First-of-its-Kind Experiential Fragrance Concept Launches at Hudson’s Bay

(Hudson's Bay, Yorkdale. Photo: Alex Rebanks Architects. Inc.) 

(Hudson's Bay, Yorkdale. Photo: Alex Rebanks Architects. Inc.

By Mario Toneguzzi

COTY Canada is revolutionizing the fragrance shopping experience launching a new fūme scent lounge at the Hudson’s Bay in Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

The first-of-its-kind initiative is a multi-sensory experience redefining the way men and women discover fragrance as the space is aimed at reaching millennials in a category where the shopping experience has remained largely consistent over the years.

Amaury de Vallois, General Manager at COTY Canada, says the company recognized an opportunity to reinvent and elevate the art of perfume in a modern way.

“Millennials have different shopping habits from the generations before them, and this new experience is visually interesting – an innovative and interactive way to try different scents.”

The new shop-in-a-shop retail outlet is a pilot project after officials realized some interesting things from research about millennials. First, shopping is an experience for them as they look to interact with brands before buying. Second, 75 per cent of them still want to buy in a bricks and mortar location. And third, memorable, entertaining experiences allowing for the discovery of something new are important to them.

The new fūme scent lounge was designed for that with sight, sound, touch and smell part of the sensory journey to discover fragrance with a modern approach.

Diane Sonnenberg, vice-president, marketing, luxury with COTY Canada, says the concept is the company’s re-invention and re-imagination of the fragrance shopping experience.

“It’s really bringing fragrance shopping back to an art form,” she says. “If you think about fragrance, everything about it is art from the creation of the fragrance itself from a master perfumer to the artisan that creates the bottle, the art directors that create the campaigns whether they be the photography or the video. It’s all art. We really wanted to elevate the experience to an art form in a very modern way . . .  A completely different experience for the modern consumer."

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“We felt we had an obligation to help modernize the fragrance selling experience and make it fun and experiential. This is a pilot project . . . We’re testing this one and we’re hoping for great success and we’ll see where things go from there.”

Here are some of the key features of the lounge:

  • It is framed below a curling fabric canopy designed to resemble perfume mist;
  • There are large-format screens across a series of sculptural digital pillars;
  • The latest videos from fashion icons such as Gucci and Marc Jacobs will be played to music;
  • Non-spray inhalers allow consumers to explore the different fragrances;
  • Each inhaler is RFID-tagged, so it can be scanned on the interactive table, displaying information about the brand, the fragrance notes, selection and price; and
  • A playful quiz provides consumers with custom scent suggestions.

“This concept aligns with our vision to offer our customers new and unique experiences,” says Alison Coville, President, Hudson’s Bay. “We believe it will excite our customers and enhance their shopping experience, allowing them to discover the perfect fragrance in a new and playful way.”

The space was designed by dkstudio architects with principals Dmytriy Pereklita and Karen MakICON Digital Productions partnered to coordinate technology for the installation. 

(Yorkdale beauty hall. Photo: alexrebanks.com) 

(Yorkdale beauty hall. Photo: alexrebanks.com

“When we started working on it, I knew immediately this could not be a normal fragrance counter,” says Pereklita.

“We’re leading the customer on a journey of discovery . . . It’s really quite a different experience than the traditional department store way of buying perfume.”

COTY is the third largest beauty company in the world with approximately $9 billion in pro forma revenue. It operates three divisions - Consumer Beauty, which is focused on mass colour cosmetics, mass retail hair colouring and styling products, body care and mass fragrances with brands such as COVERGIRL, Max Factor and Rimmel; Luxury, which is focused on prestige fragrances and skincare with brands such as Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Hugo Boss, Gucci and philosophy; and Professional Beauty, which is focused on servicing salon owners and professionals in both hair and nail, with brands such as Wella Professionals, Sebastian Professional, OPI and ghd.

**Images provided by COTY via MSL Group

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Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: mdtoneguzzi@gmail.com

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Mario Toneguzzi

Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: mdtoneguzzi@gmail.com.