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The Sweet Smell of Success: All About Scented Labels

July 25, 2019

As any manufacturer or distributor knows, the type of product labeling you use for your business matters to consumers quite a bit. Whether or not they realize it on a conscious level, customers will evaluate your product's effectiveness and your brand's trustworthiness based (at least partially) on your label design. For example, roughly 54% of consumers say they read a product's label the first time they buy it. But sight isn't the only sense we use when determining whether a product is worth buying. In some cases, we might even use smell to make this decision.

That's right: when designing your label, you might want to consider how scent comes into play. Although many companies opt for something neutral to avoid a negative connotation (like a chemical odor or a fake-smelling product), there are options out there that will allow you to utilize scent to your advantage. Here's what you might want to keep in mind if you're thinking about scented product labeling.

What Kinds of Scented Labels Exist?

First, let's talk about the different ways you can incorporate smell into a label. There's actually an option called scented printing, which allows you to print a scented ink directly onto packaging or labeling. This is often a versatile and cost-effective way to incorporate scent into your product labeling. There are also scratch and sniff labels, which involve an encapsulated fragrance that emits its scent when the label is rubbed or scratched. You can apply a scented varnish to instant redeemable coupon labels, as well, or you can use a non-interactive scent to make your labels produce a pleasant odor whether or not the customer interacts with the packaging. There are hang-tags and other extraneous packaging elements that can provide a scented experience, too. You'll want to work with a label printing company that can provide you with the option you feel will serve your product and speak to your customers best, as certain options will be more appropriate for one product over another.

Why Use These Unique Labels For Your Products?

While the choice of scented labels for your business will be entirely up to you, there are several reasons why it might make "scents" to use this type of technology as part of your packaging.

For one thing, our sense of smell is far more powerful than we give it credit for. In fact, studies have shown that consumer scent recall is much more impressive than consumer image recall. While you might not remember the exact picture shown on a product you use every day, you may be instantly transported back to a specific time in your life upon smelling something familiar. By appealing to the most powerful sense we have, your consumers will create positive associations with your product that have real staying power.

There's also evidence to show that being surrounded by a pleasant scent can support the overall shopping experience. According to Washington State University researchers, study participants spent 20% more when they shopped in an environment with a simple scent (like citrus) as compared to environments with no scents or more complex scents. What's more, brands can use certain scents to promote specific emotions and sensations -- such as relaxation, alertness, or nostalgia -- in consumers and thereby have a greater effect on their behavior. The New York Times has also reported that 81% of consumers would choose a product they could both see and smell over a product they could only see. While you might not be able to have the actual product itself be accessible in this way, you can certainly evoke a similar experience with scented labeling and packaging. And as a bonus, your packaging won't be ruined by customers who are determined to smell the product itself before purchasing.

Although this type of product labeling might not be appropriate for certain types of items on the market, it certainly has its place. By utilizing smell to your advantage, you can appeal to new consumers and provide a fuller experience before they even bring your product home.

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