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Scent of Success: 5 winning strategies perfume retailers adopt

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From utilising advanced technology to embracing rich cultural heritage, here are some strategies adopted by perfume retailers around the world

Bengaluru: Perfumers constantly seek innovative ways to captivate consumers and establish a strong retail presence. As the fragrance industry evolves, adopting cutting-edge strategies becomes crucial for staying ahead. From harnessing the power of technology to tapping into the rich cultural heritage, these approaches promise to redefine the future of perfume brands in India.

Here are the top five business strategies that perfumers are leveraging to thrive in the competitive landscape…

Localisation

Localisation allows retailers to cater to specific preferences, cultural nuances, and purchasing behaviours of different regions. Beyond the olfactory aspect, brands are using regional languages and culturally relevant imagery in advertisements, to become more relatable.

“Consumers will seek out fragrances that reflect personal identity and style, leading to a growing interest in unique, niche fragrances influenced by local culture and ingredients. This way, they can express their individuality through fragrances,” said Swapnil Pathak Sharma, owner of Zighrana, an Uttar Pradesh-based perfume brand that made its entry in the United States in 2022.

Emotional resonance

Perfumes have the ability to arouse emotions due to the intricate blend of aromatic compounds. Sense of smell is deeply connected to memories, often triggering vivid recollections of past experiences, places or feelings of joy, nostalgia, and even relaxation.

British cosmetics, skincare and perfume company The Body Shop is leveraging the emotional and personal aspects of fragrances to forge a deeper connection with its target audience.

“By highlighting how scents have the power to evoke memories, emotions and experiences, we are tapping into the intrinsic human desire for sensory experiences that transcend the ordinary,” said Harmeet Singh, vice president – marketing, digital and product at The Body Shop Asia South.

Zighrana develops a story for each product it creates to evoke an emotional response. “We have crafted captivating narratives and backstories for each of our perfumes, allowing consumers to connect with the product on a deeper level. These stories are inspired by Indian culture, traditions, and natural elements, resonating with the local audience,” said Sharma.

Strong partnerships

Collaboration with local or global brands is an important strategy perfume brands are adopting to help enter new markets and reach a broader audience. Moreover, joint marketing efforts and combined fan bases help increase brand visibility.

Baccarose Perfumes & Beauty Products, a Mumbai-based perfume retail and distribution house is in the process of building partnerships with global and native retailers, luxury boutiques, department stores, and e-commerce platforms across India, ensuring widespread availability and accessibility of its portfolio of perfume brands.

“Through strategic distribution channels, including both online and offline channels, we are reaching consumers in major cities as well as tier 2 and tier 3 towns,” said Kadambari Lakhani, director of Baccarose.

In the fiscal year (FY) 2024, Baccarose partnered with global fragrance brands like Alexandre.J, Micallef, and Eternal Journey, facilitating their entry into the country. Currently, it manages over 65 beauty and fragrance brands on leading e-commerce platforms.

Fusing the best of all worlds

Traditional Indian aromatic ingredients and techniques are witnessing a revival for the past few years. Incorporating Western advancements in technology and design helps enhance the quality and variety of offerings while meeting international standards and preferences.

UAE-born perfume house Swiss Arabian, which recently celebrated its golden jubilee, is blending various regional essences into a single perfume.

The brand has reinvented classic scents like jasmine, balsam, and sandalwood, which are well-loved in India, blending them with Middle Eastern saffron, Indonesian patchouli, and Western notes like peony and orris, as stated by Nabeel Adam Ali, director of Swiss Arabian.

Leveraging the power of digital

Perfume brands are leveraging digital marketing strategies such as augmented reality (AR) for virtual scent experiences or influencer collaborations to have a competitive edge in capturing the attention of tech-savvy consumers.

Last year, French luxury fragrance brand Mugler created AR mirrors that turn passersby into constellations upon virtually applying its fragrance Mugler Angel Elixir.

Also, Italian jewellery and fragrance house Bulgari created a virtual reality (VR) experience, taking users on a virtual journey to a snow-covered mountain, where they embark on an adventure to uncover the brand’s latest fragrance hidden within a glacier.

“Social media influencers and digital content creators wield significant influence over consumer preferences and purchasing decisions. We leverage their substantial sway to effectively reach our target audience and generate buzz around new products,” said Ali of Swiss Arabian.

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