Scratch and sniff packaging


When I was a kid, I collected scratch and sniff stickers. Unfortunately, I put them all in the same box, so every sticker ended up smelling like root beer. But that’s a story for another day. Speaking of scratch and sniff, I think scent is very underused within the product packaging world. Given how many people try to open packages to see what a product smells like, manufacturers should consider adding scratch and sniff panels to various products.

What kind of items could benefit from this? I would start with anything that has a high loss rate due to people tearing open the box in the store, based on the assumption that some portion of those people are just trying to smell the product. Food, personal care items like soap and lotion, and anything else where smell is a factor are good candidates. For these products, add a prominent area on the package that encourages customers to sample how the product smells by scratching a panel, rather than opening the box.

I’m pretty sure there are numerous companies that can create the actual scent panels to closely mimic how the product smells. Other than that, it’s just a matter of trying out this packaging enhancement and seeing if it increases sales and reduces waste. My guess is that some categories will benefit vastly more than others. But which ones will be the big winners is anybody’s guess.