Connoisseurs of high-end perfumes have always had a difficult time purchasing quality fragrances in Pakistan. As per a recent study, almost 80 percent of perfume retailers in the country are selling counterfeits.
The trust deficit, understandably, is big. Decades of being cheated by some of the most reputed retailers have left consumers alienated. Even today, a majority of Pakistanis looking for quality foreign perfumes resort to purchasing them online from a foreign retailer and having a relative bring them in on their next trip to Pakistan. Not convenient, and certainly not scalable.
This mechanism comes with additional problems. Say you are not satisfied with the product. How exactly do you get in touch with Amazon or Gucci, who till this day have zero presence within the country?
To their credit, brands like J. Fragrances have tried to fill this gap and been fairly successful at it. But as consumers of luxury fragrances will concur, there is still something missing. The fragrances, although certainly not of low quality, simply do not compete with international brands in terms of their branding and product appeal. To be fair, you can’t blame them.
Why Do Retailers Risk Selling Subpar or Counterfeit Goods?
There are several reasons for this. The number one reason is the general lack of accountability and consumer rights in the consumer products industry. Customers usually have little to no protection from a subpar or wrongly advertised product primarily due to the bureaucratic and financial hurdles of taking legal action against violators. Consumer protection agencies in the country are trying their best but often overwhelmed by the entropy that defines the local market.
The second contributing factor that prevents a thriving original perfumes industry is the very nature of the product. To a manufacturer, perfumes can cost very little to very expensive depending on the quality of the material used. Fragrances can take several days of use to prove their quality, which gives local retailers the ability to take chances by selling subpar products.
As a consumer, you want a long-lasting perfume that has a high fragrance to alcohol ratio. It is critical, therefore, that you deal with reputed retailers and ecommerce sites to buy your perfumes.
Should I Shop Online or In Store?
Buying in store has one obvious benefit as compared to online orders: you can actually smell the fragrance. There is no denying this advantage. Growing retailers like Scentsation provide a comfortable experience to walk-in customers, letting them freely check between different perfumes.
But there is a catch: let’s say you like the perfume. Are you absolutely certain that the product you buy will be original? That is the million dollar question in Pakistan. And consumers usually have polarizing experiences. Some have been quite satisfied with their fragrance purchases and have successfully verified the items from the brands themselves. Others have felt cheated, absolutely certain that the perfume does not match up to the same product bought from a retailer in the UK or Canada.
There is also a general disadvantage of buying luxury perfumes within stores. All fragrances reveal themselves over time, and the initial burst of notes you experience when you spray the perfume onto your wrists in-store does not even tell half the story. Infact, most seasoned perfume fanatics are more comfortable buying fragrances online after looking at the complete range of notes that the perfume embodies.
So should you purchase fragrances in-Store or Online? Realistically speaking, in Pakistan, both channels have their fair share of benefits and risks that equal them out at the same level.
The Oil of Arabia Effect
Keeping in view the unique dilemma faced by customers in Pakistan, Oil of Arabia only sells its perfumes through sales channels it has complete control over the Algate and Oil of Arabia websites respectively. In special circumstances, we do take orders over our official number and our social media pages.
Our fragrances are sourced from Parisian chemists and a mixture of original oils and high-end synthetic ones. To preserve the sanctity of these fragrances, we minimise (or eliminate) the number of suppliers, distributors and retailers in our distribution lifecycle.
All of this is organized keeping the customer experience in mind.
In order to make the process of purchasing a fragrance online as efficient as possible, we provide detailed descriptions of the notes that define our fragrances. We also, in most circumstances, provide a list of similar fragrances that you may have used in the past to make the process of identifying the fragrance’s signature easier. With COVID-19 expected to linger for the next year or so, it is now more important than ever that consumers can make smart choices from the comfort of their homes.
We here at Algate are here to make that happen.
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