What do Etude House, Skinfood, Innisfree, Belif, Too Cool for School and Nature Republic have in common? They are only some of the many cosmetic brands whose selling points are established in Seoul, from the spectacularflagship to the simple corner in underground train corridors. The South-Korean metropolis is known for its avant-gardism when it comes to adopting new products (the BB cream, the cushion) and its retail innovations.
Far from the fiery neighborhood of Myong-Deong and its 2 million daily shoppers, not far from the famous Gangnam, Garosu-gil is a quiet street, surrounded by trees, and filled with teaching-rich concepts. In the era of omni-channel, geo-tracking enabling a mobile-couponing when passing in front of the shop, many ideas can be exploited in the very real selling point world. The proof in five points.
1-The Photo zone at the heart of the retail processHow can a brand develop on social networks when only 11% of the Millennials admit sharing pictures of themselves with a luxury product (23% in Asia)? (according to the How Millennialls shop for luxury, study conducted by Pluris and HEC MBA, April 2016) One of the levers is to strategically place on the selling point (or outside) an “attraction” that makes the concept tangible and allows the clients to stage themselves with the product. A lever to trigger a maximum of selfies which are as many experiences shared on social networks. For example, the brand Moonshot places an astronaut outside the selling point, Skinfood an over-equipped truck with the brand’s colors, Line Friends exhibits giant bears.
2-Personalization at the heart of the desirability processA queue longer than for a premiere night at the Rex, by a vending machine, strange… Innisfree (which uses raw materials from the volcanic island of Jeju) invests a street angle with"My cushion ATM" : a shade/applier/box personalized cushion vending machine (Korea’s it-product), that you select on the screen, before paying and then collect it inside. A lever to get precious data on the client and enrich its CRM.
3-The sidewalk as an assertion of their promisesIn an overwhelming offer of concepts, the sidewalk is a stage for expression. You can see it for instance with the charter edited on the Belif wall, a care brand introduced in Korea in 2010 by LG Households and Healthcare, which presents thus its true herbal formula. A brand promise widely shared by a massive sampling strategy, or even free products (like unit masks given at the store entrance, or directly in the basket at Innisfree).
You can also find, as a link between the street and the shop, play spaces to attract attention and offer a true retailtainment like with the « Come and Get me » by the brand 3CE.
4-Design at the heart of the experienceJust like the brand Aesop transforming each of its selling point in unique design pieces, and integrating the product in it, each store is a theater stage with a scenery and a specific universe pushed to the extreme:
Too Cool for School, created in 2009 around the concept of experimentation, artistic sensitivity, and rebel spirit or the youth: the merchandising becomes a cabinet of curiosities.
Skinfood, a staging of the brand’s DNA with a café upstairs where you can taste the ingredients present in the products.
Chez 3CE, launched in 2009, the store becomes a movie theater, with cash desks at the entrance, masks stored is ice-cream typed freezers, and a real screening room upstairs to see some How To.
5-Immediate best-sellers acknowledgmentIn this overcrowded cosmetic universe, and with a Chinese audience you must seduce rapidly, it is important to clarify your best-sellers. Systematically, and no matter what the positioning of the brand is, they have to be identifiable in a blink.
The retail experience in Seoul is as entertaining as a beauty-themed amusement park. Games in stores are omnipresent (product distribution, videos games, etc.). And there is a reason why Etude House articulated its very last flagship (which looks like a princess house) around the concept of “beauty amusement park”. In the future, the digital might become the main purchasing channel while in the selling point, the product is no longer the client’s goal, but an alibi to live an experience, real or virtual.
Bérengère de Laporte
Experte en marketing, spécialiste de la cosmétique et du luxe. Sculpteur (www.berengeredelaporte.com)