car have moved online, resulting in pre-purchase visits to car showrooms decreasing from 4.8 to 1.8. There is now less opportunity to engage with customers in a showroom making it vital to provide the best experience and ensure that first impressions count.
Retailers across many sectors are embracing new business models in an attempt to align the omni-channel journey, or simply reinvigorate the bricks and mortar experience. Increasingly, multi-sensory experiential marketing is being identified as the way forward, with retailers utilising targeted visual, tactile, auditory and scent activations delivered as a fully immersive brand experience to capture consumer imaginations.
Creating sensory signatures across multiple senses in an integrated way can multiply the effects of individual sensory elements to create a bigger impression. This is known as the multiplier effect. But the purpose of this blog, let’s focus on one key area. One that is right under your nose, or rather your customers’ noses – the power of scent.
5 ways in which scent can enrich the car showroom experience
We’ve put together five ways in which scent can be applied to enrich the customer experience for automotive brands and retailers:
1. Consider your target audience
Who are they, what do they expect of your brand? Developing fragrances that are uniquely suited to appeal to your customer base requires expert vision and assistance.
2. Consider your brand attributes
What message are you trying to communicate to your customers? Are you trying to associate your brand to an ideal? When embarking on a scent strategy, you should be clear about your scent objective: whether this is to remediate bad odours, improve general ambience, or drive brand engagement and recall.
3. Consider your location
What cultural and geographical challenges do you need to think about when deploying a scenting solution? Temperature, humidity and cultural preferences can play a huge role in shaping the best scent for your brand – and how it is deployed.
4. Consider the physical space of your showroom
The layout of each building, its design and its function are of paramount importance, both when developing the right fragrance and when considering the optimum diffusion methods. Work with experts to refine your fragrance and invest in the best possible technology to ensure even, consistent and subtle results.
5. Future-proof your strategy
Consider how your scent strategy can be extended to generate deeper excitement and higher impact – for example through additional products such as in-car scenting.
Showroom visitor numbers are forecast to stay low, so automotive brands and retailers need to look at what they can control. With scent there is an even greater opportunity for automotive brands to create a multi-sensory experience that captures the consumer’s imagination and evokes a sense of emotion, whether they are behind the wheel test driving or walking into a showroom to see a brand’s car for the first time.
Scent marketing for car showrooms
Scent is a unique sense because the scent receptors in our noses have a direct nerve link to the brain. It is the sense that is closely connected to our emotions and, as we cannot turn it off, it is constantly feeding signals to the brain. The connections from the scent receptor cells in the nose are connected to four areas of the brain that control important functions related to our emotions:
- Perception of scents
- Linking scents to specific memories
- Reward behaviours associated with scents
- Emotional and non-conscious responses to scents
When correctly used, scent is a uniquely powerful emotion-controlling tool that can be used to enhance retail experiences. This has long been believed to be true, but we wanted to prove it.
With neuroscience expert, Dr. Andy Myers, we devised a multisensory experiment using audio, 360° virtual reality and scent; combined with galvanic skin responses (GSR), to uncover the power of scent in automotive retail experiences, specifically, the impact of multisensory experiences on consumer involvement, and the impact of scent within multisensory experiences. Results were analysed and compared against in-depth interviews with individuals and the experiences of specialists in the automotive retail sector.
The results of our study demonstrated the powerful initial impact of scent in the first five seconds of a new experience, and a significant increase in consumer involvement in experiences by a margin of 38%, at a statistically significant level of 99%. As an experiential trigger, scent is unparalleled, and particularly powerful in balanced consort with the other senses.
Find out more about how scent can make each consumer showroom visit more memorable and seamless. Download our Ultimate Car Showroom Experience report today.