Are you a fragrance enthusiast and aspiring entrepreneur? Have you ever dreamed of turning your passion for perfumes into a thriving online business? If yes, then in this blog, we’re about to embark on an aromatic journey into the world of online perfume sales. So, whether you’re a perfume admirer or someone eager to explore the lucrative world of eCommerce, we’ve got you covered with how to sell perfume online.
Scents and perfumes are a thriving segment of the cosmetics industry. After all, a human nose can differentiate up to 1 trillion odours and scents! That makes the perfume industry limitless in its opportunities.
Are you looking for a beginner’s guide to starting your very own perfume eCommerce brand? You’ve come to the right place!
Brief overview of the online perfume market
1. Market size
Whenever we start something new in the business, we always face this doubt; whether I am selecting the right industry or market or not? Therefore, here is a study to help you decide.
According to BlueWeave Consulting, the Indian fragrance market is set to grow steadily at 22.4% annually from 2023 to 2029.
India’s rich cultural heritage has resulted in a massive unorganised perfume industry worth $3 billion. As an important exporter of perfume ingredients, the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) set up operations in the country in 2022.
This is what Martina Bianchini, the Global President of IFRA had to say about India’s importance in the global fragrance industry:
“India is a country of spice and flowers. The history of fragrance dates back to centuries. Therefore, the Indian fragrance industry is of utmost importance globally since an increase in production In India will result in the globe getting more of these products. Our engagement in India highlights the importance of the country’s fragrance sector in the global industry all the way from the farmers, and growers to the manufacturers,”
Related read: How to set the right price for your product or service
2. Challenges in the industry
But, it’s not all roses. There are challenges. Let’s have a look at the following challenges that could be faced by the business in this industry.
- Fragrance perception: Online shoppers can’t smell the product before purchasing, which can make it challenging to convey the scent accurately through descriptions and images. This can lead to customer dissatisfaction if their expectations aren’t met (wait for the solution for this in upcoming segments.)
- Counterfeit products: Additionally, the fragrance industry faces issues with counterfeit products. Online marketplaces can inadvertently facilitate the sale of fake or imitation perfumes, which harms both consumers and legitimate sellers.
- Pricing and competition: The online perfume market is highly competitive, with numerous sellers offering a wide range of products. Pricing can be a challenge, as consumers often seek discounts, and competing solely on price can impact profit margins.
- Returns and refunds: Perfume is a personal product, and online sellers often have to deal with returns and refunds when customers are not satisfied with their purchase. Managing return policies and the potential for opened or used products can be complex.
3. Can I make money selling perfume online?
Perfumes have one of the widest profit margin ranges. In India, a perfume can cost anywhere from Rs 150 to Rs 10,000. Apart from that here are some other ways the online perfume industry can be profitable:
a. World domination – No, really!
Selling perfume online means you’re not confined by geographical boundaries. Your customers could be from anywhere on this lovely planet.
India’s rich flora and fauna also give us the benefit of being able to create long-lasting, natural and unique fragrances that see demand all over the globe! That’s a massive market right at your fingertips.
b. Money-saving magic
Traditional stores have all sorts of costs – rent, electricity, staffing – you name it. But online, you can run a tight ship with lower overheads. That means you can keep your prices competitive while still bringing in a good chunk of change.
Related read: How much does an eCommerce website cost in India?
c. Diverse product range
Your online perfume store can be like a fragrance wonderland. With an array of scents from different brands, you can cater to just about anyone’s taste.
The more variety you offer, the more potential customers you attract.
Future trends in the perfume industry
The perfume industry in India is in a unique position. It has the knowledge repository needed, the market demand, the manufacturing capability and government support.
But this also means there is intense competition. If you want to be a breakthrough eCommerce D2C brand, you should be able to recognise and participate in the future trends that will shake up this industry. H
Here are the most important trends:
1. Customisation and personalisation
Personalisation is becoming the NEXT big thing in perfumes. People want their “signature scents”, a scent that defines them and their personality.
A profitable business idea would be to let customers create their unique scents online. It’s a rising trend that will set your online store apart.
Here is an example of Scent Trunk that creates one-of-a-kind fragrances tailored to your individual tastes, sending them to you every month. All you need to do is begin with a Scent Test Kit, which lets you explore a selection of 6 foundational scents, helping you identify your preferences. Afterwards, the brand will ship a personalised blend right to your doorstep.
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2. Eco-friendly and ethical products
Be mindful of the rising consciousness of sustainability. People are now extremely cautious about what they buy, and what ingredients go into making their cosmetic products.
If you want your perfume brand to succeed, here are a few things you should make sure:
1. Your products should not be animal tested. Get a ‘Cruelty Free’ trust badge on your online store that says your products have not been tested on animals at all. This is what it will look like.
2. Make sure your ingredients are ethically sourced are listed as transparently as possible.
Plum is a D2C eCommerce brand that aligns with PETA’s guidelines when it comes to ingredient and product sourcing from its vendors. These guidelines explicitly prohibit any involvement in animal testing for both finished products and ingredients. Plum now ensures that its suppliers adhere to these regulations.
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3. Different types of perfume to choose from
Alright, let’s clear the air about perfumes and colognes – what’s what and how to pick the right one for you. Also, upcoming are the different types of perfume you can put in your store.
- Concentration: Perfume has a higher concentration of aromatic compounds (20-30% or more), while cologne has a lower concentration (2-4%).
- Longevity: Perfume lasts longer (6-8 hours or more), while cologne has a shorter duration (2-4 hours).
- Intended use: Perfume is for special occasions and evening wear, while cologne is for everyday use, particularly in warm weather.
- Packaging and application: Perfume is in smaller bottles, applied sparingly, while cologne is in larger bottles and applied more liberally.
Perfumes come in various types and categories, each with its own unique characteristics and ingredients. The primary types of perfumes are based on their concentration of aromatic compounds, and they include:
- Eau de Cologne (EDC): Lowest aromatic compounds (2-4%) for a quick refresh. Short-lived.
- Eau de Toilette (EDT): Moderate (5-15%) for daily use. Balanced strength and duration.
- Eau de Parfum (EDP): Strong (15-20%) for evenings and special occasions. Long-lasting.
- Parfum (Perfume): Highest (20-30%+) for maximum potency and duration.
- Ittar: In India, highly concentrated, natural blend (15-30%+), with a rich history.
Categories of Perfume
Besides the concentration-based categorisation, perfumes can also be grouped into various fragrance families or types based on their scents. Some common fragrance types include:
- Floral: Light and feminine with rose, jasmine, or lily scents.
- Oriental: Rich, warm, and exotic with spices and vanilla.
- Woody: Earthy and grounded with sandalwood and cedar.
- Citrus: Fresh and zesty with lemon and orange.
- Gourmand: Sweet and comforting with vanilla and caramel.
- Fougère: Fresh and herbaceous, often in men’s colognes.
- Aqua: Marine and refreshing, ideal for summer.
- Chypre: Complex and elegant, combining citrus, wood, and moss.
- Leather: Bold and smoky with leather and tobacco.
- Green: Crisp and invigorating with fresh, grassy notes.
Did you know, perfume notes are categorised into top, middle (heart), and base notes, all contributing to the overall scent. In India, a variety of fragrances are used, such as citrus and mint for top notes, florals and spices for middle notes, and musk and oud for base notes.
- Top notes (opening notes): Citrus (e.g., lemon, bergamot), Mint (e.g., peppermint, spearmint), Herbs (e.g., basil, coriander), Fruits (e.g., apple, grapefruit)
- Middle notes (heart notes): Floral (e.g., rose, jasmine), Spices (e.g., cardamom, saffron), Woody (e.g., sandalwood, cedarwood), Oriental Notes (e.g., amber, incense)
- Base notes (dry down): Musk, Vanilla, Patchouli, Agarwood (Oud), Leather
4. Leverage social media effectively
Social media, email marketing, and online Facebook ads are your friends. They help you reach a vast audience. With the right strategy, your perfume business can be the talk of the digital town.
Use effective keywords, create buyer personas that will resonate with your brand and most importantly – engage your customers with user-generated content on social media.
Here’s an example of “Perfume Steal” using the perfect keyword for their business when selling perfumes online with Google ads.
How to sell perfume online?
Selling perfume online is an exciting venture beyond merely buying and selling. Have you ever thought about sharing your favourite fragrances with people worldwide while running your own online perfume business?
Well, this is how it could be possible!
Before we have a look at the detailed piece, here is a checklist that gets you started on an online perfume business.
1. Market research and analysis
Imagine selling perfume online as a thrilling journey – market research and analysis are your trusty guides.
Try and find the gap in the market for perfumes that people are looking for but are not able to find!
Market research will also help you understand what your budget range for perfumes would be. Would you be a budget seller, a luxury perfume seller or a traditional Indian fragrance (ittar) seller?
2. Do I need a licence to sell perfume?
To kickstart your perfume business, you’ll need a few essential things. First, you should get a business licence, which is like your official approval to sell perfume online. If you’re planning to buy perfume materials in bulk and sell them, you’ll also need a seller’s permit.
Well, a seller’s permit grants a business the authority to gather state sales tax from customers, and it’s issued by the state government.
Remember, that business license is a must whether you’re selling ready-made perfumes or homemade ones. Espcially if your business has an annnual trunover of more than Rs 40 Lakh, (or Rs 20 Lakh in north eastern states), you would need a GST registration certificate.
If you have chosen a manufacturer for your perfume business, ensure that they have the correct licences from an approved Licensing Authority appointed by your State Government.
3. Pricing and competitive strategy
Selling perfumes online can be a fragrant journey filled with opportunities and challenges. One of the critical aspects of success is getting your pricing and competitive strategy right. Here are the essential steps for creating a compelling pricing strategy and staying competitive in the online perfume market.
a. Competitive pricing
Your pricing should align with the market but also reflect the unique value your perfumes offer. Consider the pricing tiers in the market, such as premium, mid-range, and budget, and decide where your brand fits.
b. Customer segmentation
Understand your customer base and segment it based on preferences, demographics, and buying behaviour. Tailor your pricing strategy to each segment to maximise revenue.
ResearchGate’s study of Perfumes Buying Behaviour of Consumers in India delves into the Indian market to grasp the potential of perfumes and the factors influencing consumer buying behaviour in this context.
4. Different platforms to sell perfume online
Here are the top 3 platforms that cater to a variety of business needs and audience types:
- Your own website: Building your eCommerce site provides maximum control over your brand and customer experience. It’s ideal for established brands or those aiming to strengthen their online presence.
- Subscription services: Partner with companies to reach a focused audience interested in exploring new scents regularly.
- Social media: Using platforms like Instagram and Facebook is an effective way to promote and sell perfumes. If you already have an eCommerce website of your own, you can redirect people from social media. Entice customers by promoting a few choice products and then let them browse through your entire collection on your online store!
Look at Layer’s Wottagirl best in the industry marketing strategies.
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5. Build a brand story around your perfume business
If you want to sell your perfume online and make customers explore other choices in your store, here’s the deal: create a compelling brand story for your business.
Make your brand stand out by using the right colours, themes, and logo style that resonate with people.
Look at the 2 brand images. The colours, bottle shape, presentation, print etc all help as differentiators for the 2 kinds of brand. The first image is from Forest Essentials which is an Indian ethnic brand. The second image is a super luxury brand- Versace.
This is why choosing your brand elements is very important when starting a new eCommerce business.
Setting up your online perfume business
Launching the online perfume store takes the right blend of elements and a touch of creativity. With the perfect and reliable platform, it could be possible to reach out to a vast audience. But how? To discover that, here are the complete steps to follow.
1. Building your eCommerce website
Ready to launch your online perfume shop? Here is a step-by-step guide:
- Grab a catchy domain name
- Make sure you have chosen a mobile-friendly eCommerce platform like Instamojo
- Set up your homepage, About Us page, Contact Us page, and product navigation
- Brand your website with your logo and colours
2. Product listings
Create great perfume listings with clear descriptions and eye-catching pics. Since people can’t smell and test your product, your product descriptions need to be able to create that perfect image.
Product description is the main element that helps you sell the perfume online.
Here is an example of a product description that helps you imagine what the smell will be like. Paint a story with your words.
Don’t forget, your perfume bottles need to look nice too! Here’s where your eCommerce photography skills come into play.
Enhance your product photography abilities with our detailed and easy-to-follow steps.
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2. Shipping and logistics
For shipping perfumes partner with experienced carriers to ensure packes are shipped securely with minimum chances of breaking.
Consider shipping insurance for expensive bottles, and establish a clear return policy.
Want to make your shipping a breeze? Experience real-time order tracking with Instamojo’s Auto Shipment Tracking. Here’s a video tutorial.
3. Payment processing and financial management
Trustworthy payment processing like Instamojo ensures secure payments for your customers. Keep your pricing crystal clear, and use SSL certificates for extra safety.
If you’re thinking of selling internationally, offer various currencies.
Let’s have a look at Instamojo’s store Frags Talk and how well it has designed the website for fragrance admirers out there.
“Frags Talk” excels in niche fragrance selection, user-friendly design, secure payments, and customer trust. Customer reviews and social media connections inform and promote the business. Emulate these strategies to create your own standout online perfume store.
2. Packaging for perfume
Packaging is one of the most important parts of being a successful perfume brand. Here are some things to keep in mind when packaging:
- Unboxing: Enhance the unboxing experience with personal notes or thoughtful gifts, leaving a lasting impression.
- Information: Provide complete fragrance details and usage instructions to build trust with customers.
- Branding: Proudly display your brand name, logo, and contact details for consistent, recognisable branding.
- Allergen disclaimer: Perfumes and cosmetics are sensitive products and may cause allergies to certain people. (Be sure you include allergy test instructions as well!)
Packaging also has an emotional value. Choose the kind of emotions you want your customers to feel when they see your packaged perfume.
If it’s a luxury vibe that you are going for, go for sleek-looking boxes. If it’s a handcrafted artisanal vibe, go for motifs or ethnic decorations on the packaging.
Here is a basic guide on the psychology of packaging: How colours, shapes, and materials influence consumer choices
Marketing or promotion for perfume
To elevate your online perfume sales, focus on smart marketing, appealing packaging, and offering product samples. Here’s how.
1. Marketing and promotion
- Online presence: Optimise your user-friendly, visually appealing website and leverage social media platforms for product showcases.
- Influencer collaboration: Partner with trusted beauty influencers for reviews and promotions to boost your brand’s credibility.
- Email marketing: Start with email marketing by building a customer email list for updates, offers, and personalised engagement.
- PPC advertising: Consider PPC ads on platforms like Google and Facebook to target specific demographics.
- Content marketing: Create informative content to educate and improve your website’s visibility.
- Product sampling: Offer fragrance samples to let customers experience your products and increase purchase likelihood.
Related read: Should Your D2C Strategy Include Product Sampling?
Here is an example of a product listing of Attar by Isak, and Indian D2C brand.
2. Use discount coupons for promotions
Create a strategy for periodic discounts with coupon codes. These can attract new customers and boost sales. Just ensure they don’t erode your profit margins.
With Instamojo, you can easily set up discount coupons from flat discounts to, percentage offs.
Learn more with us about the marketing strategies!
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Start selling perfume online with your Instamojo store
Discover the power of Instamojo in building your own online perfume store. With our user-friendly eCommerce platform, effortlessly set up your digital fragrance shop with a secure payment gateway and seamless shopping.
So, promote your product listings with captivating visuals and compelling descriptions to attract customers. Plus, we help you integrate the store with social media, and provide top-notch customer support. Get ready to launch your perfume business with confidence and establish a competitive online presence, all with the help of Instamojo.