More in store for Mecca

MeccaCosmetics chain in expansion mode focusing on larger format stores and more niche catgories.

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Mecca Cosmetica is in expansion mode, opening 14 stores in 2014, including a new look flagship, and 10 new stores on the way this year across all three store concepts – Mecca Cosmetica, Mecca Maxima, and Kit Cosmetics.

Mecca has a total of 58 stores in Australia and four in New Zealand, and operates three store formats, which include 36 Mecca Cosmetica stores, 18 Mecca Maxima stores, and eight Kit Cosmetic stores, the latter of which are mainly located within Myer stores.

The beauty chain was started by former L’Oréal Paris executive, Jo Horgan, in 1997 with a single Mecca Cosmetic store. In 2005, she launched Kit Cosmetics, followed by a larger beauty concept, Mecca Maxima, in 2010.

Last year, Mecca Cosmetica opened a new flagship on Toorak Rd in Melbourne. At 200sqm, double the average footprint of a Mecca Cosmetica store, the flagship features an instore fragrance room; Mecca Trove, a dedicated area for up and coming beauty brands; and an adjoining standalone Nars boutique, the first bricks and mortar presence for the international cosmetic brand in Australia.

Horgan told Inside Retail PREMIUM Mecca is now focused on rolling out larger format Mecca Cosmetica stores in Australia that feature elements of the flagship, including a larger focus on fragrances and niche categories.

She is also looking at replicating a similar concept in Sydney, to include a Nars boutique.

“We see there being an opportunity to promote fragrances in the same way [as the flagship] in additional doors. The Nars boutique has been very successful and we’re looking at replicating that in Sydney,” Horgan said.

“We also think there’s still a lot of opportunity for Mecca Cosmetica in high street around the country. The other key focus we have is with Mecca Maxima – we currently have 18 doors and we’re looking to roll that out further, predominantly in shopping centres, over the next 12 to 24 months.”

Mecca Trove goes back to the origins on the Mecca brand, introducing new and niche brands to the Australian market. Mecca Trove features 10 “under the radar brands” as described by Hogan, in an effort to promote independent labels. Mecca Trove has so far been rolled out to 10 stores and online.

Horgan says Mecca’s expansion remains centred on Australia and New Zealand, with a target of around 90 stores in total.

“We think there’s a lot of opportunities in Australia and New Zealand without actually moving into other markets. We would like to maximise these markets and do them well before even contemplating what we will do next,” Horgan said.

“We originally wanted to get to 10 stores, then we wanted 20, then we thought, ‘maybe we can get to 40?’. Currently it’s 62 and we look at it and say, ‘can we look at expanding that out to 90 stores in Australia and New Zealand?’ And that’s the next goal for us over time.”

Mecca launched online in 2001 and last year overhauled its website, which Horgan says is now being used by customers as more of a research tool than a platform for transactions.

New website’s features include a loyalty program The Beauty Loop, which has more than 400,000 customers; a greater emphasis on editorial content; and electronic gift cards. Click and collect is a service Mecca is considering.

“We believe that if you make it much more content rich and much more interactive, customers visit it more often and use it as a research tool.

“Interestingly, it drives customers into stores and we have really seen that. I think it’s making customers much more informed on products, trends, and categories before they even turn up into the store and I think that’s because they get to enjoy it more.

“There’s an enormous amount of innovation that has been put in or about to be put in from electronic gift cards through to much more visual representations of each shade and ingredients of the product and how to use to it.

“We’re also really focused on delivery, 98 per cent of orders are same day ship.”

In March, it introduced cosmetic brand, Urban Decay, in Mecca Maxima stores and online. Horgan says the launch of Urban Decay was driven by social media.

“In the months leading up to the launch, [social media] showed us where the customers were going to shop and what the demand was going to be. It helped with our staffing, our stock, and we knew that we needed crowd control because we had 3000 people lining up at the morning of launch. We’re actually now using social to really dig into what categories the customers are more interested in,” Horgan said.

“Social media is changing the way that we can connect with our customers, interact with our customers, and understand what they want. It really did change the way we launched Urban Decay. Customers are getting to be much more in the centre of the conversations in retail, they’re in charge and I think that’s fantastic.”

This story first appeared in Inside Retail PREMIUM issue 2045. To subscribe, click here.

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