Finding a signature scent has traditionally been a physical in-store experience. Makes sense – how can you tell if you like a scent without really, you know, smelling it? While it may not be possible to evoke the sense of smell in the digital space, according to a recent study L2 report, brands and retailers can bridge that gap, at least visually.
User-generated content is rapidly emerging as an online alternative to in-store displays and specialist beauty counters. From Sephora to Yves Saint Laurent, several fragrance brands and distributors are beginning to rely on product reviews, recommendations, and visuals from fans and influencers to sell fragrance without having to be in the room.
“Fragrances are obviously not a very visual category, but the smarter brands are starting to realize that beautifully packaged perfume bottles play a role in telling the brand story,” said Jenny Shen, head of research at L2. “User-generated content in a vacuum won’t do much but can really improve a brand’s appeal as part of an overall strategy.”
User-generated content gives consumers a chance to connect more directly with brands, thus fostering greater brand loyalty. Corn research suggests this buyable UGC can also increase conversion by up to 12%. It’s no wonder, then, that twice as many brands had UGC gallery pages in 2015 than the year before.
“That’s the social advocacy model: content that isn’t created by you and actually comes to life,” said Estée Lauder President John Demsey. says the Business of Fashion. “It has earned media value that rivals what was the paid media value of yesteryear.”
So here’s a look at how four fragrance brands are using UGC:
“Beauty Board” is Sephora’s Pinterest-like user-generated social platform, which allows users to upload photos of their own makeup looks – and also gives others the ability to purchase those looks.
Sephora derives its UGC from this chart, successfully incorporating photos of artfully arranged perfume bottles from the chart into the product pages of several fragrances it offers, including Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf, Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent and La Vie. Est Belle by Lancome.
Yves Saint Laurent
The L2 report cites Yves Saint Laurent as “a prime example” of fragrance brands successfully using UGC. YSL’s robust product page for its Black Opium fragrance not only uses beautifully designed print and video assets, but also incorporates a UGC gallery.
Not only is YSL the only brand in the fragrance category to incorporate user-generated content on its product pages, but it manages to do it in an organized way. It has an umbrella hashtag #yslbeauty, but the page organizes the content to be product-specific.
Dolce and Gabbana
Beyond pure UGC, some brands hire influencers to spark conversation around their fragrances. Dolce and Gabbana, for example, recently tapped Brazilian makeup artist Camila Coelho and Spanish fashion blogger Gala Gonzalez to curate content around its “Light Blue” fragrance.
“For many brands, influencers are the perfect way to create user-generated content,” said Chris Gilbert, senior social strategist at Kettle Agency. While not strictly speaking entirely organically generated content, influencer posts “give an air of authenticity while helping to sell the dream.”
During New York Fashion Week 2014, Marc Jacobs opened a pop-up store around its Daisy fragrance, allowing fans to use the brand’s Instagram photos as currency to buy perfumes, wallets and bags there. by hand. Every fan who uploaded a photo to Instagram with the hashtag #mjdaisychain received a small container of liquid, roll-on or solid perfume. The first 10 fans who uploaded a photo received a full-size perfume bottle. The pop-up shop also offered free manicures and prints of photos taken in the store.