For many beauty brands getting new customers can be tricky because of the volume of competition. Having reliable data to work from can really help your platform and create new opportunities for your beauty brand. Odore is the number one digital sample platform for many leading brands, including Dior, L’Oreal, Clarins, and Sephora, among many others. We sat down with co-founder Armann Mehta to find out more.
Karan and I co-founded Odore to enable beauty brands to access product sampling campaigns fit for the digital age. Sampling and product testers have always been a huge part of the industry; beauty products and fragrances are incredibly personal and customers like to try items before purchasing them. Brands also benefit, as people are four times more likely to buy a product they’ve tried first. But, more often than not, the brands have no way of tracking where their samples end up, or if they lead to purchases.
Typically, brands can’t measure the outcomes of sample campaigns. This means that they’re missing out on opportunities to learn about their customers and what they want, and in turn, forgoing opportunities to optimise their conversion and retention rates.
A conversation between myself, Karan and a friend in the beauty industry helped us to understand why brands struggle with sampling, and made us realise how we could help. And that was that. We left our respective marketing roles and pooled our expertise to build Odore: a platform which allows brands to build, track and fine-tune end-to-end sampling campaigns using digital tools.
Before the pandemic, most brands relied on in-store sampling to let customers try products. Department stores lined with makeup testers and staff spritzing fragrances were always the go-to place to find your perfect shade or scent. Of course, e-commerce has been steadily stealing the march on in-store purchases and the pandemic has accelerated that trend.
Store closures and new safety measures mean that brands can no longer rely on old methods. New sampling solutions are needed for them, as well as the brands moving to online only offerings. Now more than ever, brands are also well aware that innovation is key to coming out on top of new challenges, and standing out in what is an incredibly crowded beauty market. We’re therefore seeing a bigger appetite for innovation than we did pre-pandemic.
We’ve seen a 401% increase in revenue over the past 12 months, but it’s not come without certain pressures. The main challenge is keeping up with the incredible machine that is the beauty industry. For every new trend or fresh product launch, it’s our job to develop new marketing solutions and strategies to support them.
Rapid growth has also forced us to think hard about what aspects of the business – the startup we worked so hard to build from the ground up – we want to focus on moving forward. Whilst we’ve doubled down on efforts to evolve our software and subscription services, we’ve been scaling back the in-store devices which initially helped us to make a name for ourselves as we strongly believe there is much more growth in digital services compared to hardware offerings, despite them serving an important purpose at the time.
Customers have been forced online over the past year, and some may choose to stay there. But the in-person shopping experience isn’t going away just yet. It’s about seeing, smelling, and testing different products, admiring tactile packaging and chatting with shop assistants to find your perfect match. All these things add up to product sales. But they’re also what make the experience so personal and enjoyable. It’s essential that brands build this magic into digital shopping experiences if they’re to nurture meaningful relationships with their customers, accrue loyalty, and ultimately retain them.
We’ve recently been expanding our team, investing in talented engineers and software developers. It’s all part of the plan to continue developing our platform and ensuring that our product sampling tech is unrivalled in the beauty space. We’re already working with the likes of Guerlain, Clive Christian, and other international beauty giants. And exciting emerging beauty brands are joining us all the time. It’s thrilling to be able to help them grow, monitor their journeys and see the results. So watch this space for new and disruptive partnerships!
Our entire journey – since first co-founding the business and being selected for L’Oréal’s Beauty Tech Accelerator in 2018 – has been a whirlwind. Through that programme we quickly won international attention and partnerships with beauty brands we’ve always dreamed of working with – we count each one as a huge success. Then, over the past year we’ve managed to quintuple our revenue and complete our first Seed funding round. Achieving all this with what is for each of us our first business, and in the midst of a pandemic, is what we’re most proud of.
Thank you to the co-founders of Odore Armaan Mehta and Karan Gupta for their time. For business enquiries please visit Odore.