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Bonjour to embrace digital technologies, live streaming to return to profit

Bonjour, the Hong Kong-headquartered beauty retailer, says it plans to reduce its reliance on brick-and-mortar stores and focus on developing e-commerce and in-store digitalisation.

It will modify some of its existing stores adding technology that it anticipates will attract and engage customers and create a better shopping experience while also improving operational efficiency.

The plans were revealed by chairman and executive director Chen Jianwen along with the company’s results for the half year to June 30, which included a loss attributable to shareholders of US$17.93 million on sales down 59.7 per cent to $42.93 million. The decline was due to the borders being all but closed to foreigners due to the Covid-19 pandemic, including the ranks of mainlanders who traditionally head to the territory for shopping.

Chen said the company has responded to the absence of tourist spending by diversifying its product portfolio to appeal more to local consumers. 

But the main focus moving forward is on transforming from a traditional retail model to New Retail, he said.

“Digitalisation of the operating system and business model [will] help the group to better understand customers’ needs and wants and build a long-term relationship with the customers. Starting with training [our] frontline staff to broadcast product information online, the group will grasp the market opportunity and further develop the e-commerce platforms.”

Already, frontline Bonjour staff are being trained in live-streaming skills to become influencers and interact with customers online. 

“At the same time, the group has also established its foothold at major online platforms spanning across 16 countries, including ShopShops, Tmall Global, Kaola.com, JD, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and Haitao.com, as well as establishing a WeChat store to connect with VIP users,” said Chen.

In stores, the company is embracing digital transformation, backed by a new retail innovation centre with a broadcast studio and testing self-service equipment, planned for launch into physical stores soon.

In the future, customers will be able to scan the QR code of a product to learn information before they make a purchase and self-service kiosks will be installed at physical stores so that customers can check out by themselves.

“With the rise of augmented reality and virtual reality, the group will keep an open mind to embrace new technology that helps customers to virtually try the products on which to help them to explore the most suitable products,” said Chen.

Meanwhile, Bonjour will continue to review its store network, closing underperforming outlets and negotiating rent discounts with landlords.


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