Kiehl’s goes beyond brick and mortar and enters the online shopping arena

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By Zsarlene B. Chua

AMERICAN SKINCARE brand, Kiehl’s has finally ventured into the realm of Philippine online shopping as the brand made its debut on the online beauty portal, BeautyMNL on Nov. 9.

“What has really helped us stay relevant and modern in the business landscape today is that Kiehl’s has always moved with the times. The pitfall of any brand is staying stagnant and not reaching out to new customers,” Joan Hwang, Kiehl’s Philippines product manager told BusinessWorld in an e-mail interview on Nov. 5.

She added that while the brand is present in 14 locations in Metro Manila in Cebu, they noticed “a huge potential for a new customer base outside of the Metro Manila and Cebu” in places like Cagayan de Oro and Ilocos and that’s what prompted it to sell its products online through BeautyMNL which has a “nationwide reach.”

BeautyMNL is arguably one of the biggest online beauty retailers in the country as it is said to offer “more than 800 brands and 15,000 products,” according to its website.

“As with all distribution channels, we select our product offering based on the profile of the customers in the specific channel. In BeautyMNL, we will be carrying a more curated selection specific for the online shopper which are our customer favorites, Kiehl’s cult classics, and more size options,” Ms. Hwang said.

A cursory inspection on Kiehl’s page on the site showed it is currently offering more than 50 products from its catalog and the spread includes best-sellers like the Midnight Recovery Concentrate and includes the newly launched Ginger Leaf & Hibiscus Firming Mask.

Despite the availability of online shops, Kiehl’s took its time before going online and Ms. Hwang said it was due to the brand’s complimentary consultation service and as such, it needs the customers to be physically inside a store for Kiehl’s staff to recommend products tailored for their skin type and concern.

“In the past, we have always believed that in order to provide the most personalized service, the customer has to be present physically in the store for a consultation. But nowadays, with the internet at our fingertips, customers have become more educated — researching products before going to the store or purchasing them online,” she explained.

And now that they are online, Ms. Hwang is confident that this move will prove successful as Kiehl’s goal is “for our e-commerce business to be as large as our flagship store in the Philippines, Greenbelt 5.”