LONDON — The Amsterdam-based Rituals Cosmetics has built a business on consumers’ needs for living in the fast lane, and learning how to sit still.
The brand, whose products are inspired by Eastern rituals and traditions, carries a range of beauty products and fragrances at accessible price points.
Chief operating officer and co-owner Arjen Schouten discussed the brand’s consumer-centric strategies, and understanding the mind-set of “slow shoppers” as well as ones that value speed and efficiency.
The company, which is 15 years old, has long been taking an omnichannel approach. “We believe we have to be extremely flexible in how we service our client because nowadays clients want everything. They want to shop anywhere, either in our stores or online, or any channel,” he said.
For logistical operations including inventory and shipping, the company has implemented a cloud system and established a new network where staff can receive product information and sales histories via mobile devices.
Thanks to the cloud, “If you see clients in-store, you know which things get picked up. You can refer to that or you can cross-sale, or upsale on the basis of that product. The idea is, using all the data that we have, we’ll try to be flexible with all the systems in place so we can always interconnect with the data and the client wherever we are, in every store, Web shop and device that we have.”
Another digital initiative is the Rituals app, which not only includes a shopping area but also a “relax” section, gifting area, store finder and a magazine. One of the most popular features of the app is the meditation area that offers fifteen different guided sessions.
“We have clients who like to go fast,” said Schouten “But we also have clients who like to go slow, so you have to offer a different solution for every client. You need to be flexible.”
The company has been notching 35 to 40 percent growth year-on-year, and has been launching approximately two stores per week. It has a total of 450 stores globally and a growing international presence with their shops-in-shops.
“We believe that if we really start to think omnichannel and start to connect some channels then we can even grow faster,” said Schouten.
Future rollout plans for the brand include opening additional stores overseas that have a loyal customer base. “We are opening up another ten stores in Manhattan this year, with flagships in Flatiron, Fifth Avenue and [One] World Trade Center,” said Schouten.
“We truly believe that in the U.S. we have to operate in a different way, it’s a very difficult market, a very competitive market, a retail graveyard, but we’re still there, we still survive. But we also know that if you’re going to make it there you have to be outstanding.
“Our dream is to build a global company in the next five to ten years with the presence of a thousand stores or a bit more,” said Schouten.
“The two channels that we think we must do more are e-commerce, as we are at 5 percent but it’s doubling every year now. So we invest heavily in that. Also in duty-free travel where we are now at 5 percent, but we want to reach 10 percent with duty-free being the ‘sixth continent.’”