Today, omnichannel retailing gives pride of place to multi-sensory expression: all the senses can now experience perfume, in an increasingly advanced synesthetic approach.
For the launch of its Spicebomb Infrared perfume, Viktor & Rolf developed a soundtrack designed to provide the same sensations as the perfume: "a sound and a perfume that turns the heat up", an approach that could be described as sound-driven sampling. The sound signature of brands, both in e-commerce and in shops, of course, gives food for thought to stakeholders.
New online experiences...
It is also this search for multi-sensory and immersive experiences that has accelerated the development of virtual stores: for the first time online, they combine storytelling and transactional approaches, e-commerce and experience.
In addition to transcribing the sensations of the in-store experience, digital offers much wider possibilities, and that’s the whole point. It allows doing without physical, temporal or material constraints and turn the customer into an actor of the storytelling.
For example, the Miss Dior Immersive Journey experience, which allows creating one’s virtual avatar from a photo and having it evolve in the countryside, from the fields of flowers in Grasse to the Colle Noire estate.
At the same time, digital storytelling is making inroads into the real world thanks to augmented reality, as proposed by Lancôme, for example, with its Lens Snapchat, which proposes an interactive experience centred on the bottle and the La Vie est Belle campaign.
These practices can be perfectly integrated into the customer journey in a shop or a street-marketing approach, and will soon even result in a purchasing act.
... and new phygital destinations
On line, however, the immersion remains limited due to the use of a medium (mobile, tablet, virtual reality headset, etc.). The challenge for the brick-and-mortar store is to create an equally rich experience while getting rid of the media constraint to offer a fluid, and fully-fledged immersion.
Indeed, the role of the physical shop is evolving from being a place of transaction to becoming a place of destination, of life and experience. The height of the phygital customer experience must therefore consist in placing the customer in an immersive environment in which he or she evolves without any hindrance generated by the medium, allowing brands to give free rein to ever-greater creativity, particularly around olfactory discovery, the high point of the in-store experience.
In the world of augmented perfumery, the emergence of connected bottles (like Paco Rabanne’s Phantom) is broadening the field of possibilities in retail and customer relations. One can imagine interactive customer animations, using the messages displayed on the bottles, but also mechanisms of customer relationship management directly embedded in these connected bottles.
The POS, as a living space, will also have to offer ever more exclusive services: in this respect, personalisation, which has long been the prerogative of flagships, must be reinvented in boutiques since it has become accessible everywhere through digital technology. For example, Guerlain’s new online customisation platform centred on the Art et la Matière collection, which allows personalising every element of the bottle: the plate on the cap, the ribbon and the seal, the engraving...
The POS will therefore benefit from proposing exclusive versions or unique customisations, centred on a destination or an event. Beyond local anchoring, personalisation plays a key role in terms of animation and customer relations and will have much to gain by capitalising on the human dimension and the handcrafted gesture.
The human factor is precisely the key issue of tomorrow’s digital customer experience, which seeks precisely to recreate a relationship of trust and the warmth of interactions through new connected sales rituals.