As the definition of luxury continues to evolve, I look at the often discreet Clé de Peau Beauté.
Although Covid-19 alerted all beauty players, luxury companies were facing considerable new obstacles.
Between redesigning business models to translate their personalized in-person service online to taking on the consolidation of luxury retail, brands had to execute plans that would not only keep their affluent clientele, but also attract a multitude. buyers who converted to online purchase only. But, overall, brands like Biologique Recherche, La Prairie and Chanel have chosen to stay with their main retail partners throughout the pandemic.
For Shiseido’s Clé de Peau Beauté, giving up brick and mortar was not an option. So ensuring a mix of digital and physical acceleration, as well as a robust product pipeline, has been a priority. For all of its brands, Shiseido expects e-commerce penetration of 35% by 2023. In the first quarter of 2021, the group’s global e-commerce sales grew by 40%, with overall sales growth of 6%. % compared to 2020. All regions returned to growth, with the exception of Japan.
On the online front, Clé de Peau, in particular, launched on Amazon Luxury in October 2020, making it arguably the most premium brand in the beauty assortment on the market. He also offers buyable livestreams with influencers like Chriselle Lim on his own site. New retailers have also been key on the physical retail front: In March, Clé de Peau debuted at Bloomingdale’s flagship store on 59th Street and launched its second Macy’s location in August.
“We are becoming a group of several million [dollar] giant and ranking in the top 15 global brands, but we like to think of ourselves as the best-kept secret in the industry. We had a unique opportunity to rethink our market and work towards a more diverse and inclusive clientele, ”said Alessio Rossi, evp US Shiseido, Clé de Peau Beauté and head of digital transformation for the Americas.
In the results for the first half of fiscal 2021, Clé de Peau recorded a 33% growth in net sales year-on-year. In the EMEA and Americas region, the brand saw net sales growth of 26% over the period. This is a victory for Rossi, because the typical Clé de Peau client comes from Asia.
“The brand was born in Asia and everyone knows it as a Japanese brand, but we have a primary need to tell this story in the United States,” he said. Our point of contact here has been many wealthy Asian clients who are brand lovers and who came to college here or moved here as a young adult.
Clé de Peau, alongside the eponymous brand Shiseido, has also developed in China. In the income statement, activity in China was rated as a peak thanks to the sales of the aforementioned skin care brands: “Both offline and online sales have grown sharply, even accelerating compared to the fiscal year 2019. “
But so far, Clé de Peau has resisted the trend of launching with Gen Y and Gen Z beauty retailers, like Sephora and Ulta Beauty, to expand in the United States. Despite prestigious assortments, both retailers have taken steps to become more accessible and even mass-market. via Kohl’s and Target, respectively.
“It keeps us awake at night, to be honest with you,” Rossi said of the luxury consolidation. “In fact, traditional luxury distribution in the United States is something that needs to be rethought. She is going through such a crisis that something must be done. It did not work. I think there is a different kind of definition of luxury.
In Rossi’s mind, that definition extends to convenience, personalization, and values. While many were surprised by Clé de Peau’s passage on Amazon, he said, “Amazon is running a very tight ship; it’s definitely under control. There is an environment that suits us. In addition, Clé de Peau does not seek to sell its entire assortment to buyers on Amazon; it’s best left at his hero site.
“We’re not necessarily trying to sell you 20 products; this is something special, maybe two products [for example], “he said. In July, Clé de Peau teamed up with Oscar de la Renta, another Amazon Luxury partner, on one of these personalized offers: a limited-edition floral pouch containing the Contour Creme des Yeux Suprême and the Glorifier for Clé de Peau Lips, as well as samples of its Supreme Volumizing Cream., The Serum, the Fortifying Protective Emulsion SPF22 and the Supreme Vitality Eye Contour Mask. The products were selected in collaboration with Oscar de la Renta Creative Directors Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia.
“Skin care has always been an integral part of my daily routine and I have been a heavy user of Clé de Peau products for years,” said Kim. “The Oscar de la Renta personalized pouch also features one of my beloved prints from the fall 2021 collection.”
Rossi was unwilling to share Amazon’s sales figures, but said the business was growing. “We are seeing a response from our client that they are there, so we are responding to that. American consumers appreciate the ease of shopping multiple categories at once. We are not afraid of experimentation, ”said Rossi.
For its own grip on the United States, a shift towards education and visual assets has allowed Clé de Peau’s dot-com business to thrive. “We are trying to understand what type of communication our consumer needs: what type of product? What types of experiences can be entertaining for her? Rossi said. At the start of Covid-19, the brand leveraged its in-store sales force through its CRM platform to connect with shoppers on an individual basis.
Live broadcasts, which has been a priority conglomerate-wide, have focused on talent. Lim’s recent trade event centered around what lies about his vanity. Shiseido Global CDO Angelica Munson recently told my colleague Liz Flora: “What’s interesting about live streaming is that it is very closely related to video consultations. You can collect information and you can get people who have an intention. And then when things start to open up again, you can use the CRM to contact them, ”Munson said.
But Rossi stressed that content must remain relevant, regardless of the point of sale. “We found out during the pandemic that sometimes talking a little less goes a long way,” Rossi said. “We really ask ourselves: ‘Do we [want] bombard these people with as many emails as we want, until everyone has unsubscribed? ‘ What if we go the other way and spend some time putting together some nice communications that are meaningful to them, so that when they receive them, they really pay attention? It’s counterintuitive for many brands, but it’s paying off for us.
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