TRP Travel Retail Style Index: September 2020

NARS Icons Sanya travel retail

Welcome to a new travel retail column for DRG by Alison Farrington aka The Retail Planner (TRP)

As global travel picks up again, we look at the business and shopping trends of the travel retail world. In particular, the beauty, fashion, accessories, and watches & jewellery categories, dipping into the product exclusives and digital strategies that often launch in Asia and give the rest of the world an idea of innovations coming soon.

DFS X WECHAT LIVESTREAM.  If you’re getting ready for a Golden Week shopping trip at the end of this month in time for the Chinese autumn break, then DFS is a go-to retailer with downtown and airport locations in Hong Kong and Singapore among others. Whether you still shop in physical stores or not, if there’s one thing Covid has done for consumerism, it’s to accelerate the trend for live stream shopping and this has been especially prevalent across China via WeChat. Now DFS has joined the live stream party.

The LVMH-owned retailer held its first in-store live stream event in collaboration with WeChat in mid-August and made more beauty sales in one hour than it has ever seen at any of its Hong Kong outlets in one day. The in-store event was hosted by DFS beauty experts from T Galleria by DFS, Hong Kong, generating more than 50,000 views, 30,000 likes and more than 12,000 click-throughs as online shoppers pre-ordered and snapped up 50 products on special offer. Highlights included Estée Lauder Nutritious Super-Pomegranate Radiant Energy Moisture Crème Day & Night Duo and Clé de Peau Beauté Ultimate Daily Emulsion Care Set.

“Live streaming has become one of China’s most popular ecommerce trends, accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis,” said DFS Executive Vice President Global Marketing and Beauty Merchandising Christophe Marque. “It is fun for us and for our audience, but also a great way to engage our customers while they are unable to travel.”

TRP Takeaway: With its store portfolio of 25 locations across Asia and North America, DFS is likely to repeat its early live stream success and I’m looking forward to seeing how this WeChat partnership develops.

Génifique by Lancôme has ‘opened’ its first global virtual flagship ‘in Singapore’. The skincare brand’s phygital destination store is timed to coincide with the launch of its #LiveYourStrength campaign for the bestselling Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activating serum*.

A global first for the beauty brand, the online store (open until 20th September) aims to marry digital engagement with physical experience. Visitors can find a range of one-to-one customer service tutorials accessible by chat bots and click-through zones within the virtual store. According to the brand notes, it wants to provide an ‘immersive’ 3D shopping experience in a virtual space that brings the store close to shoppers from the comfort of their homes.

Each visitor can redeem a seven-day Lancôme Advanced Génifique trial kit at the virtual flagship store – located via a global URL that takes them to five exploratory personality zones (Discover, Explore, Inspire, Live and Shop). Each one is designed to encourage visitors to discover their own strengths and traits.

From the microbiome science behind the Advanced Génifique, to skincare diagnosis tool powered by AI, a live stream room featuring Singaporean influencers and the brand campaign that presents 100 women who share their personal stories of inner strength, the Lancôme virtual experience connects on multiple levels.

TRP Takeaway: This type of virtual flagship stores sets a new agenda for beauty retail, post-Covid. The new normal is about utilising digital services, virtual try-ons, live stream and selfie-enabled diagnostics to fill the void for customers who are now looking for more frictionless shopping options where personalisation is still key. I like that the digital ‘geo-location’ of Singapore gives it relevance for this community but it has global appeal.

Digital-engagement retail campaigns such as the NARS Icons pop-up in June at CDF Sanya International Duty Free Shopping Complex in Haitang Bay, China (above) show how we’ll still be able to interact with brands at travel retail locations with options for a ‘low-touch’ experience.

Sanya, known as the Hawaii of China, has emerged post-Covid as a major duty free shopping destination for Chinese travellers who aren’t travelling overseas right now. The NARS Icons promotion featured a geo-location (aka destination exclusive) digital campaign that asked users to scan a QR code, sign up to an AR game, then find as many NARS lipstick motifs as possible on their mobile device screens. ‘Winners’ could redeem vouchers for gifts with purchase at the physical pop-up designed to look like a camera obscura with an interior exploration of some of the NARS bestselling products with safety-conscious iPad make-up tutorials.

Shoppers were invited to vote for their favourite NARS products, while also being able to purchase CDF-exclusive sets including the NARS Aqua Glow Cushion Foundation Duo Set and the NARS Light Reflecting Setting Powder Loose Duo. According to the brand, the campaign resulted in a combined reach of 35.9 million and saw sales of +26% against target for NARS in China.

TRP Takeaway: We can expect more beauty brands to jump on the AR gamification train if the NARS experience has anything to do with the way we use our mobiles for discovery shopping and the new normal requirement of frictionless physical shopping.

This post is contributed by DRG retail editor, ALISON FARRINGTON, who is a freelance travel retail industry journalist. Read her previous posts on Disneyrollergirl here.


WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Alison Farrington
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links* and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

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