During these uncertain times, one thing is certain. Companies need a strategy for how to welcome back uneasy consumers when the economy reopens.

This challenge is compounded for those playing in the already dicey brick and mortar retail industry, where giants have been toppled by e-commerce and the economic shut-down has dried up revenue.

To weather these challenges, retailers are looking to success stories for best practices and L’Occitane en Provence is a shining example. The renowned global skincare company posted record sales in 2019, crediting this success to their investment in the in-store experience.

Global Cosmetic Industry Magazine recently published “L’Occitane: The Scent of Retail,” featuring Lucile Crespin, who works in Communications and PR for L’Occitane en Provence, to discover how they’ve employed Prolitec’s AirQ scenting technology to help grow into one of the most recognized and successful brands in the world.

L’Occitane en Provence Partners with Prolitec

L’Occitane products are sold world-wide, with brick and mortar locations rapidly growing. The French-based skin care company partnered with Prolitec, one of the leading ambient scenting companies, to give customers a multi-sensory experience unique to the brand. This iconic in-store experience has been rolled out to more than 300 stores, helping L’Occitane en Provence sales grow 6.3% globally (nine-month 2020 sales), contributing to 20.2% growth for L’Occitane for the same period.

Selecting the right scent

“In our boutiques we want to take our clients on a sensory journey through the world of L’Occitane en Provence,” Crespin said. “This journey begins as soon as someone walks through the door and is enveloped by a captivating scent that instantly whisks them away to Provence.”

L’Occitane worked with Prolitec to develop the signature ambient scent from one of their most recognizable and popular products – Verveine. This fresh scent captures the rolling hills and vineyards throughout the South of France. Herbal and citrus notes create an uplifting feeling for every customer walking into the store. The same refreshing scent in diffused in all boutique locations to make L’Occitane customers feel connected.

“We chose the same fragrance for all of our boutiques, so that no matter where you are in the world, when you step into one of our boutiques, you are magically transported to the South of France,” explains Crespin.

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Why scent?

By adding a scent, customers are encouraged to linger longer and make purchases in the store, rather than online. Scent also creates powerful brand recognition and allows the L’Occitane to reach customers on an emotional level.

“Consumers are very responsive—and even influenced—by their sensory environment,” Crespin said. “Beautiful scents positively impact one’s mood and encourage one to linger longer, enjoying their surroundings, exploring new products and creating an emotional tie. This sensory connection makes clients more likely to come back to an invitingly scented boutique.”

Richard Weening, CEO of Prolitec, weighed in on how scent can boost sales numbers. “Considering that 50% of store purchases are impulse, this benefit is increased revenue,” Weening said. “There are additional applications and benefits for the various business categories like associating a scent with their brand.”

What customers are saying

“Our clients’ feedback has been very positive,” Crespin said. “Many of our clients are thrilled to find their favorite scent wafting through the boutique! They find it pleasantly relaxing, as if they have discovered a little sanctuary in their busy day.”

And it’s this ‘relaxing sanctuary’ that will give L’Occitane an advantage as they welcome back shoppers post-shutdown. Customers are looking for a glimpse of familiarity and comfort in a world where a new normal is yet to be established, and scent can provide just that. L’Occitane is helping them take a confident step back into stores, one refreshing breath at a time.


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About the Author

Heather Lane enjoys delving into research exploring the ways fragrance impacts people in their daily lives. She is a VP at Prolitec, a global provider of ambient scenting, and is working towards her MBA at Tulane University in New Orleans.

When not studying the fascinating ways fragrance intersects the world of business, Heather renovates historic houses and gets her hands dirty with her non-profit ceramics arts studio.