Keeping ahead of challenges

For beauty brand-builder Luxasia, Malaysia presents a strong market for growth – as well as the point of entry for a solid regional presence. 

THE challenges faced by the beauty industry are indeed many and varied. From a changing retail landscape to increasingly discerning consumers, it is not easy sailing for companies. 

Yet, the Luxasia Group has managed to weather the storm. Its secret? A few well-chosen strategies and an astute understanding of what the current generation really wants. 

Malaysia is the second biggest market for Luxasia, which sees the country as a strategic location that can deliver excellent support services to local markets all across Asia Pacific. 

According to Luxasia CEO Wolfgang Baier, this is why the company has set up a centre-of-excellence here. Luxasia’s regional e-commerce team is also based in Malaysia to drive e-commerce growth and expansion. 

“Our continued and time-proven success gives us strong credibility. Beyond this, it is our deep relationships, forged over more than 33 years, with large retailers, regional chains and local store networks that makes a difference,” says Baier. 

He notes that while Luxasia is present in 15 markets, carrying more than 150 brands into more than 4,500 points-of-sale, it is its success in South-East Asia that opens many doors for new brand-related opportunities. 

“Our success in South-East Asia, especially in Malaysia and Singapore, is why international brands should choose Luxasia as the choice partner for brand entry, growth and expansion in this region.” 

Malaysia does come with a challenge though. The consumers here are seen as more sophisticated and discerning, and hence, more demanding. They know what they want, seek better customer experiences and prefer exclusive promotional engagements. 

As Baier points out, Malaysian consumers are indeed a relatively discerning group. With them, he has observed a shift in support from commercial brands to up-market and niche brands. 

“In the business of luxury, there is a need to ensure detailed omnichannel consistency. Right from branding, to consumer experiences, promotions, and even pricing,” he explains. 

Luxasia raises the bar on consumer engagement through digital marketing and stunning pop-ups, graced by KOLs, who add social media viral impact to beauty launches.  

“Social-selling and social media-influenced purchases are also on the rise. Social media influencers are competitive in Malaysia, with many aspiring to follow in the footsteps of local successes.” 

That said, Luxasia’s strength is in the successful building of brands seamlessly, both online and offline. Its omnichannel platform integrates retail and e-commerce on strong distribution backbone, powered by consumer analytics. 

To-date, the company has amassed a database of more than one million unique marketable consumer data across Asia Pacific. This is in addition to it undergoing a five-year corporate strategic transformation. 

“As retail as one of the key pillars of our corporate transformation, we know the importance of personalised services in providing retail excellence,” says Baier, regarding some of the implemented changes.

“This is why our retail frontliners, the Customer Engagement Officers have access to our consumers’ purchase history to enable them to better recommend suitable products for the individual consumers,” he added.

“We have also automated the rostering and commission calculation of our staff so that they can do much less admin work and deliver greater delight to consumers through better service.” 

In a bid to put customers first, Luxasia is also expanding its offerings of brands. It is adding on to its skincare and cosmetics segment for example, which currently stands at 36% of the Malaysian business.

“It will soon be more than 60% with the add-on of our latest skincare brand, SK-II. By Aug 15, Luxasia will work with SK-II in four markets regionally, inclusive of Malaysia,” Baier reveals. 

Luxasia’s existing skincare and cosmetics portfolios currently include La Prairie, Guerlain, Albion, Elizabeth Arden, Kora Organics, Peter Thomas Roth, AHC, Yves Rocher, Les Merveilleuses Ladurée and Paul & Joe Beaute. 

Through a joint venture with LVMH, called L Beauty, Luxasia is bringing in the company’s brands into Malaysia as well. These include Benefit, MakeUpForever, Fresh, and more recently, Givenchy. 

Luxasia will continue courting Malaysian consumers by propelling the growth of the skincare segment, while maintaining a firm hold on the fragrance market. 

“We will continue to curate brands across the segments of masstige to luxury, and even niche, to offer a diverse yet aspirational range for consumers of different purchasing powers.” 

He adds: “We can definitely see a shift from advertisements to community-driven conversations, which is social engagement with a group of people with similar interests.” 

“Compelling content is simply one that exceeds consumers’ expectations and delivers omnichannel engagements. It is about running campaigns that are seamless in the physical and online space, with social engagements.”

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