Albertsons Faucets Scent Advertising to Drive Gross sales

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Grocery giant Albertsons is expanding ad opportunities for consumer-packaged goods (CPG) brands to include new sensory experiences.

The grocer’s stores in the Chicago and New Jersey areas will pipe in the smell of freshly baked cheesecake near designated coolers selling Philadelphia Cream Cheese, per a recent Kraft Heinz announcement. The limited-time initiative lasts through the Easter season in an effort to drive sales with home bakers.

For the grocer, this move suggests that the company is broadening the marketing opportunities that it has to offer brands. It comes at a time when skyrocketing food costs are putting pressure on grocers to find ways to widen their margins, often by increasing their ad capabilities for brands. For instance, in late March, Kroger announced that it is expanding access for advertisers through its retail media business, Kroger Precision Marketing, enabling greater eCommerce ad placement capabilities.

Read more: Kroger Boosts Digital Ad Business

Grocers have been noting the potential of scent-based marketing for some time now. A 2011 CBS report noted that one Brooklyn supermarket saw produce sales increase 7% when the retailer added a grapefruit smell to that section of the store. According to a 2016 blog post from scent services company Prolitec, one study found that piping the smell of baking bread into the supermarket tripled bakery sales.

Moreover, branding expert Martin Lindstrom, author of 2005’s “Brand Sense: How to Build Powerful Brands Through Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight and Sound,” found in a study that brand impact is increased by 30% when more than one sense is engaged and 70% when three or more senses are involved.

See more: Right Scent, Right Time?

“Emotion gets our attention through our senses, which then influence our decision-making processes,” he wrote in “Brand scythe.” “Brands that create an emotional connection to consumers are much stronger than those that don’t — it’s as simple (and complicated) as that.”

Scent marketing is far from a new strategy. In the 1970s, casinos began using aroma diffusers to combat the pervasive smell of cigarette smoke, and hotels, seeing the success of this strategy, soon followed suit, according to Air Essentials. A study published in January 2021 in “International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management” said for this kind of marketing, it is not enough for a scent to simply smell good. It must also be congruent with the brand image.

Sensory cues can not only encourage pre-purchase spending habits but also reinforce those habits at the time of payment. In 2019, Visa announced that it was taking its suite of sensory branding products to more than two dozen countries, offering sound, animation and haptic cues for consumers and merchants when a transaction is completed.

Read more: Visa’s Sensory Branding Goes Global

“As consumers continue to change where and how they pay in the world, the entirety of the customer experience must also evolve in ways that have trust built-in from the start,” Lynne Biggar, then chief marketing and communications officer at Visa, said in a statement at the time.



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