Priceline's Promise: "staying on-trend, relevance & discovery"

Priceline Pharmacy General Manager, Tamalin Morton talks prestige, partnerships and putting customers first

Priceline Pharmacy has spent the last decade polishing its cred as a beauty powerhouse. Australia’s leading beauty and health retailer inaugurated the Beauty Prescription LIVE event in early 2016 and the now twice-yearly showcase has become one of the hottest tickets in town for media to experience the company’s latest health and beauty launches in a buzzy and stimulating environment. It was amidst this ‘discovery & experiential’ atmosphere that Tamalin Morton, General Manager of Priceline Pharmacy sat down with esprit to share the company’s forward plans.

One of our major goals is always to be at the forefront of on-trend beauty and to offer relevant, innovative and often exclusive products that excite our customers, she says. With nearly 20 years’ experience in leading consumer-driven businesses, Morton joined Priceline Pharmacy in October 2017. Tapped as a major boost to the company’s management team by CEO Richard Vincent, she honed her leadership skills in senior roles in Australia and overseas across household name organisations such as Bass plc (UK), Coles, Kathmandu and most recently as Chief Operating Officer at Spotlight Retail Group. With her experience in strategy and planning, brand management, operations, sales and marketing, Morton’s remit is to drive Priceline Pharmacy’s continued growth and success.

Key Beauty Sales Stats/ Fastest Growing Brands

One of the most anticipated insights at the recent Beauty Prescription LIVE event, held at Randwick Racecourse on September 20th, was the key takeaways on growth categories and bestsellers. Among the 5300 cosmetic products stocked at Priceline Pharmacy, Coty-owned Bourjois enjoyed growth of 52 per cent, thanks to extended distribution. Over the past year, Kiwi correction brand, Thin Lizzy, saw a spike of 54 per cent. Skincare is also a critical category with 2140 products ranged in stores. The top three brands showcasing the most uplift are: Antipodes (+92%), L’Oreal-owned La Roche-Posay (+72%) and Avène, also a leading French dermo-cosmetic brand, at +60 per cent. A pack of facial wipes is sold every 19 seconds across the Priceline Pharmacy network. Bondi Sands has become a major success for us, says Morton, and the brand’s 1 Hour Express Foam has become the number 8 bestseller overall. Haircare is a big focus with 1500 hair products lining Priceline shelves. Dry shampoos have become a tearaway hit with sales of 19,000 per week. The popularity of Violet Blonde Shampoo has soared to become the number 10 best-selling product overall, while men’s haircare revenues have boomed by 56 per cent. Mass and class are twin drivers in fragrances as Priceline customers look for individuality. The top three brands racking up the most growth are Estée Lauder with classics such as White Linen and Beautiful, Jimmy Choo and Coach. Kate Spade Live Colourfully and Walk on Air debuted at Priceline in September to join the 700 fragrances already on offer.

Prestige Plans/ Staying On-Trend

Priceline plans to keep up the momentum to court “beauty enthusiasts”, says Morton. “Our stores are fun and have become playgrounds for a more experiential feel. We will be moving strongly into prestige because premium beauty accounts for 50 per cent of the market. In August, the Napoleon Perdis brand rolled out to 176 stores and will be available in over 240 stores by the end of October. There will be 60 products exclusive to Priceline in skincare and makeup to emphasise a clear point-ofdifference. Convenience-minded women seek out beauty in more places these days and we will be adding more upscale brands to the mix to prove that Priceline really knows how to develop prestige brands”. Priceline Pharmacy is keenly watching international retailers such as Ulta Beauty, the number one specialist beauty chain in the US, which has stormed the American beauty scene by carrying exclusive and more upscale brands than a drugstore in an environment that feels more accessible than department stores. We are constantly on the lookout for new trends, says Morton. “Customers approach buying beauty products as more of a treasure hunt these days and they are looking for a greater selection of niche, under-theradar brands which give them a sense of individuality. We keep up with the latest and greatest around the world through regular trips to Asia, Europe and the US. Even with changing shopping patterns, the right strategies and products can get people to spend on indulgences when they are enticing enough”.

Outstanding Loyalty Program/ 650-Strong Beauty Advisor Team

Another pillar of Priceline’s success is the Sister Club loyalty program. We have 7 million members, says Morton, which is staggering considering Australia’s total population. “They are high value consumers who have a higher frequency of purchases and account for 50 per cent of non-dispensary sales. We are driving greater performance through the revamped rewards features to deepen loyalty with existing and new customers and investing more in personalised offers based on data and purchasing frequency. There is a wide variety of rewards from events, advice, gifting, special offers and more to fuel continued interest”. Priceline’s beauty advisors not only support growth through converting sales, they have also built up a formidable reputation as brand ambassadors. “We have 650 BAs across the national network They are brand agnostic and we provide constant training updates. In addition to enhancing the customer experience, they are a major reason Priceline attracts emerging brands. Their expertise really resonates with customers and we also have an online booking system for added convenience and to meet demand”.

Exclusives/ Male Grooming Destination

Exclusives are high on Priceline’s radar as the beauty market at all price levels becomes fiercely competitive. “We have established wonderful partnerships to have the right brands in place, says Morton. “Earlier this year we debuted Andalou Naturals, America’s number one natural skincare brand. The Ordinary has become a major hit because of its high-tech products and affordable price points. Bondi Sands has not only become a leading tanning brand, its major SKUs are overall bestsellers”. Major cut-through has also been achieved in positioning Priceline as an accessible male grooming destination. Last year, the company launched a campaign encouraging women to buy grooming products for the men in their lives. The initiative has paid off, says Morton. “We have seen spectacular growth in men’s haircare and skincare as women have stepped up their buying for their husbands, partners and sons”.

Health Expert/Giving Back

Priceline’s new store format, together with its digital strategy to facilitate better customer communication across channels and renewed emphasis on instore availability have kept the company’s growth plan on track. In 2015, it launched digital health stations and announced earlier in the year that a target of one million health checks had been reached across five physical parameters in 200 locations – height and weight for BMI, blood pressure, heart rate and body fat percentage. Customers have been very enthusiastic about checking their health when they are shopping for health and beauty products, adds Morton. “We stock over 1000 vitamins and supplements. The three brands with the most growth are: BioCeuticals (+87%) – (a practitioner brand), Swisse (+36%) and Blackmores (+21%). Priceline Pharmacy sells one Swisse vitamin product every 35 seconds. As the lines between health and beauty blur because people are leading healthier lifestyles, ingestibles and health supplements will become an increasingly important category”. According to Roy Morgan Research, pharmacies have attracted more cosmetics customers than any other kind of store over the past decade. The percentage of beauty products sold in pharmacies has increased from 15.1 per cent to 19.1 per cent, one of the highest rates in the world. Nearly one in five women made their last cosmetics purchase in a pharmacy, reveals the researcher, and in the first six months of 2017, 840,000 Australian women made their last makeup purchase in a Priceline store. Giving back has become increasingly important in looking after customers on their life journey. Dementia Australia is a charity partner of the Priceline Sisterhood Foundation and Priceline Pharmacy is becoming a certified Dementia Friendly retailer. The company trained its pharmacists during September in how to make their stores more Dementia-Friendly and the changes will begin to roll out through October. “We are very focused on enhanced customer understanding and building on that capability in every aspect of their lives”, says Morton.

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