Latest Gadgets were invited to the launch of iPerfumer – a free iPhone recommendation engine for perfumes by Givaudan. Wondering what this could mean for Patrick Süskind novels, I headed down to speak with Sid Shah, Givaudan’s head of Internet Technology and Innovation.
Apparently the disruptive power of the Internet – that has done so much to shake up the way we buy books, music and film, has extended to the fragrance industry, with net-savvy bargain hunters heading online for savings on perfumes. The perfume market has become diversified and the days of the blockbuster fragrance are no more.
Sid was especially excited about the growth of mobile platform and the explosion of the smartphone market. Many modern consumers walk around with a small, online computer in their pockets at all times, which is a gift and a curse for retailers. Customers can purchase goods almost instantaneously, with the caveat that they may not always choose your goods to purchase.
Perfume is of course, a specialized purchase – Sid referred to it as an “investment”, and it can be daunting to spend that much money on something you’ve never smelt, making it a little different to other online purchases. The iPerfume app attempts bring some traditional expertise to online purchases. Unlike existing perfume recommendation engines, which use psychological profiling, iPerfumer has a mathematical algorithm, that improves over time via collective intelligence – if you have ever used Apple’s Genius playlists you will have a good idea of how the system works.
I had a play with iPerfumer – you can download it for free from the App Store here, and it was ridiculously easy to get to grips with. I had two concerns – one was the lack of an online purchasing store connected to the recommendation. It would be great if you could simply click through to an online store – or range of online stores and purchase your chosen fragrance but Sid said this was something they were looking into. Givaudan’s development roadmap also includes Android and Blackberry devices. Whether you are a perfume novice or seasoned perfumistas the free iPerfumer app seems like a great way to improve your buying options.