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Chanel ups exclusivity factor with limited-edition No. 5 extension

October 3, 2011


French fashion house Chanel is enticing online purchasing and emphasizing its exclusivity with a limited-edition Chanel No. 5 bath oil and limited-time free shipping on its Web site.

The brand is directing consumers on its email database to via messages. In addition to the online-only bath oil, Chanel offered limited-time complementary shipping if the products were ordered on the Web site, triggering affluent consumers’ I-want-it-now reflex.

“Driving people to your Web site enables consumers to see the full breadth of products [while giving brands] the ability to collect email addresses and other information at point of sale if they purchase the product,” said Cindy Hale, president of OTW Boston Communications, Boston. “This makes more control for the manufacturer to better understand this customer, especially against a new product.

“Limited-timed offers create a rush and make you feel the need to make a decision quickly,” she said.

“It's a little like when you have a sale and you say that a sale ends this Saturday, you are creating a reason to hurry and make a decision.”

Ms. Hale is not affiliated with Chanel, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Chanel did not respond before press deadline.

Order of the bath
The limited-edition Chanel No. 5 bath oil can be found at

The bath oil is $85 for an 8.4oz. bottle.

The email in which the bath oil is presented is classic Chanel marketing – a black background with white lettering makes an image of the body oil pop out of the screen in a luminescent manner.

Chanel No. 5 bath oil email

Clicking through the email takes consumers to the bath oil product page on the Chanel site.

Chanel creates cross- and upsell opportunities by suggesting products that the bath oil goes well with, such as the Chanel No. 5 eau de toilette.

When shoppers add the products to the bag, they will see a sign for complimentary shipping.

Chanel No. 5 bath oil site

Since offering free shipping is not a common practice with luxury brands, this could be Chanel’s way of beating the competition in its fragrance and personal care sectors.

Luxury consumers generally enjoy limited-edition products and special offers. Since they have money to spend, special discounts will not impress them.

Therefore, Chanel’s marketing of this product as limited-edition and for a limited-time only will help to drive purchasing.

Inspiring the aspirational
Chanel may be aiming for younger consumers by connecting with them on a channel where they usually are found.

The brand could also be trying to connect with consumers who may not be able to afford luxury products now, but may be able to in the future.

The younger aspirational consumer is a market that many luxury brands are trying to hit, most notably through online marketing.

For instance, London-based jewelry brand Astley Clarke has rolled out a new customization tool allowing aspirational consumers to create their own stacks of rings, share the creation with friends and then buy in one quick step (see story).

Additionally, department store Bergdorf Goodman is using a shoppable video to increase the hype surrounding its younger 5F collection to likely increase ecommerce sales (see story).

“The buying power of the younger, less affluent consumer as a group is growing considerably,” said Tania Doub, retail strategy lead for Optaros, Boston. “There is a perception in the market that although the Chanel brand oozes luxury, it mainly attracts the over 55-year-old woman who wears tweed suits and sensible flats.

“With the introduction of the No. 5 essential bath oils and all the hype around the product being labeled 'heavenly' by fashionistas everywhere, this is a great way to get a younger demographic onto the Chanel ecommerce site,” she said.

Final Take

Rachel Lamb, associate reporter on Luxury Daily, New York