Yves Rocher makes online channel pivot
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Yves Rocher makes online channel pivot

Millennials targeted in local pilot project

Ms Wilasinee said Yves Rocher plans to provide various product categories across more channels in 2021. (Photo by Pitsinee Jitpleecheep)
Ms Wilasinee said Yves Rocher plans to provide various product categories across more channels in 2021. (Photo by Pitsinee Jitpleecheep)

The French beauty maker, Yves Rocher, has selected Thailand as the first country to launch its online-oriented business concept next month as it pivots to millennials.

Wilasinee Parnurat, chief marketing officer at Yves Rocher Thailand -- the marketer and distributor of Yves Rocher beauty products, said the company will launch a "social selling" channel for Yves Rocher products in Thailand next month as a part of its rebranding scheme.

For 23 years in Thailand, Yves Rocher products have been available solely at shops, targeting adults averaging 45 years of age.

To keep the business sustainable, the company is pivoting to online channels to tap into Thai millennials or those aged 23-38 years old.

From Feb 12, Yves Rocher products will be displayed on online platforms through external sales representatives called "outside consultants". These representatives can sell Yves Rocher products via their social media channels, raising exposure to a younger clientele.

The company will also launch its own e-commerce platform for the first time.

Using these strategies, the company expects sales via online channels will rise to 35% of total sales this year, compared with 17% last year.

The move to sell Yves Rocher products via sales representatives is undergoing a test run in Thailand. The country ranked among the top 10 most important markets for Yves Rocher globally last year.

The high rate of internet penetration in Thailand is another plus for online distribution. If the strategy proves successful here, it will be rolled out to other countries.

Due to the pandemic, the company had to close 48 shops across the country, leaving 80 shops standing.

The number of traditional stores may be further reduced to 70 within the next 2-3 years, following this shift in strategy to online channels.

"We have adapted well to digital life as consumer behaviour has changed. About 40% of customers shop online even when physical stores are open," Ms Wilasinee said.

By moving to online sales, the company can tap into new customer groups.

Millennial customers spend 800 baht per ticket on average, which is three times less than the 2,500 baht spend among adult customers. If the company motivates millennials to buy more, from haircare to skincare, which have higher prices per unit, the results could be promising.

She said the company also plans to provides various product categories across more channels in 2021, particularly social channels and e-marketplaces.

Yves Rocher's total sales rose 7% to 900 million baht in 2020, outpacing the beauty industry's 11% contraction last year.

Thailand's beauty market is estimated to reach 70 billion baht in 2020. Within the segment, the haircare market grew by 2%, hygiene products at 7%, but the make-up market shrank by 30%.

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