Women Have a Unique Ability to Tell if an Environment is Clean

Is it intuition or a sixth sense?

For women, it begins with breathing in. When she opens the fridge, she can easily evaluate whether or not the food is edible. When she enters a room, she can quickly tell if the room is dusty, dry, musty, fresh or clean just by smelling the air. Women evaluate the smell of every bedroom in their house, restaurant bathroom they bring their children into, grocery where they buy food and every store where they are going to buy a product that will end up in their home.

A smell can evoke strong emotions or memories. A fragrance can be the deciding factor in whether a shopping experience is pleasant or not. Every environment and every product—even a piece of furniture—has a smell to it. When a woman chooses to buy a piece of furniture, she is agreeing to take that fragrance into her home and add it to the environment that makes up her identity and her family’s.

A very personal matter

In a single day, a woman uses up to 15 products on her body—all with unique fragrances. Most women shower with a body wash or soap, wash their hair with shampoo and conditioner, wash their face with a skin care product, dry their hair with a styling product, keep it in place with a hair spray, use deodorant, apply a moisturizer, use a lip gloss, put on make-up, paint their nails with polish, and top it all off with a perfume. Since women are very conscious of how they smell, it’s no wonder that they take great notice of the different smells in their environment.

A woman is often the principal purchaser for the family, responsible for deciding on 85% of all items to buy. She carries personal responsibility for her family’s health and safety when she chooses items to enter the home. For example, doing the laundry involves dealing with detergents, whiteners, fabric softeners, and products that deal with lint and wrinkles. She also deals with the family’s sensitivities and allergies to those products. When buying groceries, a woman must ensure that the food she buys and prepares is safe and fresh enough not to make her family sick.

Clean stores are mandatory

Many women I know won’t shop at some food stores because they “don’t smell right.” The female thought process here is this: If the employees are not taking the time to clean the store and keep it fresh, it is doubtful that they are restocking their shelves with fresh food and care. The likelihood that the food bought in that store is rotten or inedible is increased.

The same is true of furniture stores, particularly bedding and mattress stores. When you buy a mattress—or any piece of furniture, for that matter—you are usually not buying the one that you try out in a showroom. So, when a woman steps into a mattress or furniture store that is unclean, it makes her wonder, “How do I know where the furniture is coming from?” Will the mattress or sofa she buys arrive with a lingering odor? How many times will she have to wash new sheets in order to get the smell and germs off? Will the musty smell her mattress arrived with ever wear off?

Recently I purchased a mattress from a large retail chain and it was delivered while my wife was at work. When she returned, she opened the plastic cover on the mattress and the smell was overwhelming. Even with the window open, it took weeks before anyone could sleep in that room. It is experiences like this that feed women’s concern with fragrance and cleanliness in a shopping environment.

Make it appeal to her senses

By taking women’s concerns into account, retailers can benefit by creating consumer-centric shopping experiences that are appealing. For example, the plus side of a female’s sensitivity to smells is that there are aromas that evoke happy, comforting emotions.

Here are a few quick, inexpensive ways to transform your store to be appealing to female shoppers.

– Detailed cleaning. Of course, if you’re selling furniture, you want to make sure the models on display are dust free. But go further than that. Clean windowsills, polished floors, maintained trash receptacles are all small changes that together can make a big positive impact on your store environment.

– Decorative accents. Pleasant fragrances such as cinnamon, cookies or vanilla give a woman a sense of comfort when she is shopping. Also, items like plants and wall paintings add a personal element that helps consumers connect with the products. If a woman can better envision the product in her home, then she is more likely to buy it.

– Lighting and color. The products you’re selling may come from a warehouse, but you don’t want your customers to feel like they’re shopping in one. Using lighting and colors helps to display your products at their full potential and creates a better ambiance. To give your store a spruce up, you can add bedside lamps and paint the walls a more nurturing color than just basic white.

There’s simply no reason why a mattress store should be unkempt, plain and boring—customers should enjoy being there and want to come back.