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Hollister and foot traffic

1 October 2012

A few months ago I passed by a Hollister in the Coastal Grand Mall at Myrtle Beach.

Hollister is a well known clothing brand, primarily in the United States but also well established in the UK and Europe, with expansion in the Asian markets through stores in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore.

As soon as one enters the vicinity of the store, one picks up the scent that Hollister sprays on its merchandise. Actually in my time working at the store, merchandise are sprayed with this cologne at least twice a day in addition to machines that are attached to the ceiling, which also dispense this scent into the air.

This scent is a clever marketing ploy. Many passer-bys are intrigued as it stands out from other stores in a mall environment and may enter the store for the smell alone (this has been the case in the store that I have worked at).

I find it interesting that small details like this may increase foot traffic, which not only could increase sales, but could also portray a certain popularity to the brand to unknowing shoppers.

Foot traffic is a key aspect to a certain business.

Some department stores in Asia leave their doors open while the air-conditioning inside is running at full capacity. One could say that this is a wasteful habit. However these stores tend to disagree: they think that a “burst of comfortable air will draw in customers”. This could be related to the Hollister model: spraying their distinctive scent on their merchandise could lure in potential customers.

Temperatures in Asian countries tend to linger above 30C around midday during summer. When suddenly being swept away by a cool breeze of air coming from a nearby store, you are tempted to enter–not to buy something, but to cool off. However, simply being in the store exposes you to the products and may be induced to make an impulse purchase.

This very behavior is what businesses want to aim for. The purchase of an item by a passer-by who was initially not interested is what makes these marketing tricks a profitable investment. Never mind the high electricity bill or the cost of spraying Hollister cologne around the store, the final transaction at the counter makes it all worthwhile.

Ollie Heinen

Portfolio Officer