April 30, 2009, 12:00 AM

Fragrance retailer puts a fresh social scent on a tough year for growing sales

After a typically tough January, things have been coming up roses for fragrance retailer Scentiments.com. Thanks to a number of promotional efforts, including through social networks, sales shot up in February and March.

After a typically slow January, things have been smelling good this year for fragrance retailer Scentiments.com. In February, Valentine’s Day sales shot up 20% year over year, then sales in March also climbed in double-digits.

“I had been projecting double-digit declines this year,” CEO Howard Wyner says. “But we keep finding ways to better connect with our customers and keep them coming back.”

In February and March, for example, Scentiments offered free shipping on orders of $75 or more, and in March conducted special March Madness sales, borrowing the nickname of the annual national college basketball tournament. It has also been getting good response from e-mail promotions with personalized offers developed with MyBuys recommendation technology.

Scentiments is also getting more traction with consumers through its growing presence on social networks, Wyner says. A year ago, it provided links from each of its approximately 8,000 online products to several social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Delicious, Digg and BuzzUp, where Scentiments shoppers can post information about favorite products on their personal pages.

E-mail friends

The product pages also let shoppers click a link to e-mail their friends, an option that so far has proved more popular among shoppers than the links to social networks, Wyner says.

But though he wasn’t yet able to identify any increase in traffic or sales from these social network links, Wyner recently expanded his social networking strategy with Scentiments.com’s own pages on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and has begun to more closely link his social networking strategy with more traditional online marketing.

“The more social you become online, the more popular you become,” says Wyner, who posts messages to his Twitter page through his iPhone.

Scentiments.com is now mentioning its new Twitter and Facebook pages in marketing and order confirmation e-mails to customers, letting them know, for instance, that they can find exclusive deals there. Customers who visit the retailer’s Twitter and Facebook pages will see special product offers coded so that Scentiments can track any sales to each network page.

In addition, Scentiments operates a blog at Scentimentscom.blogspot.com, and is developing additional blogs that will feature particular types of content such as consumer-generated product reviews and news about the fragrance market.

The retailer is also expanding on more traditional promotions. Last month, for example, it launched a “Super Saver” shipping offer that ships any order for $3.99 without promising a specific delivery date. Its usual fee for basic UPS ground shipping is $5.99. “So far, more than 80% of shoppers are taking the Super Saver option,” Wyner says.

paul@verticalwebmedia.com

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