Fragrance shoppers are most likely to purchase scents after trying them on their own skin, which has made digital product merchandising and sales particularly difficult for the category. However, the success of niche brands like Le Labo (purchased by Estée Lauder in 2015) suggests there is potential. L2 released a study this week benchmarking the digital competence of 33 brands with fragrance lines and identifying best practices.

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A look at the overall efforts of brands in the study reveals that most online merchandising efforts focus on the visuals, with brands repurposing video and print collateral from celebrity-driven product launches to enhance product detail pages. This occurs on both brand and retailer sites, both which rely on bottle displays and aspirational narratives featuring celebrities. However, certain brands have tailored their on-site content to fragrance products. In L2’s 2015 Beauty Index, brand sites emphasized guided selling tactics to facilitate purchases while often ignoring nuances.

For example, just a third of fragrance brands have user reviews. And of those, just 56% allow a filtering option for reviews. Certain brands like Jo Malone are being more creative in soliciting relevant information from reviewers; Jo Malone prompts users to include where they where the scent (e.g., this fragrance is perfect for…). That is a level of customization many brands in the enterprise have not achieved. For example, users can submit and filter reviews for Clinique’s Happy and Estée Lauder’s Modern Muse by unique characteristics, but those characteristics are relevant to skincare purchases (skin type and concern) rather than fragrances.

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