Buying fragrances on a website that offers lower prices can create pause. But when that company changes its name, that can make customers even more suspicious. So when you come across the site Notino.com, which is the old BeautySpin.com, you might wonder if it’s legit.
The name change may not be nebulous. Notino.com wanted to unite its international brand. The change occurred in 2016, and the company is mostly still around in 2023, so that hints to legitimacy. Notino.com no longer operates in or ships to the United States for unknown reasons but international customers seem to be mostly satisfied with their service.
Although Notino.com has gone through a lot of changes, they’ve served millions of customers to date and continue to expand their service area. Let’s try to sort it their legitimacy in this article.
Brief History of Notino.com
Notino.com is a European online beauty retailer founded in the Czech Republic in 2004.
They quickly expanded throughout Eastern European countries before opening up in the United Kingdom in 2015. Their most recent expansion has been into Ireland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in 2021. Currently, their online business operates in 28 countries, and there’s a website for each one.
Initially, there was brand name variance for each country or region. In the United States, for instance, they were called BeautySpin. But in November 2016, all of their beauty line branches converged into one – Notino.com.
Notino also has brick-and-mortar stores in eight different countries. Somehow Notino can still charge the same low prices inside these stores as they do online.
From BeautySpin.com to Notino.com
You’ll notice that the United States is no longer listed on their home page, and if you visit BeautySpin.com, you’ll be redirected to Notino.com. I don’t have all the details surrounding this change, but shipping complications seem to be one culprit.
As mentioned in this article, there are more stringent shipping restrictions for fragrances due to their high alcohol content. Under no circumstances can they be shipped by air.
When product was available in the U.S., Notino set themselves apart from sites like FragranceNet and FragranceX by offering closeout deals on niche fragrances and other eclectic finds at affordable prices.
But after their name change, Notino.com struggled to maintain business operations in the United States. A representative of the company made reference to lack of worldwide shipping options causing them to put the U.S.-leg of their business on hold indefinitely.
That was years ago.
Notino is not active on their United States social media accounts. Their last Instagram post was from February 2018 and their last Facebook post was from August 2019.
So, sometime between early 2018 and mid-2019, processing United States orders was simply no longer a viable option for Notino. And it’s understandable. Unless they were to maintain a warehouse in the United States, shipping costs would be impractical for them and their U.S. customers.
It’s also unclear whether Chanel’s lawsuit against BeautySpin.com was detrimental, even though they settled out of court. Initiated in November 2016, the case was dismissed by March 2017 after frequent communications.
Regardless, what Notino described as short-term delay has turned into a few years instead. It’s unknown whether or not they’ll return to the U.S. discount fragrance market at all, but customers who used to shop with the company aren’t optimistic.
What Can You Find on Notino.com?
According to their website, in 2021, Notino.com sold over 70 million products to 20 million customers.
They offer 83,000 products from 1,500 brands stocked and ready to ship throughout Europe.
You can find brands like Armani, Chloé, Yves St. Laurent, and Lancôme Paris. In fact, the most popular fragrance sold in 2021 was La Vie Est Belle by Lancôme Paris.
Fragrances comprise 50% of their overall sales.
In addition to fragrances, Notino.com sells makeup, specialty cosmetics, hair, skin, body, and oral care products, and home fragrance items.
Unlike some online beauty and fragrance retailers, there’s a huge selection of products from various categories for men.
Gift wrapping is another highlight. They wrapped close to 400k gifts for customers in 2021.
How Can Notino.com Charge Low Prices?
This is largely unknown. From what I can tell, there are a lot of overhead expenses involved with running this company. It’s not a lean endeavor.
According to their 2021 stats – the latest year available – they have 117 employees but fielded close to 960k customer calls and close to 2 million emails were sent to customers.
They also offer a lot of personalization services, two of which include a virtual mirror to try out makeup and AirParfum to test out scents.
Their warehouse is centrally located in Europe, but let’s not forget their physical store locations – those are never inexpensive to maintain.
It’s unclear how they’re able to juggle all of these expenses and more while offering affordable prices. One can speculate, but there aren’t any hard facts to share.
Are Notino.com Prices Actually Low?
In terms of pricing, Notino operates slightly different from the other discount fragrance websites.
The price listed is the price that you pay – no coupon codes, or email list sign-ups required, which is different, but there are codes available for lower rates on some scents. Their prices fluctuate, but there’s a note indicating the most that’s been charged for the item within the past 30 days.
With that said, not all of the prices are as low as customers have reported. For instance, when comparing Coco Chanel Mademoiselle on Notino and Chanel’s UK websites, a 100 mL bottle was more expensive on Notino.com.
Burberry London for Her, on the other hand cost £31.50 for 100 mL on Notino.com and £83 on the Burberry UK website. But the price has been as high as £80.30 on Notino.com, so low prices might be hit or miss.
Does Notino.com Sell Imitation Fragrances?
Honestly, it’s possible. As I mentioned earlier, some companies have called them out but it seems that legal action either fizzles out or is never started, which causes one to question the legitimacy of the initial claims.
Customers seem to feel that their Notino fragrances are authentic. And Notino.com UK states that all their products are and have been genuine since 2004.
Returns & Customer Feedback
Notino.com offers customers a generous 90-day return policy You can either ship the item(s) back to them or return it to one of their stores.
Customer feedback seems to vary by country. Their UK Trustpilot score is 4.1, which translates to “Great.” Seventy-eight percent of the feedback is 5-star, but 13% is 1-star.
Great prices, customer service, and product selection are what customers rave about. Slow response time is the primary complaint.
Should You Buy from Notino.com?
Notino.com seems to be a great discount fragrance retailer for those living outside of the United States.
European customers can find good deals on Notino.com, but I would suggest comparing prices prior to making a final purchase.