Wpis dostępny jest także w języku: polski
Of all parts of cosmetics retail, the perfume segment has been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic and its restrictions. Sales are expected to shrink this year. Perfumeries have had to adapt more than others. So how has Perfumeria Quality Missala, Poland’s oldest specialty retailer of niche and exclusive perfume products, been coping? PMR talks to Michal Missala, its co-founder.
Customers keep buying online
In its efforts to control the coronavirus pandemic, the Polish government ordered the closure of non-essential retail in shopping malls twice this year, first in March for nearly two months and then in November for three weeks. Stores that mostly sell perfumes and beauty products were designated as non-essential. Perfumeries had to move most, and in some cases 100%, of their sales and marketing to the online world during these periods. In-store traffic has fallen significantly this year compared with 2019. Mr Missala admits all this has been Perfumeria Quality Missala’s experience, too:
– Due to the lockdowns, social media have become our main channel of contact with customers. We have had to step up our online communications, and I think that this model will stay with us for a long time. Our e-shop saw a surge in sales in March as purchases shifted online, and it has remained very busy since – the trend continues to the present. Fewer people came to our boutiques even though some remained open during the second lockdown.
The company’s e-shop had been popular with customers, and getting more and more so, even before the pandemic struck, however: – Many of our customers buy products that they already know. In such cases, shopping online is simply convenient.
Physical stores will remain primary channel
Despite the strong rise in online sales that his company has seen this year, Mr Missala believes physical stores will remain the primary channel for perfume purchases: – Especially when it comes to choosing a new fragrance, online shopping cannot substitute for visiting a perfumery. Our e-shop does offer product samples, but it is not quite the same.
Perfumeria Quality Missala expanded its store footprint substantially in the last several years, opening boutiques e.g. in Gdansk, Lodz, or Warsaw. But then the pandemic hit. It has not opened any new locations in 2020: – The last store that we opened was in Galeria Mokotow in Warsaw in December 2019. Our plans for 2020 were upended by the pandemic. New openings are not a priority now.
Body care products still important for Perfumeria Quality Missala
In the 1990s, Perfumeria Quality Missala was primarily known as a retailer of high-end body care products. Mr Missala says this category is still important: – We continue to place a strong emphasis on body care. We believe that, with the right products, it is possible to keep your skin young and healthy. Perfumeria Quality Missala is the exclusive Polish distributor of many luxury body care brands, including e.g. Menard of Japan or Natura Bissé of Spain.
Exposure to organic trend
Organic cosmetics have been growing in popularity in Poland for several years, supported by the healthy-living megatrend and rising consumer awareness. In a recent PMR survey, natural ingredients emerged as the third most important consideration in consumers’ buying decisions, only behind an attractive price-to-quality ratio and a good fit with a person’s beauty and cosmetic needs. Perfumeria Quality Missala has been catering to that trend, too, Mr Missala says: – Gamila Secret, a line of soaps and body care oils, or Mühle, a brand of body care products for men, are examples of 100% organic products in our offer.
Chains are no competition
Perfumeria Quality Missala has always positioned itself at the luxury end of the market, focusing on artistic and niche products. As Mr Missala explains: – We made a conscious decision more than a decade ago to pull out of “mainstream luxury,” i.e. fragrances and body care products that are available in cosmetics chains.
Sales of cosmetics from the middle and high price segments have been growing in Poland, a consequence of rising disposable incomes and more conscious consumers. – I speak from many years of experience, and I can tell that interest in artistic and niche cosmetics is growing every year. There is a steadily expanding group of people who not only love such products but are highly knowledgeable about them – Mr Missala concludes.