Guest post: Experiencing the Fragrance Lab at Selfridges

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DRG contributor ALISON BISHOP reports on FRAGRANCE LAB: a searching personality profiling experience that distills your creative preferences into a scent

Someone said to me recently this is the decade of personalization, and that’s so true, especially when it comes to retail. Brands are looking to create ever more personalised experiences in stores to counteract the lure of convenience from online shopping. The appeal of a shopping experience that is not only personalized to you, but one that is tactile and sensory wins in my book hands down.

If you’ve ever wondered what your personality smells like, now you can find out at Selfridges, with its new Fragrance Lab experience created in conjunction with French perfume house Givaudan, retail design agency Campaign and consumer insight specialist The Future Laboratory (full disclosure: I’m employed by The Future Laboratory). The 15 minute ‘journey of discovery’ is part of the store-wide Beauty Project throughout May and June and is housed in a futuristic and magical concept space in The Wonder Room.

When I did the experience, I had no idea what was in store for my personal olfactory psychology test, all I knew was that I would get a fragrance that is 100% me at the end. But what would my mind smell like? After being greeted by the Fragrance Lab assistants in white coats, I got cracking with a five minute iPad questionnaire that asks you to choose which out of three visuals you like the most for a series of creatively and emotionally themed questions. Then I was handed a set of earphones and asked to climb up the stairs to the hidden corridor of curiosities. A woman with a gentle voice was my new audio guide and she proceeded to take me through a series of rooms prompting me to be mindful and consider my surroundings in each room. This section of the experience is where it becomes rather magical and truly personalised. What you like in each room has a direct effect on your bespoke scent and as such is integral to it being tailored to you. You are also taken on a mind-exploring journey that requires you to answer some searching questions both from the past, and how you see your future!

At the end of your time in the curiosity timewarp that is the Fragrance Lab experience, you emerge in Selfridges’ famous corner window (you are part of the experimental showcase after all), where one of the guys in the white coat explains your choices and how they were translated into your scent. I loved my scent. I am number 157, which apparently means I like to take risks, am a creative thinker (obvs) and like to have the things I discover validated by my peers. This is such a fun thing to do, and there is nothing more appealing from a shopping experience than having it exclusively tailored to you. According to the team at The Future Laboratory there are infinite combinations of personalities that can be translated into your Givaudan scent.

The best thing about the whole experience is that it’s also a euphemism for the future of retail. Actually, consumers really do want brands to talk to them more about how to curate products and services for their every whim.

The Fragrance Lab experience (£65) is bookable online and is on until the end of June.
The Future Laboratory has just released a ‘behind the scenes’ video that explains the concept in more detail, watch it here.

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is retail editor at LS:N Global/The Future Laboratory. Follow her on Twitter at @Retail_Planner and @lsnglobal