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Interview 2016-05-13

L’Occitane is leading sensoriality and natural products category: Gilles Moutounet

L'Occitane en Provence is eyeing e-Tailing format. The brand has recently hit headlines for backing Sanghvi Brand’s

L’Occitane is leading sensoriality and natural products category: Gilles Moutounet

L’Occitane has had a very good response in India since its introduction 5 years ago. The brand enjoys a good recall, thanks to its strong worldwide presence. Moreover, the cosmetic category in India is also growing very fast. In a conversation with Wellness India, Gilles Moutounet, Country Head of the brand unveils more about the brand’s presence in the Indian market, stores, staff recruitment and more.

Demand during recession

During recession, our business was marginally impacted as we saw low walk-ins. However, a large portion of our business comes from our existing customers who are loyalists and still came to our stores for refills. Even though the business had slowed down, we continued launching new products so that the customer gets to see something new in-store. It did take more time to recruit new customers however we managed their loyalty by offering experiential services in-store such as product demonstrations through hand massages and skin consults.

Consumers’ wellness awareness

The level of awareness has only grown in 5 years subsequently. We have witnessed in 5 years the arrival of many more high end brands in India and the opening of many new high end retail locations which have helped to develop the level of awareness.

Store presence and maintenance

Today, L’Occitane is present is seven cities across India with 10 EBOs and four corners in Shopper Stop. Our stores are well planned and follow an international concept which has been well thought about to avoid unwanted issues. All small details have been taken into consideration while building the stores, in order to have a lasting and good looking store and to avoid heavy maintenance. As a result, the maintenance cost is very marginal compared to the business generated by the store.

Strategy to lure and retain higher spenders

We run a VIP club for all loyal customers, entitle them to cumulate points with all purchases, which are leading to special offers, available exclusively for them.

Staff recruitment and criteria

Our staffs members are carefully selected through an interview with our retail head and with me as much as possible. The main criteria are of course previous experiences and presentability. Nevertheless, this is not enough and we also try to select candidates who show good entrepreneurial spirits and work for the brand as if it was their own.

Global revenue ratio of the brand

Today, L’Occitane has more than 2300 stores worldwide, with only 14 doors in India. This ratio is marginal.

Plans to enter in Green Cosmetics category

L’Occitane is all about sensoriality and natural products. We were one of the first brands worldwide to focus on this aspect more than 30 years ago and we are still leading the space through all the experience gained since our inspection.We have a real know how about working with essential oils obtained from natural products and have secured our position by launching many ranges of green cosmetic in all categories such as hair care, skin care and body care. The Divine cream made out of essential oil from the “Immortelle Flower” which exclusively grows in Corsica Island in the Mediterranean Sea has already won many awards worldwide as one of the best anti-ageing natural product available on the market.

E-tailing and expansion plans

We have already started e-Tailing in India with strong associations with main renowned portals. Otherwise our expansion plans is to still grow our store portfolio by opening new boutiques whenever there is a good project in hand.

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