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Marketing so good you can smell it

People walk by an Abercrombie and Fitch store on February 22, 2013 in San Francisco, California.
People walk by an Abercrombie and Fitch store on February 22, 2013 in San Francisco, California.
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Abercrombie & Fitch, notorious to mall shoppers everywhere for its musky “signature scent,” is reigning in its odor. According to new research from Concordia University, that may be a good thing: researchers there determined that scent can heavily factor into successful marketing.

Customers who feel anxious in Abercrombie’s loud, dimly lit, heavily perfumed stores may be picking up on a claustrophobic vibe. Smaller stores benefit from “open space” smells that hint at the outdoors, while stores with lots of open space, like Apple, do better with “closed space” scents. Outside of retail, the food industry uses scent in marketing constantly and consciously.

At franchises like Panera or Cinnabon, where smell is a huge part of reeling people in, experts decide on bake times and oven locations to keep good smells wafting through the space.

Starbucks, famous for an in-store coffee bean odor, is careful about cooking temperatures for its food -- it doesn’t want to mix the smell of coffee with a breakfast sandwich. How are you impacted by scent marketing? Are there stores that make you feel anxious, or restaurants that reel you in with great smells?

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Sarah Nassauer, reports on retail and consumer trends for the Wall Street Journal