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Driving omnichannel growth and commercial success for beauty brands In Asia Pacific

Beauty omni-distribution platform, LUXASIA, wins at Retail Asia Awards 2022.

The global beauty industry is facing manifold challenges as the world adjusts uncomfortably to the rhythms of a new normal. In luxury beauty retail, traditional methods of “doing business” has now become obsolete. Across the board, businesses are faced with two fates – evolve or go extinct. Beyond just transforming, which itself is no mean feat, LUXASIA has managed to overcome the odds, drive excellent results, and extend its lead as the preeminent omnichannel distribution platform for luxury beauty in the Asia Pacific. Most notably, its in-market successes led it to win the Cosmetics Retailer of the Year Award – Singapore, at the annual Retail Asia Awards 2022.

The awards programme recognises both major breakthroughs, interesting innovations, and commercial results of key players in the retail industry of Asia. LUXASIA’s efforts to engage with their customer base, drive continual brand growth for numerous luxury beauty brand partners, as well as its stellar efforts in rejuvenating the luxury beauty retail scene in Singapore in close collaboration with its channel partners, have distinguished them from their competitors. 

In 2021 alone, LUXASIA had expanded the retail presence (i.e. mono-brand boutiques, luxury counters, and pop-ups) of many illustrious brands such as Acqua di Parma, Byredo, Hermes, La Prairie, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Moncler, POLA, and Yves Rocher. Against the backdrop of post-pandemic uncertainties and challenges, this is truly remarkable. 

The Retail Revival – reigniting retail by engaging consumers

The year 2021 saw the resurgence of retail, especially in Singapore, as the market emerged from the shadows of the pandemic. However, this was not achieved overnight. Many consumers were still apprehensive about coming back out to shop, especially since they have grown accustomed to the joys and discounts of eCommerce – by 2021, even Baby Boomers have fallen in love with online shopping. LUXASIA was faced with the high calling of not just starting the fire, but fanning the flames of luxury beauty retail all over again.  

LUXASIA’s first secret weapon is its massive yet still growing customer database and robust CRM capabilities which has 5 typical consumer journeys, with 18 triggers and more than 35K campaign options. Utilising automation and data-backed insights, it reignited retail momentum through effective customer reactivations in Singapore. As a group, it has more than 2 million unique marketable luxury consumers and more than 2.5 million validated preferences. Thus, LUXASIA was able to effectively engage consumers with promotional mechanics that channel consumers to stores and counters, be it for a pampering luxury treatment, unique gifts-with-purchases, or free samples. 

The company’s customer-centricity extends to all aspects of retail including well-being and safety, in close partnerships with retail landlords and channel partners. In 2021, LUXASIA continued to implement initiatives such as conversational commerce, Call-and-Collect, luxury beauty concierge for VIPs, white-glove delivery services, and over-the-phone beauty consultations, to continuously exceed consumers’ expectations. Through in-house innovation, LUXASIA also developed and rolled out a “touch-free” means of collecting customer data via QR code on its customer data collection app on tablets across its Singapore stores and counters.

The escentials Story – exceptional omni-retail in Singapore and beyond

escentials, LUXASIA’s very own omni-retail concept for luxury niche beauty, carries more than 40 labels such as Acqua di Parma, Byredo, Creed, Diptyque, and Maison Francis Kurkdjian. Through escentials, LUXASIA was able to drive exquisite and cutting-edge retail both online and offline for discerning beauty lovers in Singapore. In fact, because of the observed high demand for luxury niche beauty in its three Singapore stores which serves niche beauty-loving consumers from across the region, escentials has since expanded to Malaysia in November 2021 and will soon enter Thailand and Vietnam. 

Combining the digital sphere with the physical space, escentials has launched two virtual stores mirroring its Paragon and TANGS Plaza boutiques, showcasing compelling walkthroughs of their physical boutiques in a three-dimensional visualisation. This gives consumers an immersive digital shopping experience, enabling them to discover the assortment of beauty products in phygital retail from the comfort of home or anywhere they may be.

In 2020, escentials enjoyed a staggering 60% online share of the business when retail footfall plummeted, representing a successful migration of consumers to its online commerce presence. In 2021, it in turn was able to reactivate consumers to return to stores with exclusive in-store product launches, intimate consumer events, and novel retail pop-ups. Since then, online sales have normalised to a 25% to 40% of its total business, with many of its consumers returning to enjoy shopping in its exquisite retail stores. More impressively, this was not achieved through cannibalisation but actual growth on both online and offline fronts, leading to an enviable double-digit growth for escentials in 2021. 

The omnichannel imperative – growing through integrated online commerce

e-Commerce and social commerce have now become significant channels to reach and engage consumers. Beyond a good-to-have, it is now a right to play for any brand or business. To be a top player in beauty retail today, omnichannel is the way to go i.e. companies must offer a seamlessly integrated online and offline shopping experience to consumers. Back in 2020, the pandemic paralysed many businesses because companies had not yet developed such capabilities. For LUXASIA which had started its 5-year omnichannel transformation in end 2016, full-suite digital capabilities were already a part of its go-to-market arsenal. As such, in less than a fortnight, LUXASIA was able to completely pivot to end-to-end online commerce, reaching and delighting Asia Pacific consumers. This has significantly differentiated the company from its peers and had enabled it to capture even greater market share. 

Fast forward to July 2021, LUXASIA proudly saw the launch of its full-service regional eCommerce enabler called LEAP Commerce. By then, it had already been incubated within LUXASIA for 4 years, growing more than 40 times with zero customer churn, and had already been recognised by the likes of Forrester. In 2021, the entity more than doubled its GMV again, through its extensive presence of over 290 brand e-stores for 80 over brands on more than 15 online marketplaces in the region. To-date, LEAP Commerce has won three Asia eCommerce Awards.

On top of it all, 2022 is looking to be promising for LEAP Commerce. It had enabled many of its brand partners to clinch the coveted Top 5 spots in monthly platform-wide campaigns across the likes of Lazada and Shopee in Singapore as well as across the Asia Pacific. Most recently, LEAP Commerce won two awards at the recent National Business Awards 2021 for their excellence in Supply Chain and Social Media Marketing.

The bright future of LUXASIA – explosive growth to conquer Asia Pacific’s booming luxury beauty sector

For all its efforts, LUXASIA’s Singapore presence, as well as the group as a whole, managed to achieve a double-digit growth despite its many macroeconomic headwinds in 2021. Not satisfied to rest on its laurels, LUXASIA is now at a crucial inflection point. Having established the right foundations in place through a gruelling 5Y transformation that ended in 2021, LUXASIA looks to accelerate growth through a newly minted 3-year strategic plan. The plan focuses on the holistic development of all its talents, enhanced commercial sharpness across all its business domains, continued consumer focus, fortified omnichannel end-to-end capabilities, while growing sustainably yet lean. 

Looking ahead, the future of luxury beauty in Asia Pacific continues to overflow with both promise and rewards. The region is already today’s largest beauty market and is expanding strongly still, with various sources estimating it to be between 5.5% to 6.5% CAGR for the next 5 years. This is underpinned by many emerging markets of untapped potential which are slated to flourish exponentially in this timeframe – markets such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, and India. For these markets, the time for brands to enter is now so as to capitalise a first-mover advantage and dominate market share. With a 15-market footprint covering these high-growth markets while being headquartered in competitive Singapore, LUXASIA is poised to take maximum advantage of Asia Pacific’s booming luxury beauty sector. The best is yet to come for LUXASIA, as it forges ahead on this explosive growth path that will reap even greater joint successes for brand and channel partners alike.

The 17th Retail Asia Awards is presented by Retail Asia. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2023 awards programme and be acclaimed for your company's outstanding retail initiatives, please contact Jane Patiag at [email protected].

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