According to data recently-released by Alibaba-owned department store chain, Intime, global beauty brands La Mer, Lancôme and Estée Lauder, each surpassed 100 million yuan ($15.5 million ) in 2020 sales through its over-the-counter and “ship-from-counter” sales online, Alizila, Alibaba’s online news hub, has reported.
The department store chain has seen a much-feted turnaround in its fortunes since it was taken private by Alibaba in a $2.6 billion deal back in 2017. The digital upgrades made to Intime’s 65 store since then, as well as the growth and development of its own Miaojie app, placed it in particularly good stead to weather store closures as coronavirus hit China at the beginning of 2020.
With stores closed, and later, with stores re-opened but people hesitant to return to in-person shopping in the months after the worst of the pandemic had passed in China, Intime famously encouraged its sales assistant staff to become livestreamers, recommending and selling products via Alibaba platform Taobao Live.
For La Mer’s beauty counter at Intime’s Hangzhou flagship location, 50 percent of its 2020 sales were online through Miaojie, contributing to an overall 200 percent increase in the brand’s overall performance.
“We were lucky to come out on top of this crisis thanks to years of digital innovation and transformation,” said Yan Xuekun, Intime CTO. “At Alibaba, we always say believing is seeing instead of the other way around. For Intime, everyone from CEO to store staff embraced digitisation very early on, when few believed in the power of new retail.”