Beauty Brands See 2020 Sales Grow at Alibaba’s ‘New Retail’ Department Stores

Beauty Brands See 2020 Sales Grow at Alibaba’s ‘New Retail’ Department Stores

An Intime Department Store in Ningbo. Intime Department Stores

According to data recently-released by Alibaba-owned department store chain, Intime, its stores were the world’s top-performing retailer for 13 of the international beauty and cosmetics brands it stocks in 2020, a new report from Alizila, Alibaba’s online news hub, has reported.

La Mer, Lancôme and Estée Lauder, each surpassed 100 million yuan ($15.5 million ) in 2020 sales through Intime, and 22 other brands, including some from Japan and Korea, each exceeded 10 million ($1.55 million) in over-the-counter and “ship-from-counter” sales online.

The department store chain has seen a much-feted turnaround in its fortunes since it was taken private by Alibaba in a $2.6 billion deal back in 2017. The digital upgrades made to Intime’s 65 store since then, as well as the growth and development of its own Miaojie app, placed it in particularly good stead to weather store closures as coronavirus hit China at the beginning of 2020.

With stores closed, and later, with stores re-opened but people hesitant to return to in-person shopping in the months after the worst of the pandemic had passed in China, Intime famously encouraged its sales assistant staff to become livestreamers, recommending and selling products via Alibaba platform Taobao Live.

For La Mer’s beauty counter at Intime’s Hangzhou flagship location, 50 percent of its 2020 sales were online through Miaojie, contributing to an overall 200 percent increase in the brand’s overall performance.

“We were lucky to come out on top of this crisis thanks to years of digital innovation and transformation,” said Yan Xuekun, Intime CTO. “At Alibaba, we always say believing is seeing instead of the other way around. For Intime, everyone from CEO to store staff embraced digitisation very early on, when few believed in the power of new retail.”

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