Skylar, an indie clean fragrance brand, is getting into the perfume subscription game to acquire new customers and incentivize current ones to engage more with the brand.
The new subscription called the Skylar Scent Club debuts on April 1. It includes a monthly limited-edition fragrance in a 10-milliliter bottle, 10 percent off the brand’s six full-size products (which sell for $78 each) and access to a forthcoming roster of meet-ups and events. The scent club is the first use of capital from the brand’s $8 million Series A funding round in February, according to Cat Chen, founder and CEO of Skylar. She declined to disclose company sales figures. Chen said she believes the new service will be an enticing product for existing customers and will also serve as a bottom-funnel driver to reach new shoppers.
“To me, the scent club is something we would love for [existing] customers to add on [to their purchase],” she said. “It creates an additional option, and I imagine some customers will have a signature scent and then want newness.”
Skylar has been taking pre-launch email sign-ups from VIP customers since March 15 and from the general public since March 19. The price for the subscription will be $20, which is $9 less than the 10-milliliter travel rollerballs it currently sells on its site, which are priced $29. The less expensive price for the subscription is not only because most people expect value from such a service but also because the assumption is that most subscribers will purchase additional full-size fragrances, said Chen; though the company will earn slimmer margins on the subscription, it will drive people to make more purchases.
“The frequency of purchase is another reason this [subscription] will work better than the ad hoc purchase,” said Chen. “If customers subscribe, they’ll likely [purchase] more fragrances each year. We are paying a cost to acquire each customer, but if they love us, then the economics, in the long run, will work.”
Skylar is moving beyond samples and toward events as a means to engage customers within its subscriptions. The first event will likely be held between June and August in Los Angeles, Chen said, but the goal is to ultimately have monthly Scent Club meet-ups in every state by 2020. To scale this, the brand expects to tap into both its paid and unpaid influencer pool and VIP customers who would host the meetups, said Chen.
Skylar is not the only fragrance brand working toward an engaged audience and certainly not the only business offering perfume subscriptions. Scentbird, which launched in 2014, has built a base of over 257,000 customers who subscribe monthly and has expanded into makeup and skin care. It has also done pop-ups to meet its customers. Indie fragrance brand Pinrose launched a “Starter Witch Kit” to engage more deeply with its shoppers.
According to Chen, Skylar conducted consumer studies, focus groups and testing, and found that over 65 percent of its customers are “constantly” looking for new scents, regardless of what they have. As a result, she doesn’t expect an overlap of competition.
“Fragrance and beauty, in general, are not winner-takes-all environments,” she said. “What we are really finding is that we aren’t competing against other natural or online fragrance companies. We are pulling from the traditional [in-store] fragrance buyer.”
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