Challenges in online selling of scented candles
The whole shopping dynamics for scented candles has changed, post the Movement Control Order (MCO) period.
No longer can they just be displayed on shelves where customers can touch, smell and feel them, it is now all about getting a ‘total scentsorial experience’ online.
How is that possible? People view houses, cars, products and service packages online, but scented candles?
“Customers get a precise infoboard of our products that stimulate the brain to conjure familiar scents or memories so that they can understand what the particular scent is about,’’ said Candle Pit Stop (CPS) founder and creative director Julia Jules Wan.
This is followed up with a virtual one-to-one service experience with customers who need guidance on their preferred scent, product choices or the ordering process.
“We make them feel like they have a dedicated person to talk to, and that sometimes requires our team to be on call 24/7,’’ said Jules.
Just launched are candles with food-based scents reminiscent of a mango smoothie, vanilla ice-cream, caramel macchiato and cucumber gin & tonic .
Other products like room mist, diffuser and wax melts will be launched from next month onwards.
With the MCO, people staying at home are rethinking of how they may enjoy the comforts of home.
Initially, their purchases revolved around the theme of relaxation, through scents like lavender & geranium.
They now purchase floral and fresh scents for the living room (peony & white musk); energizing scents for their study and work-from-home (WFH) area (green tea mint & eucalyptus oil); or something strong like orchid & honeysuckle for quick removal of cooking odours.
CPS gets a lot of enquiries on scents that help people concentrate in their study rooms.
The range of scents are blended to harmonise with each other, customers do not get ‘’tacky, weird’ smells suddenly in one room going into another.
The most popular scents are bergamot & sandalwood, lavender & geranium, while cucumber gin & tonic as well as jasmine & myrrh are becoming top choices.
Sales continued to grow even during the MCO period which had accelerated the launch of certain projects.
The gifting section is building up fast, spurring further initiatives in customization.
The team at CPS has conduced a lot of research on quality control and formulation of scents.
Coupled with its experience in manufacturing for private labelling in different countries, they have developed insights on consumer needs and likes, based on countries and regions.
“Candles have a niche market, we try to overcome that by creating more products that suit each age group, but at the same time, appeal to a broad spectrum of consumers,’’ said Jules.
Post MCO, CPS is no longer constrained by brick and mortar displays; its product range can be greatly expanded and reach a wide audience.
To understand stress, the team worked on how to reduce this through scents.
“With scents inducing positivity, the ‘good vibes’ being released will help us cope better with stress,’’ said Jules.
The team has created a line of fun scents from natural botanicals like orange peels, florals from sunflowers, vanilla beans and coffee.
As a child, Jules used to walk around her parents’ garden, smelling, exploring and brewing her own concoctions of leaves, herbs and flowers.
Her first job was in aircraft engineering, and she was nowhere near any sweet smelling scents.
It was when she followed her husband as an expatriate to different East Asian countries that she started dabbling again in scent-making.
During her travels, various scents had evoked memories of her childhood – scents of the national flower of Singapore, the incense in the mornings at Bali, the busy streets of Kowloon and the vast, green and breezy Mekong Delta.
The scent of spices in the morning markets overseas, had also inspired her to eventually form CPS in 2014.
It was just a kiosk then, selling a specially made scented natural dry wax called WAXBITZ, that customers could blend themselves.
Over the years, other products such as dessert candles, scented candles, wax melts, wax tablets, customized candles and gifts as well as fun workshops were introduced.
“Everything in CPS is natural, toxic free, hand processed and hand poured,’’ said Jules. “I see light in every situation, so I wanted to add cheer and laughter into someone’s life when he or she uses or smells our products.’’
Cheery and motivational words, puns and humour are put into the product packaging.
As they continue with the work they enjoy, Jules and her team will not only be creating candles, but also ‘creating love into every pour.’
September is #worldcandlemonth and Malaysia Day. To celebrate this in full candlenista style, Candle Pit Stop is offering 15% discount on all orders above RM 60 for Artisans Haven readers. Free shipping for East Malaysia above RM 120. Use promo code: ARTISANS20 . Promo valid from September 16th – October 16th 2020.
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Yap Leng Kuen had a respected career as a senior business editor and widely read columnist speaking plainly, for the leading local newspaper. She continues to write Plain Speaking for The Star Online.
I am delighted to share her view points and insights, here.