At mass fragrance, a missed market opportunity?

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

At mass fragrance, a missed market opportunity?

Related tags: Drug stores, Retailing, Sales

Consumers shopping for fragrance in department stores have a much different experience than those in drug stores. But one industry veteran has a notion to change that, using tech and common sense to inspire perfume purchases in the drug store.

The two retail styles aren't necessarily unique. Nonetheless, there’s a real opportunity to improve on sales of fragrances at mass drug stores.

Convenience retail   

While cumbersome celebrity fragrance gift packages are front and center in many drug stores to attract holiday shoppers just now, this is an exception to the more common practice of stocking fragrance under lock-and-key.

Imagine your consumer in a CVS, Duane Reade, or Walgreen’s: “If a fragrance is not on her shopping list, she has no motivation to seek it out; no sampling, no sales support, no marketing, no bells and whistles to get her attention. If fragrance is on her list, she must chase down a sales person for assistance,” ​describes Jodi Katz, president and creative director of Base Beauty Creative Agency, in a white paper outlining this gap in the fragrance market. 

Katz has been “developing creative for the luxury beauty sector” for most of her career. And knows that “the approach, techniques and resources [used] to support luxury brands can be translated to the mass drug store environment to create innovation and ignite a reason to buy.”

Tech makes scents

Perfume brands are innovating digital solutions at every turn.  Marc Jacobs, for instance opened a pop-up Tweet Shop this August in Convent Gardens, where consumers could purchase products with witty social posts that included an event-specific hashtag. “The more creative your in store tweets, the bigger the potential worth of your prizes,” ​explained a Cosmopolitan UK​ article on the event.

Digital technology could be used to make fragrances more accessible to consumers in drug stores too. If ATMs can dole out cupcakes at all hours and color cosmetic brands are using personalized imagery to showcase product, why can’t drug store shoppers get a spritz-on-the-wrist sample from a fragrance kiosk?, Katz asks.

The key to combining display and tech strategy in this segment is to “present products in new, relevant ways. This is a technique that is not price-point specific,”​ Katz told Cosmetics Design.

Free real estate

With cultural norms shifting, drug store shelf space once devoted to cigarettes or other less fashionable merchandise can be devoted to this potentially lucrative product, observes Katz.

She sees this opportunity to reinvigorate perfume sales at mass drug stores as a trend waiting to happen. There’s a bit of investment needed here from a forward thinking fragrance brand. Nonetheless, “the front line of innovation in this industry lies at the intersection of brands and retailer. No brand can do this alone,”​ Katz told Cosmetics Design.

Base Beauty is asking, “Which retailer is ready to take the lead and invest in fragrance innovation and allocate the right kind of space to create a covetable experience? Which marketer is willing to partner with the retailer to support the development of an interactive experience that informs the future of selling fragrance at mass drug stores?”

Related topics: Market Trends, Fragrance

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