GENEVA — To rev up its sales engine, P&G Prestige Products is at the ready with a plan to revolutionize the in-store experience.
This story first appeared in the December 14, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
After studying the fragrance industry for two years — a research project headed by Carolyn Tasted, vice president of global prestige products, market development organization, P&G Prestige Products will unleash its ideas on its retail partners in Western Europe and the U.S.
Though Tasted wouldn’t go into details on the new methods P&G Prestige Products would employ, she said the solutions were meant to add verve to the consumer’s shopping experience. It is also hoped the plan will blow some innovation into cluttered beauty retail spaces.
“What we are trying to deliver is going from the current environment, to when the consumer walks in the store [and says to herself,] ‘This environment is tailor-made for me. I know where to go and it feels special.’ I think the fragrance category has lost some of its specialness,” said Tasted.
When pressed to describe where P&G Prestige Products’ new strategies fit in the process of buying a fragrance, Tasted offered two tactics.
The first, alignment of particular brands together in-store: “The consumer thinks about certain groups of brands similarly. How do you think about grouping those brands in ways that the consumer more understands and connects with them versus randomly?” said Tasted.
Another approach was to give the consumer — who de-selects what he or she doesn’t want upon entering the store — navigational cues to streamline the de-selecting process. “How do you use the brands and the imagery in the store to take away so you know where to go to?” added Tasted.
Among others, these policies, claimed Tasted, would be adapted and tailored differently to P&G Prestige Products retail partners. “It has to reflect the retailers equity, it will never look like a P&G solution.”
In Italy the P&G Prestige Products revitalization plan seems to have already kicked off. Department store chain Coin, which is in the process of giving its 40 stores a facelift, told WWD it worked with P&G Prestige Products in a new way to launch Gucci by Gucci.
Paolo Valerio, category manager of beauty and wellness for Coin, said a test run for the launch accompaniment strategy took place in the Rome and Brescia stores in late November. Valerio explained a “Gucci fragrance expert” with a microphone gave a 15-minute speech about the fragrance to customers in the department store’s perfumery space, explaining the scent’s olfactory pyramid and allowing prospective buyers to sniff its notes.
“It went so well, customers stopped what they were doing and went over to the presentation podium and listened intently. We sold about 2.5 times what we would normally sell on a fragrance’s launch day,” said Valerio. “We certainly will be doing this next year,” he added.
Coin’s simple sales technique underlines other nuggets of information Tasted gleaned in the course of the research, which she reckoned to be the biggest global fragrance study. According to P&G Prestige Products, 70 percent of the purchase decision is made in the store, 59 percent of shoppers leave the store without buying and 100,000 samples are given out in each door annually.
“If the store environment is difficult, it’s challenging for the consumer to shop in. If you eliminate the barriers, then your launches, your brands and your initiatives have more room to grow. They can breathe,” said Tasted.