SENSAI leads e-commerce strategy to accelerate brand awareness growth


SENSAI is a premium beauty brand owned by the Japanese personal care company Kao Corporation. The brand, considered one of Kao’s most prestigious names, was launched on the European market in 1983.

It only recently made its Asian debut in 2019 as part of Kao’s offer to strengthen its position in the global market.

The brand was first launched in Japan and eventually entered China through Alibaba-owned cross-border e-commerce platform Tmall Global in September 2019.

In April of this year, the company strengthened its presence in China by launching SENSAI on Hainan Island, China’s duty-free shopping mecca, to capitalize on its growing travel retail business.

As part of its plans to strengthen its foothold in China’s lucrative luxury beauty market, the company has launched a flagship store on Tmall, owned by Alibaba.

Unlike Tmall Global, Tmall requires its traders to have local entities in China and register its products with local authorities.

Launching a flagship product on a large e-commerce platform is a critical step in the company’s plans to tap into China’s luxury beauty market.

“The opening of the Tmall flagship store is an important step for the SENSAI brand. We will deeply strengthen our national approaches to e-commerce, duty free and entry into the rapidly growing Chinese premium cosmetics market ”, SENSAI chief Soichi Yamaguchi said.

In addition to Tmall’s flagship product, SENSAI is also available through an official e-commerce website for China.

The brand will use e-commerce to lead its brand development in China as part of its digital transformation (DX) business model.

Kao has seen strong e-commerce sales in China with its other cosmetic brands, including freeplus and Curél.

SENSAI is primarily available from high-end physical retailers like Harrods. However, since the pandemic, the brand has been strengthening its e-commerce channels.

In April, it announced that it had launched an official store to serve European markets, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy.

Pop-ups replace brick and mortar

Despite the strength of e-commerce, the brand recognizes that a physical retail presence is essential for a prestige beauty brand where it can offer personalized beauty consultation services.

These services are essential for building personal relationships with consumers and building brand loyalty.

The company already plans to open physical stores in China from next year.

In the meantime, the company plans to launch pop-up stores to introduce the brand and its products to new customers in person.

Its first pop-up launched at Tsutaya Bookstore in Shanghai to coincide with Tmall’s flagship launch and will run for a month. The company said it will continue to implement contextual activities as needed to deepen the bond between the brand and consumers.

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