The sense of smell is closely linked to memories and emotions, and scents have been shown to affect moods and influence behavior. Thanks to the intimate relationship between the brain's olfactory bulb and amygdala, a simple scent can trigger an emotional reaction almost instantaneously — a connection that has not gone unnoticed by businesses and brands.
Retailers have dabbled with sensory triggers for some time, adding in-store scents that can lead to more lingering and ultimately more spending. But an interactive digital signage installation rolled out late last year by Intel, HP and 5thScreen Digital Services uses scent to take aim at providing a unique and memorable customer experience to engage consumers.
The McCormick World of Flavors, the McCormick spice company flagship store at the Baltimore Inner Harbor, features five interactive experiences, including the scent-based game "Guess That Spice" and "FlavorPrint," which allows consumers to find spices to match their taste preferences. At Intel's booth during the recent National Retail Federation BIG Show in New York City, attendees got a whiff of some of the new technology.
"Retailers are really trying to get you engaged in lots of different ways with their brands," said Mary Murphy-Hoye, senior principal engineer for Intel. "So what McCormick has done is added a sensory aspect to their application where you can actually smell the different spices and learn about spices that you don't know about. They are trying to introduce this idea of flavor and interest to the consumer in a new way, and to connect with [the consumer] in a more sensory way … a more personal way."
Watch the interview below with Murphy-Hoye for a closer look at the display: