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Cosmetics group Coty puts virtual reality at the heart of the customer experience

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Nicola Mira
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today Jan 2, 2019
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At the Julieraque perfumery in Buenos Aires, Argentina, US cosmetics group Coty is offering its customers a unique olfactory experience enhanced by virtual reality.

Wearing a VR headset, customers can choose one of seven scented stones, each representing an olfactory landscape which takes shape through a combination of smell, touch, sound and 3D images.

Customers are able to discover their ideal fragrance based on the environment they prefer, browsing through Coty's portfolio of luxury fragrances which includes Burberry, Chloé and Gucci.


Coty’s virtual reality fragrance experience - DR


“Our goal is to extend this feature to more Coty brands, and to work with new partners to offer customers a better fragrance experience and better service,” said Elodie Levy, who heads digital innovation at Coty.

The VR experience has been developed by Coty’s own research team in collaboration with digital innovation agency DVgroup. It is deployed for the time being in Argentina, a market that is still far from mature for Coty, and where customers haven’t yet discovered the full extent of the group’s product range.

However, introducing Coty’s brand portfolio to new consumers isn’t the only goal of the US group’s innovative retail initiative, which is also designed to enable the group to boost the sales of its luxury products division (among them the fragrances by Gucci, Tiffany, Miu Miu and Chloé) which were down 2.1% in the first quarter of the financial year, closed at the end of September.

Coty isn’t the only group whose perfume sales are slumping. In France alone, according to market research firm Kantar, the selective perfumery channel lost over two million customers in five years. This is driving brands to introduce a plethora of original initiatives to win back customers and woo new ones. Like for example Guerlain, which recently launched Olfaplay in France, a digital platform featuring a website and a mobile app where fragrance aficionados are able to tell the story of their olfactory memories.

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