Digital technology transforms perfumery retailing at Marionnaud
Marionnaud continues its digital make-over. The French perfumery and cosmetics retailer, founded in 1984, launched the transformation to digital two years ago as a system to track its customers' needs more closely and also improve inventory and merchandising management. Marionnaud belongs to Chinese group Hutchison Whampoa since 2005, and it currently operates 512 stores in France (244 with in-store beauty institutes), ranging from 25 m2 neighbourhood perfumeries to 700 m2 flagship stores.
State-of-the-art digital technology has gradually made its way into Marionnaud stores, and sales staff at all locations are now equipped with tablets. They devices combine a fragrance advice tool, a make-up simulation service and a cosmetics test app called Code Beauté. Since the app's launch in 2015, Code Beauté has been used to record over 700,000 profiles, giving Marionnaud a huge database on its customers' preferences. This allows the retailer to carry out predictive analysis to adjust its product range, and also to fine-tune its consumer target.
The typical customer at Marionnaud is a woman over 40, more focused on skincare than fragrance. The group employs 3,670 beauty consultants and claims to rank second in France in the skincare segment, and number three in selective perfumery after the Sephora and Nocibé chains.
Mobile payments can also be made on the tablets to avoid breaking the flow between product advice and payment, two actions which are now carried out by the beauty consultant herself. E-receipts are being tested in 50 stores.
Consumers are not the only ones being impacted by the retailer's digital innovations: "New technology is designed to create value for our clients, but it is also a driver of operational efficiency," said Olivier Carrette, Marketing and Digital Director at Marionnaud. The retailer's initiatives include the use of software developed by US firm JDA to digitally control in-store merchandising, while warehouse staff too have tablets at their disposal to manage stocks and optimise shelf space.
Thanks to these new tools, biannual inventorying in March and September get products back on reorganized shelves in three days now, rather than nine under the old system.
New digital tools also enable Marionnaud to act as a consultant to the brands it distributes. "In the past, product launches were driven by brands, using manual methods mostly. Nowadays, our digital tools allow us to make recommendations based on the data we gather, and there is an information exchange between us and the brands," said Damien Gaborit, in charge of commercial planning at Marionnaud. Every year, the retailer adds 4,000 new products to its range, and at any one time it manages between 8,000 and 12,000 SKUs.
Digital solutions are also used to optimise logistics, which are managed in real time at Marionnaud's sole French warehouse in Châtres. Marionnaud has recently become the exclusive distributor in France for Estée Lauder-owned label MAC Cosmetics.
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