The fragrance market represented 40 billion dollars in sales in 2017. The trend is appearing positive as 49 billion euros in sales are predicted in 2022 (Global – Fragrances, 2018. Fragrances Industry Profile: Global N.PAG-N.PAG). In order to answer this growing demand, fragrance brands need to be up to date with the latest marketing techniques. Making digital their best friend has been one common characteristic of fragrance brands in the last few years.

However, digital still represents a serious challenge in the always-wanted increase of sales. Indeed, it remains one of the last product type for which getting the people to smell your product is essential to their conversion.

In 41% of the cases, “when looking to buy a new fragrance, millennials are influenced the most by the scent” (Teads Millennials Fragrance Study (Q4 2016)).

If they don’t know the smell, they won’t buy it. Even though the younger target is willing to buy fragrance without smelling, it remains a small percentage of the overall consumers (30%).

The trend is changing…

In-store sales still represent 90% of sales in the beauty-care sector. However, the percentage of online sales has doubled since 2008 to achieve 9.7% in 2018. (Xerfi report – The Global Perfumes and Cosmetics Industry: the Market – May 2018 – 4,8% à 9,7%).

This statement makes us wonder the following.

What tools can brands use to increase their online conversion? How can digital become the first conversion channel in the fragrance industry?


“Brands are shifting a growing share of their advertising and promotion budgets towards digital channels to better reach their customers – particularly a younger generation of digital-savvy, more connected millenials – and also to enhance their relationships with customers via two-way web interaction and data collection, advanced behavioural segmentation and personalised promotional campaigns.” (Xerfi report – The Global Perfumes and Cosmetics Industry: the Market – May 2018).

1. Sampling

A fragrance sample is a small quantity of a product aiming to make people discover the scent. There are multiple ways for brands to incite customers to buy online using samples:

  • The “Try and buy” strategy. Inserting a sample of the same fragrance the client is buying. This is a very efficient way to counter the barrier to the purchase of perfumes online. The customer will less be afraid of being disappointed. Indeed, they will be able to send the fragrance back if they do not like it.
  • Cross-selling sampling. Offering a sample of another fragrance than the one the customer has bought allows brands to promote their portfolio. This is a very efficient to make customers discover other scents that they already know. It will likely incite them to buy the newly discovered perfume next time.
  • Exchange consumer data for a sample. On a dedicated platform, the user will enter their contact details. In exchange, they will receive a sample of their choice. This allows brands to combine the collection of data and the fragrance discovery online. This is a win-win solution as customers receive this sample for free and brands increase their database.

2. A very thought-through online redirection strategy

Social media has become key for fragrance brands in their digital marketing strategy. It is essential at every step of the customer journey. When they create marketing assets, brands need to define clearly the objective behind each one. This will allow them to redirect the consumer to the best platform. The different redirections can be:

  • The brand’s social media platforms (if the asset is posted by an influencer for example)
  • The brand’s website
  • Online retailers’ website

Not all the redirection links will be relevant for a certain type of asset.

Having a thought-through online redirection strategy will make the consumer very inclined to click on the “Buy” call-to-action when he sees one. This is very important in order to bring the customer through the buying process smoothly.

Once the customer has made it to the “conversion” part of the funnel, it is important for the brand to use the right type of asset. Interactive and shoppable ads are a good example. “The Millennial Fragrance Shopper” study highlights that  “35% of respondents said “I like watching ads that allow me to shop for the advertiser product”. 


To know more about the two other strategies, go and read this article.