The past decades have seen the rise of two trends: the explosion of digital and its importance in our lives, and the growing ecological consciousness among citizens. It seems that today’s society is torn between the consequences of these two phenomena. On the one hand, the temptation to dive into the consumerist era in which every iPhone launch is an excuse to spend hundreds of dollars. While knowing perfectly the downsides of this action. On the other hand, the wish to preserve Mother Earth and its resources that are quickly disappearing. Digital has helped condemn this consumerist era and has increased the ecological awareness of people. In what ways?
1. Thanks to New Information and Communication Technologies (NICTs), the information circulates faster.
(Almost) everyone has a better access to information. There has been a takeover of the green movement in Western European countries in the last years. People can share on social media, post articles, videos or pictures about topics they relate to. The best example of this would be the petition L’Affaire du Siècle (see below). On December 18th of 2018, a group of NGOs published a video on Youtube. In the latter appeared the most famous Youtubers, actors, and activists, all asking people to sign their petition. A signature would help them take the French Government to justice for not respecting their promises regarding the environment. In just a few days, it turned into the French most signed petition, with more than 1 million signatures. Today, they have collected more than 2 million and are willing to go even further.
Another example of this is what is happening right now in Belgium, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and France. Huge amounts of young people are protesting against their governments and their inaction towards the climate. Digital has made it easier to spread the information and rally many people behind a cause. Youngsters want to change the world they will live in for the coming decades. And digital has helped them make their voice heard. People share their stories on social media, journalists write articles that will be transmitted on all digital platforms. Clean walks are organised in numerous cities to pick up the litter. Young influencers are at the starting point of this process, uniting thousands of clean walkers in one place to clean a city.
Thanks to the NICTs, the environmental movement has gone viral. It has increased the awareness among the population.
2. This whole ecological realisation is especially strong among young generations.
The power of social media is going well beyond the notion of “virality”. It has become the latest trend to show everyone how green we are on our social media accounts. Posting photos of our meat-less meals, sharing about our new vegan diet, explaining everyone how consuming local organic products is better. In parallel to this trend, the business of lifestyle apps has been flourishing. Apps such as 90 jours, Yes We Green, Smart Cycle, or TooGoodToGo help you be more environmental-friendly in small steps. Very easily now, thanks to digital, you can know if one product is good for the environment or not. You can get hand-me-down products and give a second life to objects. You can even find free food that would be thrown away otherwise. Digital has helped increase the ecological awareness by making it easy to go green.
3. Digital lets us have access to a lot of information about the world.
We can see what is happening elsewhere. We realise how quickly the Earth is getting damaged. By creating feelings such as terror, anger, outrage or even sadness, it makes us want to change our habits to compensate for other people’s behaviour.
Thanks to the trends that we’ve mentioned above, we can easily find tricks to go green, inspiration from other people and the wish to share our new habits online.
In the first part of our article, we were mentioning the growing importance of digital for fragrance brands. 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%).
“Perfumes and cosmetics which were once considered unsuited to online sales due to the belief that customers needed to touch, smell and sample products are now experiencing their own digital revolution.” (Xerfi report – The Global Perfumes and Cosmetics Industry: the Market – May 2018).
What tools can brands use to increase their online conversion? How can digital become the first conversion channel in the fragrance industry?
To know more about the first two strategies that brands can implement to increase their conversion rate online, go and read this article.
3. Coming up with differentiating online content strategy
Many fragrance brands advertise during key selling periods* and more generally all year long. This trend obliges brands to catch the attention of the customers and engage them. There are different ways to attract the user’s eye:
Humour. Making engaging and funny content will encourage the customer to watch it and potentially share it. Paco Rabanne is a great example of the industry. The brand has managed to make humour their signature and it has benefited them.
Interactive content. Producing interactive content for online marketing campaigns is also a great way to engage customers. They feel part of the brand’s universe and, according to the assets, they can decide what will be coming next in the brand’s story. Nina Ricci has used a lot interactive story ads for their campaign Bella, launched in September 2018. Paco Rabanne was also a best practice for this strategy. When Pure XS For Her was launched, Instagram users could choose what Emily Ratajkowski would do during her “Excessive Night”. This has proven to be very successful since consumers feel closer to the celebrity. They feel like they have their word in the marketing campaign. Consequently, by being immersed in the brand’s storytelling, they will be more sensible to it when they are looking to buy a fragrance.
4. Enhancing digital in retail: digi-retailtainment
Working on increasing conversion on the digital channel also means working on digital in retail spaces. This is called “digi-retailtainment”: entertain customers in-store with digital tools. A great example would be what Chloé did for the launch of Chloé. The setup immersed the customer in the universe of the brand. It was then very easy to identify to the actress Ariane Labed and wanting to be just like her by buying the fragrance.
This strategy does not, per say, increase the conversion online. However, the digital channel plays a huge role in the buying process and therefore is a big part of the value created for the brand. Fragrance companies need to take this into account when they calculate the value brought by each channel. By doing this, we can argue the conversions thanks to digital will increase for every brand.
Fragrance companies can even cross the different strategies. By putting a machine in-store that collects consumer data in exchange for a sample, they increase the role of digital in the path to conversion.
By following these four strategies, brands have managed to become actors of the digital transformation in the luxury sector.
*Key Selling Periods are moments of the year when sales are increasing drastically and brands advertise a lot (Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, …).
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.
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).
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.
The last few years have seen the development of several new consumer trends.
The first one is the realisation of our impact on the environment and how it is important to preserve Mother Earth’s resources. People are more aware of their carbon footprint and are willing to make better choices.
The second trend is the multiplication of industrial scandals, for example in the textile or the consumer goods industries. As a consequence, consumers demand a better traceability of the products they buy.
Finally, people have become more willing to take care of their health by consuming better products and living a healthier lifestyle.
These trends have given consumers the will to be more educated about the ecosystem they live in.
They want to make more sustainable choices which will have a better impact on the environment, their health or society in general. As a consequence, new tools have appeared to help them in this journey. Digital has certainly played a key role in the democratisation of these new trends and values.
In the consumer goods industry, such tools can be apps, websites or blogs that can help consumers make their way across the aisles of supermarkets. People can now easily make the difference between the “good” products and the “bad” ones.
Credits: Louise Chapuis
One good example would be Yuka. Yuka is an app which allows you to scan the product you are planning on buying and then giving you information about its impact on your health. A product can be “bad”, “good” or “excellent”. In addition to Yuka, many blogs or social media accounts with the same philosophy have been created.
Following these new trends and the rise of information flows, FMCG companies have seen their reputation being endangered. Consumers are now able to make the difference between two kinds of brands:
the brands that use healthy ingredients and put their customers at the heart of their values,
the brands that prefer to make choices based on budget restrictions and delivering a product that will appear as healthy but is not.
Companies are now having to change their business model and focus on giving their customers better products.
Recently, Carrefour, one of the biggest French supermarket chain has launched a new communication campaign called “Act For Food”. With this strategy, the company is promoting a new business model: a better traceability of their products and organic foods without any additives or controversial ingredients. Alexandre Bompard, their CEO, wants Carrefour to be “the world leader in the food transition for everyone”. This surely has helped them improve their reputation over the last few weeks.
On the other side, some companies have greatly suffered from the gain of knowledge of consumers. In general, candy companies have not made a lot of efforts to take advantage of these trends and restore their image. The most significant example is Mondelez International ranking 71 out of 100 on Barron’s “World Most Respected Companies” in 2017. They are not far from Monsanto or Goldman Sachs who are known for having a terrible reputation. The large snacks company is suffering from customers reading labels more carefully. They are now being threatened by new smaller companies promoting organic and healthier snacks.
The trends mentioned above have truly transformed the landscape of consumer goods companies. The latter have at their heart keeping a good reputation. By allowing consumers to be more educated, digital is challenging FMCG companies to provide better products.