Japan is the L’Occitane Group’s second-largest market and accounts for 14.1% of overall sales.
It is a strategic market for the L’Occitane en Provence and Melvita brands, in which the Group operates 128 and 35 stores, respectively.
Like most markets, Japan has been impacted by COVID-19 and related store closures and restrictive measures.
To cope with these changes, the firm banked on its knowledge and expertise in e-commerce and found new ways to connect with their consumers such as live streaming and social selling.
These measures have boosted the company’s e-commerce growth. In the first quarter of the financial year, it grew more than 120% and accounted for almost half of Japan’s sales.
On the other hand, the company has been actively working to meet customer expectations that have emerged during this health crisis.
“The pandemic has shed new light on the importance of hygiene and self-care,” said Junko Koyama, President of L’Occitane Japan.
“We acted swiftly and took the opportunity to complement our existing product portfolio by launching a hand purifying gel. Subtly fragranced with invigorating and refreshing verbena, it perfectly reflects the brand’s expertise, identity and commitments.”
Koyama was recently appointed as the president of L’Occitane Japan, succeeding Nicolas Geiger.
Prior to joining L’Occitane, Koyama was CEO and president of Ferragamo Japan. Before that, she held senior leadership positions in the Estée Lauder Companies, LVMH, Cartier and Proctor & Gamble.
“Junko will be instrumental in driving our strategy to support sustainable growth, despite the current crisis. Furthermore, her personal experience and background will be an invaluable addition to the Group’s Executive Leadership Team,” said Sylvain Desjonquères, L’OCCITANE Group Managing Director.
Adapting to the ‘new normal’
As the pandemic develops, Japanese consumers are changing their shopping habits and their lifestyles.
Koyama said the company was aiming to meet customer expectations with a broad product portfolio in the midst of lifestyle and consumer behaviour changes.
“At the same time, we are committed to continuing to offer the finest brand experience: high-level beauty consultation by beauty advisors, exciting product launches, strong bonding with our customers.”
With more emphasis on self-care and wellness, the company plans to adapt to the ‘new normal’ by playing to its strengths in skin care as well as home products.
“The pandemic renewed enthusiasm for self-care as more time is spent at home. We will continue to pursue a product strategy focusing on skincare with highly popular products such as L’Occitane en Provence’s Immortelle Reset serum and the recent release of the Immortelle Reset eye serum, as well as and home products such as room fragrances,” said Koyama.
Furthermore, the firm plans to leverage on its relationship with its customer base.
“L’Occitane Japan’s key focus will be to build on and further evolve what the brand does best: its customer centric approach; to listen to consumers and strengthen our customer relationship management.”
Koyama concluded: “The group will prioritise store productivity and conversion; rethink customer engagement and omnichannel experiences to discover the group’s products and brands, making the path-to-purchase fun, memorable and convenient; and focus on skin care heroes as well as the holiday season.”