About two weeks ago, news broke that Amorepacific USA got a new leader in Jessica Hanson, who was hired as President and General Manager of US operations. As with any leadership change, I anticipate she will try to make her mark on the business as she navigates the choppy waters of retail and department store distribution and rides the wave of the K-Beauty trend in the US. Here are 4 things that I think she should do in order to take Amorepacific to the next level.
1. Double down on digital and e-Commerce
Amorepacific and Sulwhasoo are both luxury brands that are mostly carried at department stores like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, etc. It's no secret that department stores are under a lot of duress as consumers shift their buying habits online and to speciality stores like Sephora.
Amorepacific and Sulwhasoo can and should do a lot more to improve some basics in digital to make purchasing a much more aspirational and luxury experience given their price points. It looks to me as though they use the same e-Commerce template across Amorepacific, Sulwhasoo, and Laneige, which makes economical sense but doesn't make sense for three such different brands that need to offer distinct digital experiences.
Innisfree, however, took a different approach and I know this launch was highly scrutinized at the company. They decided to educate and play up the brand story as the first touch point on their website and bigger, bolder images.
With retail in an era of digital transformation, I think it will be vital for Amorepacific to invest in their online experience.
2. Bring content production in-house
If Amorepacific is outsourcing it's content production for platforms like Instagram, they need to immediately bring this in-house. Visual platforms like Instagram are critical for beauty brands and I believe these roles need to be brought into the company in order to have a team 100% dedicated to the visual branding, tone of voice, and community building. I've been following Amorepacific on Instagram and some of their content seems to miss the target in terms of what I believe they are trying to achieve.
Having a team that is part of the Amorepacific brand and company will give them much more control and transparency over what content works and what doesn't.
3. Open a Flagship Store for Amorepacific and Sulwhasoo Brands
I know I said that retail is having a bit of a crisis but luxury brands like Amorepacific and Sulwahsoo still need an offline experience. I think that being part of a department store doesn't do justice to the legacy and history of these brands. If you've been to the flagship Sulwhasoo store in Seoul, you'll know just how amazing of an experience it is to visit and shop this store. You feel that the brand is special and uber luxe the minute you step into the store. Unfortunately, that experience isn't translated when you're shopping at a department store with sales people competing over you.
I think Amorepacific would do really well to open 1 store for each Amorepacific and Sulwhasoo to better communicate just how special these brands are to the American consumer. Given the success of Innisfree's retail shop, I think this would be a logical next step for the company.
4. Bring over more mass brands
Amorepacific is the biggest Korean conglomerate and has a ton more brands than the 4 currently in the US. Laneige is a brand with much more mass appeal than Amorepacific and Sulwhasoo and recently Innisfree just launched as the company decided it was the right time for this brand to enter the US market. However, I think Amorepacific should bring over more of its other brands - Etude House and IOPE come to mind as two brands that would do well in the US. Amorepacific and Sulwhasoo are great brands but given their price points, the company would do well to bring over brands at more accessible price points to reach a wider audience.
Do you have thoughts on what Amorepacific is doing well or should change in order to do better? If so, write a note in the comments below!