Transiting in an airport can sometimes be a stressful experience, particularly if you have delays to contend with. Jumping off one plane and dashing to another can be difficult, particularly if you need to stop off at the odd shop or 2 to pick up those last minute essentials.

When you are in this state of mind it takes something significant to falter your step. One store managed to do this for me.

On a recent trip, I set a blistering pace to get to the other end of the terminal to the other to get to gate. I zipped past stores and dodged passengers, determined to reach my gate on time. Something happened though, something that made me stop, turn and look into a store. I even had to back up a little to get a full view. But what made me stop?


The smell that was coming from the store was very impactful. I am not talking about the haze you sometimes get from the Beauty section, this was something even more special…. Chocolate. Now, my seemingly expanding waistline might give you a clue that I am a bit of a chocoholic. I eat far more chocolate than is good for me. I try to believe that as chocolate is derived from a plant it must therefore be part of the 5 fruits and vegetables that the government recommends we eat each day. Well… that’s my justification anyway!

OK, back to the store. If I had more time I would have gone into the store but I needed to go. I did however position myself in a location where I could see the gate and the store from a distance for a short time. Sure enough, as people walked past, the store they glanced in.

Michelin Star Chefs

In the UK there are a lot of programs on TV dedicated to cooking (i.e. Master Chef, The Great British Menu etc). The one thing that you notice is that those chef’s that are at the top of their game go beyond just cooking food. Heston Blumenthal for example takes people on a culinary journey that tantilises the senses. It is not just about the taste. A great menu involves the texture, the visual appeal and the smell (there are some dishes that have sounds too!).

Engage The Senses

The message that I am trying to convey is the more senses that you communicate with, the greater impact you will have. The sense of smell is very powerful, we remember thousands and thousands of smells (some researchers estimate it to be up to 50,000). A smell can take us back to a particular time in our lives with various associations anchored to it.

This store was drawing attention to itself because it was pumping the smell of chocolate out of the door (a bit like some supermarkets do with bread). One thing is for sure, I bet it helps the F&B sales too.

Next time, I will share a story about the invisible shopper.

Thanks for reading & sharing.