How To Sell Scented Products Online

Selling scented products online (like candles) are challenging. Products that you need to smell, taste or feel can be trickier, unless it’s something the customer is already familiar with. If you are a new candle company and don’t have existing customers who are already familiar with and searching for your candles, then how in the world do you go about getting them to buy online? As many of you know, the first thing most customers do when shopping for a candle is to pick it up and smell it.

Since this isn’t something that can be done when shopping online, you need to be able to paint a complete picture for your customer which makes buying that candle irresistible. So, in order to sell your candles successfully, you’ll need a combination of descriptive language and imagery that is specifically targeted to your audience.

It’s the description, duh. Yes, it is in large part the description… so make sure it is accurate, detailed and also creates an emotional connection. Use emotion and feeling. How will it make your customer feel while burning your candle? Set the stage for how their environment will be changed. The article 9 Simple Ways to Write Product Descriptions that Sell on Shopify is a quick and helpful read on copywriting.

For selling scented products online, the single most important thing is to have a story. I know we have talked about this many times, but when selling scented products online we can’t emphasize it enough. The article Here’s Why Perfume Descriptions Are Never About Smell on Racked is a must read. A great example is the following description from Le Labo’s website for their famous Santal 33 perfume. Note that not only does their description give the detailed information on the notes in the fragrance, but what a story!! Pair that copy with the stunning visual images they use, and it’s easy to understand their massive success!

Do you remember the old Marlboro ads? A man and his horse in front of the fire on a great plain under tall, blue evening skies

A defining image of the spirit of the American West with all it implied about masculinity and personal freedom. This man, firelight in his face, leaning on the worn leather saddle, alone with the desert wind, an icon so powerful that every man wanted to be him and every woman wanted to have him… From this memory is born SANTAL 33: the ambition to create an olfactive form inspired by the great American myth still a source of fantasy for the rest of the world… A perfume that touches the sensual universality of this icon… that would intoxicate a man as much as a woman… that introduces our use of cardamom, iris, violet, ambrox which crackle in the formula and bring to this smoking wood alloy (Australian sandalwood, papyrus, cedarwood) some spicy, leathery, musky notes, and gives this perfume its unisex signature and addictive comfort. Here is, in a few words, what SANTAL 33 is… An open fire…The soft drift of smoke…Where sensuality rises after the light has gone.”

Umm… ok, wow, send me a case!

If you read our blog post Candle Fragrance Basics, then you might remember how we talked about it’s the appearance and packaging that will tempt a customer to pick a candle off the retail shelf, or in this case give a click of the mouse. The next thing they do is to give it a sniff and since they can’t do that online, this is where that fantastic copy will come into play. But if they don’t choose to take a closer look, then no matter how well written and descriptive your copy is, there is not going to be a sale.

So how do you get them to take a closer look? The images of course! We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have really, really excellent images. The photos need to not only be detailed images of the product and packaging, but should also convey the story. Have an image of the candle burning in the setting that reflects the story. Show your customer how this candle will make their environment that dreamy place they want and need to escape to.

You might even want to include photos of the product being made if “handmade” is part of your story. DO NOT SKIMP ON THE PHOTOS!! Get proper equipment, lighting and take professional looking photos or hire a professional. Read this Shopify blog, The Ultimate DIY Guide to Beautiful Product Photography for some great tips on how to take professional looking images. Don’t forget to define the style, set the stage and tell your story! Equally as important are mood, presentation, and knowing specifically who your customer is. Be consistent about how you present your product to them.

Educate your customer. Teach them a fragrance vocabulary so that it makes it easier for them to purchase fragranced product online. Read our blog Know Your Fragrances and be consistent using the vocabulary in your copy as well as have a section on your website explaining fragrance vocabulary to your customers.

Offer a quiz. Everyone loves a quiz! I just know you took the “Who’s Your 1980s Actress Girlfriend”, or maybe the “Only English Majors Can Pass This Punctuation Quiz”, no?  OK, but I bet you took the “What is Your Spirit Animal quiz”! The point here is people love taking quizzes that are fun and tell them something about themselves. So why not have a quiz on your website that will tell them which fragrance family or specifically which of your fragrances they will most likely prefer?

Videos. Videos of the product being made, the candle burning with that fabulous crackling wooden wick, or customer testimonials engage your customer. Remember to target the style, mood and vibe of the video to your specific target audience.
(Hint, hint… have you seenThe Wooden Wick You Tube Channel)

Fragrance Sample Sets!! Tiny tins of fragranced wax. They can be free or charge a small amount that goes towards the purchase of an order over a given price. For example, you could sell a set of tea lights in 6 fragrances, charge $10 for it and if the customer makes a purchase of $50 or more within 30 days, they get $10 off their order. This way, they basically didn’t pay for their samples and they have 5 more fragrances in their hands that they might just fall in love with as well!

Make sure your customer knows you are reputable. Have an online presence with InstagramFacebookPinterest, and a blog. Make sure your photography looks professional, that your copy gets proofread and that you have all your ducks in a row. Remember, it’s a risk for the customer to buy a candle or any fragranced product without smelling it first. Give them as much information as you can without being confusing or overwhelming, and be sure they know who you are and that they can trust you.

Now, go get selling!


Gift box pictured provided with love by Soy Clever Candle Co.

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