Pre­mium ser­vice em­pha­sised

It’s not just about mak­ing a pur­chase as the ex­cep­tional shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence plays a role in sales.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - STYLE -

WITH high-end prod­ucts lead­ing growth within the per­fume and cos­met­ics in­dus­try, it is no sur­prise that beauty brands are plac­ing in­creased em­pha­sis on the “pre­mium” ex­pe­ri­ence of shop­ping for their prod­ucts. Prod­uct qual­ity it­self is no longer enough. In the pre­mium seg­ment, cus­tomers are seek­ing an ex­cep­tional shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence and the sense of a cer­tain mys­tique sur­round­ing the prod­ucts, ex­plained Jas­mine Pe­tiot, Vice Pres­i­dent at the Fed­er­a­tion Fran­caise de la Par­fumerie Se­lec­tive (FFPS) and man­ager of the in­de­pen­dent fra­grance shop Par­fumerie Se­duc­tion in Paris.

Al­though the cos­met­ics and per­fume in­dus­try is more vul­ner­a­ble than other sec­tors dur­ing an eco­nomic down­turn, it is less likely to suf­fer from a de­creased de­mand than the fash­ion in­dus­try. And, para­dox­i­cally, in the cur­rent eco­nomic cli­mate, pre­mium brands are lead­ing the growth for the en­tire cos­met­ics and per­fume in­dus­try, while sales of mid-range prod­ucts seem to have gone down in re­cent years.

In fact, the most ex­clu­sive pre­mium brands, such as Creme de la Mer, have rarely sold so well in the past. “Th­ese brands’ sales are in­creas­ing at a slower rate than last year, but they are in­vest­ing in me­dia and ad­ver­tis­ing heav­ily to main­tain their vol­ume,” said the Vice Pres­i­dent of the FFPS.

“The cus­tomers who shop here reg­u­larly have not changed their habits, those who used to come spo­rad­i­cally some­times come less of­ten or buy in smaller pack­ages, for ex­am­ple, from 10ml to 50ml pack­ages when it comes to per­fume,” she adds.

More than just the sum of their prod­ucts, to­day’s high-end beauty brands are de­fined by the unique ex­pe­ri­ences they aim to em­body, and ser­vices play an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant role in this re­gard. Pe­tiot notes that “clients are pay­ing more at­ten­tion to ser­vices, sales rit­u­als, any­thing that gives value to the ob­ject they are pur­chas­ing: gift pa­per, scented pack­ag­ing, a smile, and per­sonal touches ... they are look­ing for recog­ni­tion and for spe­cial at­ten­tion. And all of th­ese fac­tors con­trib­ute to the mem­ory of a pleas­ant shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence. Life is hard for many peo­ple, and walk­ing into a per­fume shop should rep­re­sent an en­chanted in­ter­lude.”

It is just this type of en­chanted in­ter­lude that Guerlain hopes to of­fer through its newly-ren­o­vated Champs-El­y­sees flag­ship store in Paris. In white mar­ble, wood and Bac­carat crys­tal chan­de­liers, the new space is more than a bou­tique: it also in­cludes a gourmet restau­rant and a tea room where guests can sip bev­er­ages in­spired by Guerlain’s iconic fra­grances.

Another strat­egy for cul­ti­vat­ing a pre­mium brand im­age lies in prod­uct pack­ag­ing. In a re­cent study, Bri­tish re­search firm Vi­sion­aid re­vealed that the over­all cos­met­ics pack­ag­ing mar­ket has re­ceived a boost due to a stronger de­mand for pre­mium cos­met­ics prod­ucts.

“The trend to­wards the ‘ pre­mium-isa­tion’ of cos­met­ics and anti-ag­ing prod­ucts in de­vel­oped coun­tries could lead to a rise in the price of beauty prod­uct pack­ag­ing over­all, as pack­ag­ing will be­come more in­no­va­tive and costly,” ac­cord­ing to Vi­sion­aid.

Fi­nally, the am­bi­ence and nar­ra­tives sur­round­ing a prod­uct or brand can also con­trib­ute to its de­sir­abil­ity, which is why a num­ber of brands are ap­peal­ing to story-telling strate­gies to cul­ti­vate a cer­tain mys­tique. In re­cent years, Chanel, for ex­am­ple, has em­pha­sised its pres­ti­gious and iconic his­tory through its In­side Chanel videos. This month, the brand con­tin­ues in this vein, launch­ing a cam­paign based on archival photographs and record­ings link­ing Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe to the fa­mous Chanel No 5 fra­grance.

Thanks in large part to the In­ter­net, cus­tomers al­most al­ways know ev­ery­thing about a prod­uct be­fore com­ing into the store and buy­ing it, Pe­tiot ex­plains. In con­se­quence, brands need to add com­ple­men­tary el­e­ments that will make the cus­tomer’s ex­pe­ri­ence more pos­i­tive.

Telling the story of a prod­uct or sur­round­ing it with in­ter­est­ing ser­vices is a way of invit­ing cus­tomers “to dis­cover what they had not yet imag­ined, or did not know,” says Pe­tiot. Cul­ti­vat­ing the spe­cial re­la­tion­ship be­tween each cus­tomer and the brand is a vi­tal el­e­ment for suc­cess in the high-end cos­met­ics and per­fume in­dus­try. — AFP Re­laxnews

A spirit of ex­cel­lence: cus­tomers seek an ex­cep­tional shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence and the sense of a cer­tain mys­tique sur­round­ing the prod­ucts, ex­plained Jas­mine Pe­tiot, Vice Pres­i­dent at the Fed­er­a­tion Fran­caise de la Par­fumerie Se­lec­tive (FFPS); (right) asprey of­fers a lim­ited edi­tion van­ity case for La mer, up­ping the ante on pre­mium ser­vice.

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