MACAU, CHINA. When DFS Group reopened its T Galleria Beauty by DFS, Galaxy Macau store last November with a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony and VIP event, it marked the opening of an exciting new chapter.
The luxury travel retailer seized the opportunity to reimagine the existing offer and to reach out to the property’s increasingly Gen Z and Millennial customer base in a more innovative, service-orientated way.
DFS collaborated with partners to increase the number of brands and place enhanced focus on digital elements, in-store entertainment and a story-telling approach to the beauty category that would resonate with returning customers.
“We know that consumers have expanded their beauty repertoire and are not only looking for the traditional icon brands but also the more niche and less-distributed beauty brands,” says DFS Group Chairman & CEO Benjamin Vuchot (see the May edition of The Moodie Davitt Magazine for full interview).
“This is why we introduced The Beauty Collective – DFS’ first beauty concept dedicated to showcasing today’s top new beauty brands while also providing an incubator space for emerging brands.
“Customers today also expect a fully seamless and omnichannel shopping experience, from before their departure all the way through to when they arrive at their destination and step foot in a DFS store. This is why we integrated several new digital elements into the store.”
The Moodie Davitt Report toured T Galleria Beauty by DFS, Galaxy Macau in mid-March with expert guides DFS Senior Vice President Beauty Amael Blain and DFS Galaxy General Manager, Michael Keen.
Galaxy is in every sense an ultra-contemporary store. As reported, this location was designed and built in line with the LVMH Initiatives For the Environment (LIFE) programme using sustainable materials and has been fitted with low-energy consuming appliances. More than half the lighting fixtures were made using eco-design principles while over 50% of the furniture and fittings were sourced from recycled materials. Some 80% of the wood used in-store was also produced with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.
The first impression of the newly reopened Galaxy is of a striking high-profile promotion zone (occupied by Clarins during our visit); an expansive, wide open entrance; great internal sight lines; and easy store navigation despite the deep format. The brands do the rest, with the store offering an eclectic 70+ assortment of renowned international favourites – including SK-II, Dior and YSL, which all formerly had standalone boutiques elsewhere in the Galaxy estate – mixed with 30 new brands, eight of them exclusive to DFS.
The store enjoys a prime site in the busiest thoroughfare of the vast Galaxy property, enjoying close proximity to the estate’s numerous hotels (including Galaxy Macau, Banyan Tree, Hotel Okura, The Ritz-Carlton, Raffles and JW Marriott), casino and luxury boutiques such as Louis Vuitton. The zone is notable for its lifestyle feel, including an adjacent Apple store and nearby high-quality coffee shops and other F&B.
The store also benefits from Galaxy being a ‘stay and play’ proposition, Keen says, replete with world-class entertainment; the 8,000sq m Skytop Wave Pool and the Skytop Adventure Rapids; ten 3-D cinemas; more than 120 restaurants; and Galaxy Kids, a fantastic array of dedicated experiences for kids and parents. “You get a lot of families coming with stay and pay packages, or just staying on the property for three to four days,” he notes.
“When we pitched brands, we insisted on a point of differentiation,” recalls Blain. “We wanted a new store that was very lively and interactive from start to finish. As a result, we have very relevant brand offers peppered throughout the store.”
None cooler perhaps than Swiss luxury beauty house Valmont, a collaboration which has resulted in Macau’s first La Maison Valmont. Based on the house’s ethos of ‘When Art Meets Beauty’, La Maison Valmont – founded by Sophie and Didier Guillon and renowned for its upscale anti-aging cosmetics and fragrances – offers a refined, luxurious and serene retail space.
Staying true to the company’s artistic mantra, La Maison Valmont features artworks created and collected by Didier Guillon, President & Artistic Director of Valmont Group and Foundation Valmont. The interior décor is dominated by gold and white – the familiar Valmont colours – together with DNA, the brand’s signature element. Guests can also enjoy luxurious treatments in La Maison Valmont’s two private treatment rooms.
“Bringing in such exclusive brands and concepts to the Macau travel retail network was important for DFS,” says Blain. “We want to continue to surprise and delight our customers by including elements that they would not be able to find anywhere else within this TR network.”
Examples of such elements abound across The Beauty Collective, the fragrance alley and the skincare, makeup and haircare offers found throughout the store. High-flying Augustinus Bader is exclusive to DFS in Macau, while luxury Swiss cellular skincare line Swiss Perfection is another hot new addition. A Beauty Concierge is also on hand to offer personalised service and advice.
Besides a heavy concentration of Gen Z and Millennial consumers, Galaxy’s upscale visitor profile also translates into plenty of high-spending shoppers, references Blain, citing the success of high-end luxury skincare brands such as La Prairie and Helena Rubinstein. Four private treatment rooms (two from Valmont, one from La Prairie and one from DFS) round out the offer, elevating the skincare shopping experience with clinical and aesthetic treatments.
As we walk through the store, a young woman is rehearsing for a livestream presentation later in the day. But she’s no outside professional – rather than drawing on outside resources, DFS has encouraged its own staff to lead the sessions.
“We have a pool of presenters who are all very passionate,” observes Blain. “They are an evolved BA who appeals to customers whether online or in-store.” Brands also bring in their own KOLs to deploy the platform, which not only showcases new products but also provides engaging in-store entertainment.
A Meitu Magic Mirror also resides within the store path to allow consumers to visualise their desired make up colours applied in a true to life manner to their face as if they were standing in front of a mirror to supplement the additional branded digital elements found throughout the different counters.
“We wanted to ensure a fully immersive experience for our customers beyond just the expected,” Blain comments, pointing out that younger consumers won’t necessarily be drawn by the blockbuster beauty brands so DFS must give them other reasons to enter.
For Gen Z consumers, it’s all about highlighting new brands and hot trends such as clean beauty and niche fragrances. “DFS wants to be best in class,” says Blain as we reach The Beauty Collective and the fragrance zone. “The expression of this area is unique in Macau in that you have efficient and consistent counters.”
The Beauty Collective includes a diverse array of emerging brands in fast-developing categories such as haircare and clean beauty. The average price point is just US$65 but in unit terms the area is booming. “Basically, this area appeals to the younger customer base shopping in Galaxy,” he says. A quick glance around the store on a busy Saturday afternoon confirms that view.
With this approach to merchandising for these collective of brands, we can react to customer needs as fast as trends change, Keen comments, “This is really working well for us and it’s also a good way for DFS to test new brands and new trends,” Keen comments about the no-frills but impactful presentation of The Beauty Collective.
Creating the wow factor
The innovation continues deep into the store to include a seating area where shoppers – or more likely their partners – can relax for a while. “I wasn’t as receptive in the beginning as I am now to the idea of having such a space dedicated for dwell time,” says Blain.
“We are delighted that all of these brands partnered with DFS to raise the bar in this Galaxy store,” Blain concludes. “We were deliberate with each brand partner and with every nook and corner of the store to create an environment that stands out in the eyes of our customers.” In terms of product offer, environment, service and digitalisation, the store certainly lives up to that billing. The DFS star is shining brightly in this vast and dazzling Galaxy.