Has the death of in-store browsing made us rethink fragrance sampling?

Retail experts will tell you that we are now a world of buyers not shoppers, due to the constraints placed on us since the re-opening of retail after the Covid lockdown, which has seen browsing become a thing of the past.

Let’s face it, if your customer has taken the decision to leave their home, don their face mask and queue to come into your store, it’s pretty certain that they have a laser focussed need for your products…..so you’d better make that sale.  The phrase “would you like to try our new…..whatever” could become as obsolete as the hug.

Fragrance is a ‘spritz and sniff’ business so how are brands that once relied on potential customers leisurely testing their products on counter to drive conversion going to adapt to the new world of beauty retail.  We spoke to Amanda Morgan, Managing Director, UK, of luxury fragrance brand Diptyque to find out.

“The reality is, anyone going in to store should be getting a one-on-one VIP experience. In terms of sampling, we may not be able to showcase the fragrances in the way we used to where customers can spray at their leisure, so to adapt to that we still want the customer to have an exceptional experience, so we would ensure they would leave with deluxe samples to try in their own time and hopefully drive to our Ecommerce platform or use our concierge delivery service to complete the sale.

In terms of home fragrance, our normal ritual to showcase the candle scent is to tap the glass onto a cushion and show the glass with the fragrance oils to the customer to smell, which of course we can’t do right now, so we are using wooden spatulas which absorb the oil from the candle which is given to the customer to try the scent, allowing social distancing throughout the whole service.

Like all brands that have a contact shopping experience, we’re having to rethink our whole journey and adapt with new measures. Our team is coming up with innovative solutions so it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the market.

Images and copywriting for product pages online will need to be improved significantly to allow the customer to fully understand what the product is about to allow them to trust in what they are purchasing.”