Jo Malone London is looking to appeal to young Chinese customers with a digital quiz allowing them to create customized fragrances on Alibaba’s Tmall e-commerce platform.
Debuting on Tmall in mid-August, Jo Malone is the first brand to display a Fragrance Finder tool as a permanent feature. The quiz requires customers to answer a series of questions related to mood, personality and style that lead to a final result: one of 300 possible fragrances made from a combination of 26 scents. As part of its customization push, Jo Malone’s Fragrance Finder is featured prominently on the landing page for its Tmall storefront. After taking the quiz, users are taken to a results page showing a few product options including their ideal fragrance and other perfumes for layering, as well as descriptions of each scent and links to product pages so they can read reviews and finally make a purchase.
Overall, the idea behind the Fragrance Finder is to allow people to customize their fragrance — something the brand has always offered at its brick-and-mortar locations — in hopes it can reach a younger consumer, according to Anna Tan, China brand gm for Jo Malone London.
“[Gen Z] is a group of consumers that seeks to accentuate their personal styles, and stand out from the mainstream,” she said. “They are less interested in big-name mass market perfumes like Chanel No. 5 and more open to blending their own scents.”
Brands across the retail and beauty industry have been eager to appeal to Chinese customers, and many have partnered with Alibaba in some capacity to experiment with new ways to offer products and find out what resonates with customers. For example, K-beauty brand Innisfree recently started working with Alibaba as part of the platform’s “New Retail” brick-and-mortar initiative in China, while Spanish-brand Martiderm relied on Alibaba’s 11:11 Global Shopping Festival (popularly known as Singles’ Day) to drive brand sales in the region.
In the case of Jo Malone, the brand gives customers the option to add a more high-touch experience in addition to its customization quiz, offering high-end gift boxes and ribbons, handwritten greeting cards, exclusive wine tastings, manicure sessions and more add-ons during checkout. Between Aug. 1 and Aug. 16, when the brand offered pre-sale access on Tmall, the majority of customers — about 60 percent — had opted into the custom gift packaging service. Although both Alibaba and the brand declined to quantify the success of the Fragrance Finder or overall brand sales performance, Alibaba said Jo Malone saw a “very strong” sales performance and reached the top one-day sales in the perfume category when the brand launched.
There is more to the Fragrance Finder than simply offering customization to appeal to younger customers, according to Eric Wang, director of Tmall strategic partnership development at Alibaba. It is also about fostering or strengthening an emotional connection that a shopper has with the brand and their customized scent.
“Its most important value lies not only in its ability to help consumers overcome the usual barriers of purchasing fragrances online but also its power to build an emotional connection for consumers as they go on a highly personalized journey to find their signature scent,” he said. This is achieved by asking personal questions relating to, for example, how they plan to use the perfume (for themselves or for a gift), or whether they are looking for a fragrance to use in the daytime, at night or at all hours. One question asks customers to pick a destination that inspires them the most.
“Chinese consumers are looking for unique products that allow them to express their individual personalities and that also convey a brand’s history and heritage.”