Selfridges’ Fragrance Lab is the department store’s latest retail theatre extravaganza, designed to draw shoppers into the world of perfume and collect data on them at the same time.
The Lab is part of Selfridges’ Beauty Project, a six-week in-store campaign running from May 1 to June 12 that involves a range of events and debates.
The Lab itself looks convincingly scientific, with the white reception area filled with lab coat-clad staff and iPads on which shoppers are asked to complete a personality quiz. Plenty of data is collated on you – it asks for details such as email address, name, age, shopping habits and interests.
They are then given an audio recording that guides them through a set of rooms, including a couple that are created in Selfridges’ famous windows, before being told what their ‘signature scent’ is. The rooms each contain different experiences and scents, and are designed to help shoppers pinpoint what they like and what staff think would suit them.
Travelling through the rooms is a slightly confusing experience, but also an intriguing one. The aim is to to take the shopper on a voyage of personal discovery – deciding which scents they like – as well as to suggest a perfume for the consumer based on the team’s research.
Between each room, customers nasal passages are cleansed by coffee beans, and in the end an assistant speaks to the shopper about what she wants from a fragrance, asks her to try a few different types, and finally presenting her with a custom fragrance as well as explaining the personality analysis and why the perfume was chosen.