Focusing on “Scent Lovers” as the Marketing Growth Strategy Target
“Scent-lover” consumers make up approximately 40% of US consumers, and scents are pervasive in personal care products, such as soaps and shower gels, body and skin care moisturizers and lotions, hair care, facial skin care, sun care, household cleaning and laundry products and more. Looking specifically at perfumes, an estimated 10-15% of women are heavy users of perfume and eau de cologne. For Perfumania, these consumers are a natural market for marketing growth strategy.
In non-COVID times, fragrance usage begins in the bath and shower and then continues with body and skin care. Perfume will typically come as a finishing touch: after makeup but before heading out the door. Perfume users typically have a set of two to four favorite perfumes in their routine. There are specific types that they favor, some for everyday and some for special occasions.
Developing a Marketing Growth Strategy for Perfumania Stores
The first step was to understand the target consumers’ use of the category, why they are buying, and from where. We also needed to understand the perceptions of Perfumania and competitors like department stores, specialty retailers, online sites, and more.
These consumers bought perfume in a variety of channels:
- Online (from all of the below and other online retailers).
- At specialty stores like Sephora, Ulta, and Bath & Body Works
- At outlet stores for specific brands like Polo Ralph Lauren Factory & Outlet Stores
- At department stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom’s, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus
- At drug stores like CVS and Walgreen’s
- At discount stores like Walmart
- At warehouse clubs like Costco
- Today, there are also subscription services like Scentbird and Luxury Scent Box
Why Consumers Shopped at Perfumania Stores
In the case of Perfumania’s retail stores, most consumers encountered the store while shopping in the outlet or regular shopping mall. The main attraction was buying perfume brands that they knew they liked at a lower price. The primary benefits that attracted consumers were Perfumania’s wide brand selection and good pricing.
At the time, Perfumania exceled in the fast shopping trip of five to ten minutes where consumers were looking to replenish a scent they already know. It was not as strong in “relaxed browsing” trips, where specialty and department stores offer more room and ability to explore.
Suggested Improvements from Target Customers
An area of unmet need was for more testers and samplers. Other areas of improvement included:
- the store look (less cluttered)
- more visual merchandising
- a more recognized loyalty program or promotional program
- better customer service and sales associate training.
Recommended Marketing Growth Strategy for Perfumania stores:
Nine groups of heavy fragrance consumers in three markets explored over 15 marketing growth strategy drivers. Three primary value proposition drivers rose to the top for the recommended growth strategy for Perfumania:
- The Brands You Know Cost Less Everyday
- Friendly, Courteous and Helpful Service
- Fresh, Inviting and Contemporary Look
Delivering Against the Growth Strategy with Actions:
Specific actions were identified to translate the strategy to reality in each of the three areas:
For the Brands You Know Cost Less Everyday:
- All brands have a lower price vs. department store
- Authentic, top quality brands
- Satisfaction guaranteed, no hassle returns
For Friendly, Courteous and Helpful Service:
- Knowledgeable salespeople who can recommend scent families
- Greet customer upon entering and help
For Fresh, Inviting and Contemporary Look
- New merchandise displayed for freshness and new ideas
- Updated store look, more organized and inviting
- New brand logo
Fast forward to August 2020, and Perfumania has around 100 stores and a top-rated retail website. I visited the Citadel Outlets Shopping Center store in Commerce, CA, and it was a good experience. The store and signage were attractive, with the message of “Same Authentic Fragrances. New Lower Prices.” I was promptly greeted upon entering and offered considerable help in choosing fragrances and testing several samples with the salesperson’s assistance (on blotter paper). Before I knew it, I had purchased perfume for myself and gifts for my family, all in about 10 minutes. I was offered several sales promotions that I ended up using.
The salesperson reported that the store was relatively slow today, compared to normal. This was likely due to COVID. Even with the updated store and improved shopping conditions, retail is under considerable stress. It may be time for Perfumania to update their strategy, particularly with more focus online.
If your growth strategy needs an update, the Insight to Action experts can help. Contact us.