Product selling with added experience

In the midst of my autumnal creative reference trip to London, I took a trip around Harrods and came across the Jo Malone beauty department. Okay, to be entirely honest I was only looking at their brand and packaging and wasn’t serious about purchasing anything. No surprises, the brand is the same as it’s ever been.

Prior to this, I had been visiting Packaging Innovations, at the Business Design Centre. Being inspired, I was on a mission to look at some ways that brands were making themselves different to their competitors through packaging graphics and innovative cardboard engineering. To paraphrase James Davenport, Finance Director at Innocent Drinks: all products are the same, one can only differentiate by design.

The Jo Malone brand and packaging is very simple, sometimes perhaps a bit too simple. Some bottles being (budget) clear plastic (not even glass) with a silver foil label, one colour print. I really wonder if they are pushing the limits of what simple packaging looks like, and what we are really expected to pay for. The fragrances and products are fabulous, there is no doubt, and I discovered the experience of them starts pre-purchase.

I was (discreetly) trying to photograph some nicely wrapped soap when I was approached by a beautiful girl asking me if i would like to ‘experience’ some hand cream. I obliged. She asked me to take a seat in a beautifully upholstered bar chair in velour cream and black stripes. Then, she requested that I take off my coat, and roll up my sleeves. Ooh what was this experience going to involve?! Then, she placed a velvet Jo Malone embossed pouch onto a thick white towel for me to remove my jewellery for safekeeping. Wow, this has really been thought through.

I had a relaxing hand and arm massage with a variety of combined cream and fragrances. 15 minutes later I was more relaxed, felt great and smelled wonderful! I was even more impressed when the beautiful girl passed me a voucher to have another completely free hand massage at any Jo Malone store.

Jo Malone Personal Invitation

That branded voucher is a clever touchpoint, it stays in my handbag, when I see it I send a BNTS (branded note to self) that I could call on that Jo Malone experience again. I can be cleverly directed to their products again.

I’m keeping a keen eye out for more clever BNTS that are linked to experiences and products.

What I liked about the service experience:

  • Feeling completely at ease, no pressure to buy
  • Being offered/given an experience that linked the products to a treat experience
  • The hand and arm massage treat!
  • Brand values that were expressed through the care and attention to detail given through experience and the carefully thought out process
  • The fragrance ‘combination’ demonstrated, it’s more than try to before you buy, as you understand fragrance and layering of fragrance

Comments about the brand and service:

  • If I was to buy the soap, I really wanted to see it without the wrap. This wasn’t an option but okay… I’m being picky!
  • The labels were all the same format. At a glance there was nothing to differ the products, which means you are quite lost when looking at their counter shelves stacked with very similar looking products.
  • Fonts – very small and hardly legible.

Would I buy any product? Yes. However, this time I wasn’t there to buy but to view the brand. I took the details to keep for a potential Christmas gift suggestion and I have to return for a second hand massage so you never know!

Do you want to know more about how to create a tailored service experience? Are you interested in how your customers relate to your brand? Are your pack graphics saying the right thing to the right user? This is our business and we can help connect user experience to brand and reveal areas for improvement by using some of our service testing exercises.

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