As digital innovation conquers all, it seems craftsmanship can play a vital role in reviving the fragrance market that’s battling with customer experience.
As digital times and habits loom in on everything we do, traditional selling methods have been forced to adapt, and that can especially hit a product that wins customers with smell.
A not-so-long time ago, the tough arm of department stores seemed to heavily rely on perfumes to lure people in. It didn’t take long for one to say “hey, that’s a nice scent”, and rush over to the counter to ask what fragrance had conquered your mind. Now, as new generation customers seem to fall more in love with online purchases than in-store visits, how can one continue to sell scent in the digital age?
Creating a scent is the first step for a successful run in the business, however, drifted from being the most important. Strategies for selling the product are now more critical than ever as brands are shifting to digital, far away from the sales at luxury retailers like Barney’s in New York and Galeries Lafayette in Paris, where customers can’t smell them.
In this digital age, where everyone seems to get their insights and information through a smartphone, the customer’s first experience with a perfume brand would likely come through Instagram, other social networks, the brand’s own website, or images in online articles, making large manufacturers seek a way to communicate the complex fragrance in a physical or emotional form, rather than inside a department store with a dreamy and captivating smell, forcing an almost obligated reinvention of themselves and the way they approach customers.
31-year-old Baptiste Bouygues, who left his career working for luxury fashion labels to join forces with his mother, Marie-Lise Jonak, to create a line of perfumes called Ormaie based in Paris, said to Fast Company “now, more than ever, making perfume is just as much about creating a physical object as it is about olfactory alchemy”. As much as the industry has relied on scent and elite status over the years, it seems that the new way to success in the industry is through craftsmanship, which means telling a story with the bottle rather than with the smell, like it has been for years. “Even if the customer cannot fully articulate what they are seeing or buying, they still get a great sense of your values as a brand”, continued Bouygues over the reinvention of the perfume business.
Perfumes and fragrances play an increasingly important role in the growth of luxury brands, especially in China, driven by emerging middle-class consumers and millennials who pursue high-end lifestyles.
The fragrance market was valued at $52.7 billion USD during 2018, and is expected to grow to 72.3 billion by 2024, and while key market players have shown interest in advertisement, promotion, collaboration with celebrities for product endorsement, and awareness campaigns, selling a fragrance through the bottle’s design is becoming a new breakthrough for the continuos peak of the industry.
Designing a perfume bottle has everything to do with human psychology. A thoughtfully crafted vessel tells a story, and a consumer that is attracted to its shape is more inclined to appreciate the scent of the liquid within it when they eventually catch a whiff of it, in this way, craftsmanship is an art perfectly suited for the age of the internet, especially for fragrances, a product that consumers have decided to start buying entirely based on its packaging.