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Point Parfums Digital: Towards the uberization of distribution?

Point Parfums Digital is much more than a launch pad for fragrances and sampling: the testing, sample distribution and online selling start-up was recently listed on the stock exchange by Patrick Tardif, and it aims to revolutionize the sale of perfumes and possibly create the largest perfume shop in the world. Is this the beginning of uberization for selective perfumery retailers?

Patrick Tardif

Patrick Tardif

The idea of distributing perfume or cosmetic samples, or even products in their standard sizes via automated machines is not new. Various concepts have already been tested with more or less success. However, Point Parfums Digital intends to go much farther by creating a link between the physical and digital worlds, thanks to a concept involving a kiosk protected by a world patent. And it seems the start-up is not the only one thinking about it.

Since a tiny part of our capital (2,000 actions for 2.52 million) was listed on the Euronext Paris Free Market in early June, we have been approached by several distributors and brands,” declares Patrick Tardif, founder and Director of the company.

A typical example of phygital retail

It is still a unique concept, as it makes it possible to smell a fragrance freely, buy a sample for 1 to 4 euros, and then be reimbursed for it and/or buy the bottle chosen online via the QR code on the packaging”, explains Patrick Tardif, who sees this innovation as the perfect example of how the digital world’s assets can be efficiently integrated into physical locations. The now famous phygital retail concept is getting both brands and distributors enthusiastic.

Patrick Tardif is well-known in the small world of French perfumery. In 1991, he created Process Blue, which quickly became the first franchise network of selective perfumery in France with 120 stores, before being purchased by Nocibé in 2000. He knows distribution very well and is convinced the selective distribution agreement in its current form will not withstand the expiry of the exemption regulation in 2022. “Almost 1,400 new fragrances are launched internationally every year, which means several billion samples are distributed, but they miss their targets much too often, because distributors used them for something they were not meant for. Starting from a certain amount of money spent, the samples end up at the bottom of bags without any target, or without customers being asked whether they are interested in such or such product.

Increasing points of contact with customers

The Point Parfums Digital concept was tested on more than 45,000 consumers with brands like Azzaro, Clarins, Thierry Mugler, or Paco Rabanne, but also with very little-known brands on the French market. In the end, the conversion rate varied from 12 to 40% depending on the fragrance and location. “Consumers want to smell perfumes before they buy them, because the scent is the main reason they will actually make a purchase. That is why online selling is doing poorly in perfumery. We offer brands an economical solution to get them closer to customers, and we offer customers a quick, convenient solution to test products and make purchases,” Patrick Tardif emphasizes. “Today, luxury is also being able to make customers gain time.

On top of it all, Point Parfums Digital boasts about offering manufacturers, brands, or distributors a cheap means – by comparison with the cost of a store – to reach customers. Indeed, the Point Parfums Digital automated kiosks fitted with touch screens only occupy a maximum area of 0.25m2. They can be installed as stand-alone machines or in groups of two, three, four, six, or even twelve in any passageway: commercial galleries, cinemas, train stations, subways… The company has already signed agreements with shopping mall lessors to implant its terminals in almost 200 places in France. And yet, today it intends to go much farther.

Largest distributor in the world?

There are 25,000 shopping malls around the world, not even counting airports,” underlines Patrick Tardif, who is no longer just focusing on France. “The success we knew when we got listed on the stock exchange, and the fact that we have been spontaneously approached since then made us rethink our strategy.

In short, with an increase in value of approximately 9 million euros (given the value of the securities currently listed) and a strong interest from major players of the industry and distribution, Point Parfums Digital has developed broader ambitions than the 3 million euros first intended to be raised to spread across France. “We are three years ahead of our competitors. It is enough to start industrializing our concept and consider creating the first global network for perfume distribution,” he affirms.

Therefore, the idea is to approach a group that will be able to develop the concept on the global level over a period of about ten years. As a matter of fact, Patrick Tardif has given an exclusive mandate to NFinance Securities to receive bids. “Can you imagine the commercial potential of 20,000 terminals connecting consumers to online stores?

As pure players like Amazon, eBay, Cdiscount, NET-A-PORTER.COM, or vente-privee.com are taking a keen interest in perfumes and cosmetics, and while brands are trying to increase their points of contact with consumers, this new concept might actually quickly revolutionize the way numerous perfume brands are sold!

Vincent Gallon

Portfolio

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