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Bank tests scents in branches

Customers less aggressive under experiment of different smells, but will it encourage more to enter?

A FRENCH bank is testing perfumes in its branches to lure more customers.

Crédit Agricole tested different scents in three offices and after monitoring the results has decided to extend it to 300 others in the centre and east of the country.

Nine out of ten banks estimate the revenues generated by their public offices do not match their running costs, and are coming up with new ways to attract customers - or plans to close them down. (Reports suggest Société générale could close 20% of its offices before 2020.)

Studies by the marketing group BVA have found that different smells can encourage impulse buys or other reactions in clients.

Vehicle manufacturers know that the scent of leather gives an impression of luxury, while large bakeries use the scent of butter.

A study in a bookstore found that the smell of chocolate resulted in people buying more romance and cookery books and in a pizzeria, the scent of lavender encouraged people to stay longer and eat more.

Banks are investigating what smells will produce useful sentiments such as trust, or a reduced impression of waiting time

Banks in Israel, China and the United States have already been experimenting.

The ideal scent found by Crédit Agricole mixes green tea, cedar and pine, plus some light music.

The result was a reduction in stress and aggression among clients and an improvement in their perception of the establishment.

Photo:Flickr/Dennis Wong

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