While many beauty businesses are feeling the pinch of an inflationary economy, UK scent retailer The Perfume Shop enjoyed record sales at the end of its last financial year.
Rather than rest on its laurels in the wake of the recent fragrance boom, the specialty retailer – which is owned by AS Watson – has been opening new and improved experiential stores across the UK.
The stores feature a mix of celebrity fragrances and classic designer scents, with an in-store team of experts and an array of well-thought-out features.
The shops have a refreshed layout, upgraded services including a digital screen, signature expert fragrance consultations and complimentary gift wrapping with a personalised ribbon machine.
The business has also factored sustainability credentials into the redesign. There is a recycling service where customers can drop off used perfume bottles and in turn receive 15% off their next purchase. Plus, the stores themselves feature energy-efficient LED lighting throughout, and where possible, existing materials and equipment are retained or reused.
The Perfume Shop's MD Gill Smith revealed more on the business' successful strategy, the new refit, and what's selling well right now.
Brick-and-mortar is still a must
"We’ve seen customers enjoying physical shopping more so post-pandemic and have been refitting our stores to create a great experience for our customers in store as well as great service and expertise. We are investing significantly in all The Perfume Shop stores across the UK, having already re-fitted 50 this year with more to come in 2024.
There are many occasions we celebrate at The Perfume Shop including the likes of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas etc where our customers can feel comfortable in the environment while shopping luxury products at affordable prices.
In order to be a successful retailer, you need to continually listen to your customers and update your format based on their feedback otherwise you become irrelevant or copied by your competitors."
Chandeliers from recycled perfume bottles
"Walk into one of these new stores and you’ll first see our ‘Love Perfume’ window displays and stunning chandelier feature – which are created using recycled perfume bottles returned by our customers.
We’ve ensured we’ve given more visibility of our recycling scheme and refillable ranges as customers are shopping more sustainably plus are introducing more digital messaging and reducing amount of single use printed materials.
These stores also have a “Loves” bay where the team can merchandise based on what they love as our instore experts, but also what they think their customers will adore. Customers can enjoy a brighter look and feel in store with mixed gender bays where they can explore our products easily."
Customers are returning to physical shopping
"Post-pandemic, we’ve seen customers rediscover their love of fragrance and seen total sales growth since stores reopened to our highest sales in our 30-year history in our recently published 2022 financials accounts.
Customers are returning to physical shopping and we have been refitting our stores to create a great experience for our customers in store, as well as great service and expertise. As the leading specialist retailer, fragrance is still an attainable, affordable treat and when times are tough. It becomes a much more considered gift at Christmas.
We’ve re-platformed our website which will make it easier for customers to shop and offer personalisation options that makes that special gift truly wonderful. We want to make shopping for perfume an interesting, fun, relaxed experience in store rather than just a transaction because there is so much storytelling, brand love, memories and emotion involved."
The customer journey can start anywhere
"We are an offline plus online retailer recognising that the customer journey can start anywhere and therefore we make no distinction between the amazing customer experience being offered.
Shoppers don’t shop by channel, they just shop. Since reopening our stores post-Covid, our e-store has continued to grow each year, outperforming the fragrance market online and general online growth. In summary, they both support each other and are both part of the ecosystem that is The Perfume Shop. Covid brought home how they have a symbiotic relationship and one can’t work without the other.
Fragrance is a great way for customers to buy into that bit of luxury, especially in the current climate."
The top-selling scents
"Our biggest sellers for women include: Prada Paradoxe Intense, Burberry Goddess, alongside Gaultier Divine and customer favourites like Mugler Alien and Chanel Coco Mademoiselle.
For men, the biggest selling scents are Dior Sauvage, the new Yves Saint Laurent MYSLF and Boss Bottled Elixir. We of course can’t forget the classics such as Rabanne One Million though, which is always a great seller with our customers."