Crafting a comprehensive off-price strategy
Fragrance brands should develop a strategy that treats off-price as a largely separate yet complementary segment for their full-price offerings. The goal should be to expand the overall business while fiercely protecting brand reputation. Three priorities can ensure brands maximise the potential of the off-price opportunity.
1. Protect the brand across channels
The best operators of outlet malls and villages have created an excellent shopper experience whilst avoiding too much price and volume transparency. Because brands don’t want shoppers to know they can get goods on markdown a week later, the physical separation of outlet locations and high-street city centres has traditionally provided more comfort.
Online off-price platforms threatened to make pricing for every item just one click away, so brands were initially reluctant to participate. However, the emergence of closed off-price portals enables brands to disclose prices and discounts while keeping those barriers in place. As a strategic sales partner experienced in the off-price channel, a key part of the Beautynet service is ensuring that its brand partners understand the reach and transparency of online platforms, and that we stay constantly up to date with new membership-based models.
2. Be discerning when choosing partners
The best off-price partners, regardless of model, will extend the reach of a brand. For the offline channel, brands should seek to identify partners with a trusted network of outlets in other countries and markets. Customer experience should also be a priority to reinforce a brand’s distinctiveness. For the online channel, a brand’s approach depends on whether selling direct to retail, or via a strategic sales partner such as Beautynet.
Direct to retail: Brands should evaluate the retailer’s online experience (closed versus open) and brand selection, to ensure their inventory does not suffer from being placed next to cheaper products.
Strategic Sales Partner: Partners should be strategically chosen on the basis of strict criteria (e.g. reach, transparency) and assortments can be curated that focus on less sensitive and/or long-tale references.
“The best off-price partners, regardless of model, will extend the reach of a brand.”
3.Optimize the channel mix
Fragrance companies should take a holistic view of how the offline and online channels can support each other across consumer touchpoints. While the shift to online is happening rapidly, offline outlet shopping centres should be considered as a viable channel in the same way that consumers see fashion outlets as attractive destinations thanks to their exemplary experience. They can offer both immersive brand experiences and an opportunity to raise brand awareness among consumers. And because many consumers still get their first exposure to brands at these physical outlets, they are a potential gateway for extended engagement that can be reinforced by online channels.
Online on the other hand, has a different yet equally compelling proposition for consumers: it provides convenience —with goods just one click away. Some online players have standing assortments year-round to satisfy needs for items, while flash sales players offer a more gamified, discovery experience. Additionally, the online channel represents a sustainable way for brands to handle overstocks.
The predicted growth of off-price creates greater urgency for fragrance brands to develop a coherent strategy that captures more value from this untapped segment. The benefits—from increased profits and increased control of secondary markets to expanded reach and a sustainable way to sell overstock—more than justify any investment. The most successful fragrance companies will take it one step further by elevating their brand’s reputation in the process.