Whiff of success for fragrance retailer's digital marketing efforts
SINGAPORE – While many companies are still reeling from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, fragrance retailer Scent by Six has seen a surprising 25 per cent jump in its annual revenue.
The credit goes to its digital marketing efforts, which the retailer’s founder Jason Lee started barely a year ago.
Mr Lee, 36, said the jump was “totally unexpected”, given that the company’s revenues had plunged by 50 per cent last April, during the circuit breaker period.
“When I found out about the dwindling sales, to me, it was a very big warning sign, and I began to look and deep dive into digitalisation very seriously,” he said.
Digitalisation was never at the front of his mind when he started his business in 2014. But during the two-month circuit breaker last year, he realised it was the only way to reach customers.
Like many other business owners, Mr Lee, who is the sole shareholder, had been preoccupied by things like brand creation and generating sales. “I always had the impression that digitalisation can wait, but it was so wrong of me to think that way. I was solely focused on the retail store because I thought that for a business like ours, people need to be able to see and experience it physically. That was my biggest misconception.”
Although Mr Lee enrolled the business in the SMEs Go Digital programme in 2017, it started being more involved in the scheme only last year, taking on digital solutions such as human resource payroll, inventory management and e-commerce Web development software.
He began drilling down into details, such as the search engine optimisation of the company website.
“We studied where customers’ eyes will be drawn to when they first view the website. We wanted to study how we can place different images, and streamline the entire checkout process to make it more seamless and natural.”
For example, Mr Lee and his team decluttered the website to give it a simple look, with clear categories to click on for customers who are looking for something in particular.
He also made it easier for customers to reorder certain products by saving their purchase history.
Through the website, he has managed to speak to more customers, giving him the opportunity to send them samples – a move that has helped build customer loyalty.
But it was not all smooth sailing, and he took about a month to learn how to use the digital tools and solutions, he said, adding that it is an ongoing process of trial and error.
While he acknowledged that people will still prefer to visit the store physically when it comes to fragrances, he believes online channels are a good way to reach out to more customers and increase footfall at the retail store.
Mr Lee also intends to make the customer’s journey more personalised, and is working on a multi-sensory experience for his store through the use of a machine powered by artificial intelligence.
Customers who come in will be able to speak to a machine about their preferred scents, and a video with details about the scents will be played on the screen, together with a diffuser emitting the scents.
Mr Lee also intends to make use of the new Chief Technology Officer-as-a-Service initiative that was announced recently, as the company embarks on more digitalisation plans.
“I think it’s important to plant the seed right now. Then as we grow as a company, and when there are opportunities that come our way, we will be ready to capture them,” he said.
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