Common scents at Cromwell Place
By Gianfranco Chicco
Scentmatic is on a quest to create tools that retailers and consumers could use to develop better olfactory experiences. The company’s main product, KAORIUM, combines expert knowledge, consumer feedback and online data using a bespoke artificial intelligence algorithm to essentially turn smells into words. “We use AI to enhancethe consumer experience by verbalising olfactory sensations,” says Shunji Kurisu, Scentmatic’s CEO.
Because fragrances are hard to grasp, expressing our preferences can be tough, so finding the right perfume can be a challenge. “KAORIUM offers a novel approach to fragrance exploration that decodes the enigmatic world of scents and helps people discover new fragrances, intuitively, through language,” Kurisu continues. “Our mission is to deliver olfactory moments of delight.”
The way it functions is relatively simple: consumers are exposed to different scents, to which they then suggest associated words, which then form referential markers around fragrances of that kind. It’s a symbiotic undertaking – the more a user interacts with the system and develops the lexicon, the more accurate it will become at being able to recommend specific fragrances.
Over the past year, KAORIUM has been installed in more than 50 stores in Japan and the data collected in those locations has been used to refine the consumer experience. The proof of its effectiveness is in its results: not only has this helped people gain a clear understanding of their preferences for a fragrance, but it has also contributed to the store’s sales. Brands are also collaborating with Scentmatic, using the technology as part of their R&D processes. Take cosmetics company Shiseido, which has launched a new fragrance – Bayside Camellia – using the feedback from thousands of users that went through the experience.
This powerful technology’s potential reaches beyond perfume retail. Scentmatic has collaborated with local governments and elementary schools across Japan to integrate scent into educational programmes, resulting in increased creativity and self-expression among school children. Additionally, they’ve incorporated scent as a new layer of information in medical clinics and they’re partnering with the University of Tokyo for scientific validation of KAORIUM’s results. Kurisu sees their role as one of “unlocking scent’s transformative impact – to inspire olfactory moments of delight across diverse domains”.
The company is now looking to expand into the huge fragrance markets of Europe and the United States, alongside developing applications for other commercial products, such as wine. At LDF23, visitors will have a chance to interact with KAORIUM directly at Cromwell Place in the Brompton Design District, in a sensory journey of smelling, reflection and language, to discover their own olfactory preferences.