Global ambition: Dr.Ci:Labo identifies travel retail as key to driving brand growth overseas

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Dr.Ci:Labo is aiming to expand the brand’s international presence via the travel retail channel. [Dr. Ci:Labo]
Dr.Ci:Labo is aiming to expand the brand’s international presence via the travel retail channel. [Dr. Ci:Labo]

Related tags: Skin care, Japan, Travel retail, Johnson & johnson

Japanese derma beauty brand Dr.Ci:Labo is aiming to expand the brand’s international presence via the travel retail channel on the back of the heightened awareness of safety and health.

In the midst of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Johnson & Johnson-owned brand has seen a growing demand for derma beauty products.

“We have seen an upward trend in the demand for derma cosmetics due to savvy and discerning skin care consumers looking for DIY dermatological treatments with the same level of efficacy as clinical or beauty spa treatments,” ​said Sandrine Tesnière, head of marketing, media and digital, travel retail, Johnson & Johnson.

She added that this trend has accelerated on the back on the overall concern for health and safety in general. “Consumers are prioritising safety and health and are looking for skin health products that are backed by science and endorsed by professionals.”

Moving forward, the company expects these consumer shifts to further drive the demand for the brand.
“Derma cosmetics brands like Dr.Ci:Labo have proven to be resilient. In the post-COVID-19 world, I expect that consumer interest in derma cosmetics and skin health products that support overall health and wellness will continue to increase,”​ said Tesnière.

In the next year, the company intends to tap into the strong demand from its Asian consumers, particularly the Chinese and Japanese, to drive its growth abroad.

“Dr.Ci:Labo aspires to expand our footprint internationally so that many more consumers can experience the science-based results of the brand,”​ said Tesnière.

In preparation of this expansion, the firm has recently rebranded to ‘modernise’ its identity.

The refreshed identity sharpens our brand mission of helping everyone achieve a beautiful appearance and a radiant glow from within, by offering a range of skin health formulations developed to help the growing Ci:Community with their skin concerns,​ said Tesnière.

Exploring opportunities in travel retail

As part of its strategy to grow awareness of the brand globally, the company will focus its efforts on the travel retail channel.

“Travel retail will play a key role in our ambition to grow global awareness because it enables a savvy, international audience to trial our products… Widely travelled consumers are extremely savvy and know where to find the latest and best in skin care treatments. It is a fascinating phenomenon that consumers are looking to duty-free retail for hidden finds,”​ said Tesnière.

Tesnière said the firm was committed to building a brand presence at major travel hubs such as South Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.

In particular, the brand is increasingly focusing its attention on China’s travel retail market.

“In China, we have gained [online] listings with China Duty Free Group at Haitang Bay and Beijing Capital and Daxing airports. More recently, we have gained listings with CNSC at various downtown duty-free locations in China,”​ said Tesnière.

The firm also intends to use the opportunities in travel retail to tap on the trend of personalisation in skin care.

We will concentrate on elevating personalised consumer experiences at our travel retail counters – offering an experience similar to what you would have in a Japan domestic Dr.Ci:Labo store – with bespoke clinical consultations,”​ said Tesnière.

Differentiating through omnichannel experiences

Furthermore, Tesnière highlighted the importance of reinforcing the brand’s omnichannel presence.

A thoughtful omnichannel and connected commerce strategy creates a frictionless and hyper-personalised consumer experience. The connections that we make with our consumers must add value to their personal skin health journey.

The brand has carried out campaigns and activities such as encouraging conversations about ‘skin rationalism’ with dermatologists, key opinion leaders (KOLs) and economists.

“We will continue to drive awareness of the brand through dermatologists, KOLs and well-discerned skin care influencers via live streaming, which are powerful tools to reach consumers. More importantly, the content of these live streaming sessions continues to add value to consumers’ knowledge and experience when using a Dr.Ci:Labo product,” ​said Tesnière.

Such initiatives have helped to boost the brand, evident in its performance on China’s e-commerce platform, Tmall, where the business has posted “exceptional results”​ compared to last year, Tesnière said.

Our priority is to offer a premium brand experience via digital platforms and content and engage with consumers through diverse touchpoints. We will continue to expand our presence through omni-channel, with online-to-offline strategies, that complement our brand’s ambition and position ourselves for the upturn in the post-COVID-19 era.”

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