Peach Or Plum? Yankee Candle Samples Scents With Juicy Words, Pictures

How do you sample a scented candle online?

You don’t—you get consumers to use their other senses, so they can visualize or "taste" a scent.

This became Yankee Candle’s consumer-trial tactic once the pandemic eliminated in-store sampling at the same time that people were spending more time at home enjoying candle fragrances.

Working with consumer-experience facilitator Jebbit, Yankee Candle uses seasonal quizzes on its website to guide consumers through hundreds of fragrance options.

An example: “I’m looking for a spring fragrance for myself or someone else.”

Picking “myself” produces images of paper-lantern patterns like “fresh and sliced oranges,” “ripe, juicy plums,” cherry blossoms in bloom,” “swirling clouds in the sky and “tasty seasonal treats” in the form of ice cream cones.

Clicking on ripe, juicy plums leads respondents to sugar-inspired images of a fruity sake drink, a sweet crepe cone, lemon-flavored mochi, cherry blossom raindrop cake and matcha boba tea.

The quiz then progresses to choices of global destinations.

Learnings from the quizzes will enlighten such Yankee Candle sister entities as WoodWick and Chesapeake Bay, according to Alyssa Rinck, senior manager of D2C ecommerce at parent company Newell Brands.

In this interview, edited for brevity and clarity, Rinck explains Yankee Candle’s pre-pandemic sampling efforts and how the quizzes work.

CPG FYI: Besides in-store experiences, how did you do sampling prior to COVID-19?

Rinck: The way we have built our sampling program online is that Fragrance Family Rewards members are eligible to select one of a few products that we deem eligible in typically new fragrances. For example, they could add a mini-size candle or a car freshener to their order for free if they’re a top-tier rewards member.

CPG FYI: Were you looking for something beyond the rewards sampling?

Rinck: We’ve always wanted a strategy of how we help someone select from among 500 fragrances that you can’t smell online. So a product-selector quiz was something we had a goal to build to help someone go through the journey.

CPG FYI: How do people discover the surveys?

Rinck: The exploration of our quiz can come from a direct source—where someone’s finding it themselves on our website. We also encourage direct interaction with the quiz by awarding loyalty points for taking it. Other ways that we’re driving people to see that experience is email and social marketing on Instagram.

CPG FYI: What can you say about the results so far?

Rinck: I think the response has been overwhelmingly surprising and interesting in terms of using the respondent data to understand our customers’ preferences. We have six fragrance families that we categorize all of our fragrance profiles under. So a lot of the quiz questions are trying to get to which fragrance family you prefer—like, are you a floral person or are you a woody person?

We’ve reduced the bounce rate as compared to the average website activity. That is telling us the quiz is helping people find something and actually convert on the site rather than get overwhelmed and leave.

CPG FYI: How will other Newell brands benefit?

Rinck: As far as the quizzes go, we have looked at what brands do we roll out next. We’ve got a portfolio of home fragrance brands beyond Yankee Candle, so how could we help you understand if you’d be interested in some of our WoodWick fragrances? Would you be a Chesapeake Bay purchaser based on your responses?

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