Coty Turns to Mixed Reality to Enhance Fragrance Retail

Coty believes technology is the key to revamping fragrance retail.
Earlier this month, the beauty giant debuted a multisensory fragrance discovery experience in Buenos Aires. Using mixed reality technology, the experience allows customers to better pinpoint their ideal scent through the evocation of emotion rather than the traditional semantics of luxury fragrance. Already, it has received a positive response.
"There is a lot of complexity in the fragrance world," said Elodie Levy, senior director of digital innovation at Coty. "Sometimes you ask what kind of fragrance you prefer and people don’t have the answer because the terminology is so specific and very expert. The idea came from how can we help the shopper to navigate through the world of fragrances in a much more emotional way using the senses in comparison to anything which would use words and language."
Here's how it works: Wearing a virtual reality headset, the customer picks up one of seven scent stones that vary in texture. He or she is then propelled into a visual environment that pairs sight with scent and sound. Once through the animated experience, the guest can either try another stone or give feedback to a beauty consultant, who can then use this information to recommend the best fragrance.
"It’s a good alliance of technology, science and art, and there is a dimension of emotions brought by the experience, which is new in the category," Levy said. "We received some initial feedback from the market, and the engagement from users has been surpassing expectations. people said they discovered more about their olfactive profiles. The purchase intent is high and people are usually buying the fragrance they are recommended. All signs are very positive for now."
The discovery experience was first brought to Buenos Aires, where Coty recognized "a strong appetite and desire from consumers to know more about the world of luxury fragrances," Levy said. Now Coty is looking to scale the technology.
"The way we would like to scale this is first by extending through different geographies and retailers, which would remain a category solution when you would enter different olfactive families," Levy said. "The second type of expansion we’re thinking of is more at the brand level on how we could utilize this tool to have people discover different collections from one single brand."
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