Belk Pilots Scent Finder Program

Belk 1Caroline Fabrigas of The Scent Marketing Institute.

In order to adapt in an evolving retail climate and solidify its place as a premier fragrance destination, Belk has partnered with New York-based Scent Marketing Institute to develop the Belk Scent Finder.

Currently being piloted in six of Belk’s 302 stores, the iPad application identifies five scent profiles and fragrance brands for consumers based on their answers to a set of six questions. (In the process, it also captures the e-mail address of each participant.)

Belk 2The Belk Scent Finder setup in-store.

The questionnaire probes consumers’ food, music, fashion preferences and more, while corresponding scent profiles include, for instance, ‘Warm & Sensual’ or ‘Dreamy & Romantic.’

In-store, a specially designed kiosque featuring the Belk Scent Finder logo helps announce the program. Each participating store also receives an introductory video starring Caroline Fabrigas, president of The Scent Marketing Institute, designed to reinforce and elevate associates’ fragrance knowledge and selling skills.

The Scent Finder is intended as a means to educate both fragrance consultants and consumers alike—as well as a tool to build longstanding and emotional connections at counter, Fabrigas said.

And there is already a noticeable improvement in sales at the stores where Scent Finder has rolled out, noted Jackie Farley, associate buyer for men’s and women’s fragrances at Belk.

belk logoThe program’s logo.

While development of the program began last year—spearheaded by Farley and Fabrigas—the initial phase of the program will run through the end of this month.

Sniffapalooza founder Karen Dubin also contributed her expertise in classifying the various scents within the questionnaire.

The initiative is part of Belk’s greater commitment to innovation, which formally began last year with the establishment of a vice president of innovation role—which is held by Susan Curley.

Last year, the company formalized its approach via the creation of an “innovation portal,” through which all company associates can create and comment on new ideas. Additionally, a vendor innovation fair was held, during which vendors collaborated with various departments to test new ideas.

Finally, the pilot program—of which the Belk Scent Finder is a result—allows new ideas to be tested and potentially moved to implementation


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