, Southeast Asia
Photo from Coty.

24-hour beauty: Coty SEA blends physical and digital space for limitless store access

Coty SEA stores offer services that give the same customer experience online.

There is no telling when one’s favourite perfume or go-to moisturizer runs out, which some shoppers can solve with a quick dash to the store. On days they are not so lucky, shoppers are left waiting for their next store-run, but this does not have to be the case as Coty Sea blends the physical and digital space.  

“If customers have already bought the product and it is running out, they can then just text our beauty advisors to get a replenishment, and the product can be sent to them,” Estella Lau, Country Manager, Singapore & Prestige Distributor, Coty, told Retail Asia

She said Coty plans to launch a beauty concierge service through which customers can reach their beauty advisors in a call or chat for advice or makeup tips, even when their free-standing store has closed down for the day. 

‘Not going away’

Lau highlighted the role brick-and-mortar stores play for brands even amidst the acceleration of technological adoption of the industry. Coty SEA strived to use the physical space in a way that would complement the company’s digital channel to elevate the customer experience. 

“Brick-and-mortar is definitely not going away. [It] remains a key platform for us to engage the customers as we say we want to create a community space where customers can come and play with the product or enjoy a makeover or master class,” Lau said. 

Coty recently partnered with Chloé Atelier des Fleurs, which opened its first pop-up boutique in Singapore. The store replicated a Parisian florist’s boutique, where shoppers can mix and match 17 niche scents to whip their own unique fragrance, much like making a bouquet. 

In their Chloé Atelier de Fleur boutique, Coty SEA has assigned beauty advisors ready to help shoppers who prefer face-to-face interactions; whilst those who prefer to shop alone can play with a digital “Bouquet Finder,” which will likewise take customers to a fragrance layering experience.  

Lau said the company has observed a monthly increase in footfall since launching in October 2022. More than this, there is also a noticeable growth in their conversion rates amongst the shoppers coming through their doors. 

Making the right investments

This brings to light the significance of having the right investments in place. Lau said retailers need to beef up their operations not just through investments in their digital technology infrastructure, but also by bringing the right people on board.  

“Technology is one thing, but behind all that technology needs competent people with very strong digital marketing skills, digital commercial skills, and someone who can understand consumer needs and consumer shopping behaviour,” Lau said.

Whilst e-commerce development is critical, she said that retailers need to also invest in creating an experience that is more personal to the consumer; but businesses have to make sure that the experience is reflected in both the physical and digital space. At Coty SEA, stores have a “shop space” to take their clients through the same experience online.

The Gucci Beauty Flagship store at ION Orchard, for instance, uses augmented reality to bring shoppers to the Gucci Beauty universe, where they can learn and play with beauty products. They also have the option to virtually try-on makeup using in-store gadgets.

This will need a better understanding of consumers, which retailers can achieve with improved data analytics capabilities that could track the frequency of shoppers’ store visits, or determine the key promotion drivers that shape their behaviour.

“For customers who want a more bespoke experience, we offer the art of fragrance layering with our ultra-luxe range, the Alchemist Garden, where customers can learn about how they layer fragrance oil with perfume water, and with the fragrance of their choice and really have a wonderful premium experience,” Lau said. 

Investing in people may also be internal as seen in how Coty SEA puts effort into training their beauty advisors. Lau said their people are not just skilled in making transactions, but also in personally engaging with customers through storytelling or even by making them feel more pampered. 

On top of these, Lau said retailers can no longer exist on their own, hence, they need to start looking at partnerships with other brands to offer a different, layered, and more interesting experience to customers. Through partnerships, they can develop limited edition products, or even create ones that shoppers can exclusively get online.  

“If we don’t keep up, we risk losing market share. Now it is not even a choice because this is what the shoppers want. They want to be shopping 24/7. They want to be shopping at their convenience, at their own time,” Lau said.

“It is really imperative now for retailers to continue to connect and engage with all our multi-generational consumers and new audiences to stay relevant.”

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