Scenting Machines In Action

Dylan Jones, Jones Digital Media

Bebe Stores Inc. have launched their new ‘signature’  fragrance in the US with a whiff of a rather good idea. They’re using Prilotec’s “scenting machines” in strategic areas of their stores to pump out the fragrance to unsuspecting customers as they browse the racks for a good deal on a zip-fronted leather min-skirts.

Cut through the marketing speak about “emotional connection to the scent” and “undeniable feminine fragrance” and I think they’ve actually got a pretty good idea. The smart move is of course, the less is more school of perfume application: release the scent in only a few key areas of the store and it’s far more powerful.

But, let’s take this a step further; what if Bebe had in-store screens with an interactive display that customers could actually press on an image of the bottle and it triggers the blast of scent? Or even some basic visualof the perfume bottle being pressed and it actually releases the scent? A double whammy for the senses, Bebe.

Will any other retailers or out of home venues jump on this?

How about Walmart’s “meal deal special”  blasting out ‘eau -de-pepperoni pizza’ at around 4pm every day? (Is the Smart Network that smart yet?)

Or Downy’s laundry detergent wafting that “just laundered” aroma right at the point of purchase?

And how about New York’s Taxi TV? Forget your fruits of the forest pine air-fresher and blast out some of that genuine New York hot-dog scent.

As in-store marketing goes, I see this as another trend in the ‘store within a store’ concept; making a customer’s store visit a whole experience not a chore. You’ve already got them to your store, the question is how are you going to keep them there longer and spending more?  Of course, it might put those annoying, department-store perfume spraying ninjas that seem to pop up from nowhere out of work, but that’s a small price to pay for progress.

As for Bebe, kudos for innovation at the store-level but I’ll be interested in seeing who’s going to take the leap and marry sound, vision and aroma in one multi-sensory experience. AdSpace Networks?  

Those mall screens are catnip to teens, add a whiff of  Abercrombie and Fitch perfume and let’s talk about a captive audience.

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