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Fragrance brand names and product descriptions: are all retailers accurate?

By Chris Elliott

In November 2014, online shoppers were determined to take advantage of Black Friday deals instead of fighting the crowds in-store. The increased traffic managed to bring down the websites of Argos, Currys and Tesco for several hours.

Wipro Digital, a digital marketing company, reported that 71 percent of UK shoppers it surveyed did the majority of their Christmas shopping online, up from 45 percent in 2013. With e-commerce on the rise, retailers must keep conversion rates high in order to maximise sales.

Poor grammar and spelling will reduce the conversion rate of a retailer’s web page. Global Lingo, a translation service company, surveyed 1,029 UK adults and concluded that 74 percent of respondents notice the quality of spelling or grammar on a company’s website.

A significant 59 percent responded that they would not use a company that had ‘obvious grammatical or spelling mistakes on its website or marketing materials.’ This means that retailers could be missing out on sales because of simple spelling errors on their webpages.

Brand View has reviewed the product descriptions of fragrances in UK retailers Asda Direct, Boots, Fragrance Direct, Superdrug, Tesco Direct, and The Perfume Shop. Each description has been scored depending on the accuracy of the brand name in the product description.


We have created the Average Retailer Compliance Rating (ARCR) based on the average compliance score to a factor of 100.

Boots and The Perfume Shop had the greatest level of compliance of the retailers analysed, sharing the equal highest ARCR of 96.9. Tesco Direct had the lowest ARCR of 94.1, some two points less than its nearest rival Fragrance Direct.

Looking at the percentage of each retailers’ fragrance range that scored ‘Very Good’, we see that fragrance specific retailer The Perfume Shop is most accurate in terms of displayed product descriptions, with 94.7 percent of its range correctly branded.

Health and Beauty retailers Boots and Superdrug have only 0.2 percent difference separating them. Fragrance Direct scored the lowest of the retailers analysed with only 87.1 percent of its range scoring ‘Very Good’.


Reviewing the remainder of each retailers’ product range that scored ‘Good’ or lower, we see that Fragrance Direct had 11.1 percent of its range scoring ‘Good’ – higher than the combined ratings of each of the other retailers.

image00Upon further inspection we see Fragrance Direct did not have accents on the 204 products it stocked – required for a ‘Very Good’ rating. Accented letters are not part of the 128 ASCII characters, typically necessitating website development work to cater for their inclusion.

All the other retailers analysed had the capability to display accented characters, however it was not always correctly employed. For example, Boots sold both the 100ml and 30ml of Lancôme’s La Vie Est Belle, however the 30ml version did not have an accent on the ‘o’ in Lancôme whereas the 100ml did.


In addition to the omission of accents, Fragrance Direct did not use ampersands consistently. Of the 93 Dolce & Gabbana and Van Cleef & Arpels products that it stocked, an ampersand was used on only one occasion. Fragrance Direct were not alone, Boots was also guilty of inconsistently using ampersands.

Abbreviating the brand name can affect where the product returns when the brand is searched for. For instance, if you searched ‘Jean Paul Gaultier’ on the Superdrug website (and move past the brand page), the products that are abbreviated to ‘JPG’ appear last in the search results – likely leading to lower sales of these products.

The Perfume Shop had 2.7 percent of its range rated as ‘Average’ –  just 0.1 percent behind Asda Direct. This is due to the description of the 37 Dolce & Gabbana products it sells containing no spaces between the words and ampersand.

The addition of spaces in a product name can also affect where a product returns when searched. If a shopper searches for fragrance brand ‘Montblanc’ on Tesco Direct no Montblanc products are returned because Tesco have spelt the brand as two words, ‘Mont Blanc’. The fragrance actually returns second, behind a mountain bike, which is also spelt Mont Blanc. If the brand was listed as all one word on the Tesco Direct site it would return top when searched for.

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