Ralph Lauren’s former head of e-commerce smells success in fragrance

June 28, 2016 01:48 PM

A former fashion e-commerce executive is selling scents online, but he’s counting on photos and other visuals to make sales. .

Eric Korman, former president of digital and global e-commerce at upscale apparel brand Ralph Lauren (No. 53 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide), has launched online-only fragrance retailer Phlur, which carries six unisex fragrances by two manufacturers. The retailer charges $10 for a sample of each scent, which is designed to last two weeks. Korman hopes shoppers will like the samples enough to purchase an $85 bottle of the scent, with Phlur crediting the $10 sample price toward the purchase price.

“We’ve priced the samples at $10 because that’s what it costs for us to manufacture and distribute them,” he says.

Phlur’s site uses responsive design to adapt to the size of the device it’s being viewed on. Korman says it was designed with the mobile shopper in mind.

Korman is banking on evocative imagery and storytelling to help shoppers figure out which of the six fragrances suits them best.

For instance, shoppers will see photos of the emotions and moods that a particular fragrance is meant to evoke.

“For each scent, we’ve created a distinct, evocative visual experience that draws you into that scent” and narrows the choice, he says. “Sampling is really important primarily because for you to know if you like a fragrance, you need to smell it on your skin.”

Austin, Texas-based Phlur has raised $2.75 million in funding, according to CrunchBase. To get the word out, Korman says he’s working with “key influencers”—these include bloggers and others across social media channels—to have them sample the company’s products and spread the word.

“We’re just starting to do some very light paid search but as we build the brand and get our footing, we’ll look at activating targeted digital media channels,” he says. Inc. (No. 170) is the only fragrance-focused online retailer in the 2016 Internet Retailer Top 500. The company did $190 million in sales last year. So what's Phlur doing that FragranceNet and other online fragrance retailers aren't?

"We’ve provided customers new ways to connect to fragrance through an immersive digital experience designed to engage their eyes, their ears, and ultimately their heart," Korman says.



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