Signature store scent boosts Luxury Living Group’s luxury factor

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Luxury Living Group serves a discriminating global clientele with ample disposable income to feather their nests in, well, luxury. Alberto Vignatelli founded Luxury Living Group in Italy in the 1960s to develop, produce and distribute high-quality furniture collections for some of the most coveted and longstanding international brands. Think luxury couture for home furnishings — names like Baccarat La Maison, Bentley Home, Bugatti Home, Fendi Casa and Ritz Paris Home Collection.

Today, it’s a growing network of more than 300 dealers and company showrooms located in Milan, Paris, London, Miami, Los Angeles and New York, as well as a branch office in Beijing. Its headquarters are in historic Palazzo Orsi Mangelli in Forlì, Italy.

Customers of Luxury Living Group’s U.S. stores find meticulously merchandised spaces that are both inspirational and aspirational. In Miami, its 30,000-square-foot, three-floor showroom includes fully accessorized vignettes, divided by brand.

“Our clients range in age and style,” says Ricardo Britto, Luxury Living’s Miami-based senior interior design manager, “which is great for us, as we can offer a variety of collections from contemporary to more traditional aesthetics.”

An interior design room created especially for customers provides a space to discuss projects and explore Luxury Living’s full range of fabrics, leathers and finishes. A 60-inch touchscreen TV shows presentations and digital catalogs — customer-facing technology that further facilitates selling.

It doesn’t end there: A rooftop terrace houses the Luxury Living Caffe, a space featuring the retailer’s collection of outdoor furnishings where customers can relax and enjoy a cappuccino. It’s all by design, Britto says. “We know the longer our customers stay in the store, the more they buy.”

REFLECTING BRAND VALUES

With seemingly every must-have store amenity and customer experience element ticked, Luxury Living wanted to add a signature scent to extend its brand personality. It turned to Aroma360 and its founder, Farah Abassi, who began working with Luxury Living in June 2017 to develop a unique scent.

Abassi founded Aroma360 in 2013 on the principles of aromachology, the science behind scent. “We use studies and irrefutable science to help businesses achieve their [business]goals,” she says, along with residential clients.

Luxury Living wanted to create something luxurious and fresh, without being too strong, to represent its brand persona and values. “We want our clients to feel at home when they visit our showroom, and scent is part of the experience,” Britto says. “Farah developed a couple of exclusive scents for us to pick from, and they were all very different.”

Luxury Living’s “noses” consisted of Britto as well as the showroom manager and President Raffaella Vignatelli, who ultimately selected “Woodland Pepper Pod” as the brand scent.

“It was important to consider that the brand originated in Italy,” Abassi says. “However, they have locations on three different continents, so we wanted to create an olfactory logo that captured the elegance, luxury and refinement of the brand as well as reflected the sophisticated-yet-old-world culture of Italy and the clientele they want to attract.”

The scent also had to represent the meticulous craftsmanship, impeccable design, timeless sophistication and unparalleled luxury of the products.

Finding Woodland Pepper Pod involved more than sniffing vials of fragrance. The scent “curation phase” was accomplished through both phone and video conferencing, strategic meetings and questionnaires, as well as two rounds with three scents in each batch. The samples were then sent to Luxury Living Group’s headquarters for review.

“Once it was narrowed down to the final two,” Abassi says, “we went into the testing phase, deploying both scents in three of their stores in different continents, collecting all the response data before making a final decision on which scent best captured the essence of their brand.”

Woodland Pepper Pod starts with a luxurious aroma of black pepper and cedarwood and then melts down to notes of jasmine and sandalwood, she says, with a “soft hint of patchouli and vanilla that brings an element of softness and elegance to the signature scent.”

Aroma360 uses “essential” oils rather than chemicals commonly found in perfumes such as acetone, ethanol, and formaldehyde. “Our focus on healthy scenting means we use only the highest quality ingredients in our essential oil-based line of fragrances,” Abassi says. “The general public is increasingly health conscious, and the newly aware customer has an expectation that brands care about them.”

There are practical reasons as well — it’s important that the product doesn’t leave residue on inventory, furniture, artwork or electronics, she says.

PRACTICAL MATTERS

Abassi offered the Luxury Living team different delivery methods for scenting the stores. “Our cold-air diffusion process ensures that the therapeutic benefits of the oils are not damaged like heat would do,” she says. “We do not use any aerosol diffusion, so you won’t have the breathing issues for anyone, including children or the elderly, that you get with aerosol.”

Aroma360 also conducted analysis of Luxury Living’s national and international locations including floorplans, HVAC systems, existing electrical outlets and the square footage for each store. Complicating matters was the need to adhere to regulatory standards of each country where Luxury Living conducts business.

“In the majority of the locations we were able to use our standard HVAC systems,” Abassi says. “For the locations where HVAC dispersion was not possible, we utilized two of our standalone units —  both operate with powerful internal fans and circulate scent evenly and consistently, working perfectly as a distribution method.”

Once the scent was chosen, deployment took 30 days for national stores and close to 75 days for the full global rollout.

“We love the fact that the operation is quiet and very low maintenance, and the fact that Aroma360 uses only essential oils,” Britto says. Many customers “feel the scent by the time they step inside the store.”

A positive first impression followed by an emotional response is precisely what Luxury Living wanted to achieve. “Some think it is a candle, others wonder if it is a cleaning product,” Britto says. “We get all sort of reactions, always positive.” So positive in fact, that customers ask if they can purchase a Luxury Living-branded and scented candle — taking an element of the in-store experience home.

Janet Groeber has covered all aspects of the retail industry for more than 20 years. Her reporting has appeared in AdWeek and DDI Magazine, among others.

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