January 21 2015 Retail

Italian Desirée Parfums invests in a less ostensible and more subtle fragrance store


In a bid to create a more emotionally led, rather than brand-focused experience when shopping for perfume, Italian cosmetics company Desirée has opened its first concept fragrance store in central Milan, where perfumes are organised by scent, rather than brand.

Echoing the fashion notion of 'stealth wealth', in which subtler products and less overt branding trump obvious status symbols, the store concept places emphasis on the idea of personal discovery, rather than guiding customers via specific marketing or branding tactics. Taking that notion to extremes, the store even eschews perfume packaging in its visual merchandising; fragrances have instead been decanted into simple glass tester bottles and organised into one of seven olfactory categories – such as floral, citrus and woody – according to certain notes or characteristics.

In addition, interior finishes include exposed brick walls painted black, while simple shelving and storage units feature light boxes that illuminate the scented liquids on display.

On entering the space, consumers are greeted by assistants who ramp up the experience by guiding them through the range of scents with one-to-one service. Here they can learn about the different qualities and ingredients attributed to each fragrance, and try on perfumes most suited to them. Shoppers only discover the name of their chosen scent once a decision has been made and they've taken their chosen perfume to the counter.

For more on the growing value of placing learning at the centre of the retail experience, see The Rise of Edutainment. For more retail strategies devised to sell fragrance, see Selling Scent and Alluring Perfumeries.

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