The brand that US beauty junkies love is coming to France. Elise Ducret, director of Nyx Professional Makeup France, talks us through her strategy as she works to meet the expectations of French fans and win over some new followers.
An e-commerce launch
“Until June 2015, Nyx Professional Makeup’s only presence in France was through an offshoot of the US e-commerce website”, begins Elise. Since the site was no longer up to Nyx Professional Makeup’s new ambitions, it was shut down and the French e-commerce website was overhauled and reopened in November 2015. “We rethought the site from every angle to make it more user-friendly and enhance the shopping experience” she explains. The closure, which lasted several months, generated huge anticipation and interest among consumers. “The site opening had something of an iPhone launch about it. Some customers told us they felt light-headed”, smiles Elise.
“We had over 44,000 visitors in the first week”
To ramp up the buzz even more, Nyx Professional Makeup relied on the same women who built its success in the USA – social media influencers. They were told about the opening a week ahead of time and although they didn’t know the exact date, they fuelled anticipation among their fans. The site reopened on 19 November. Bloggers got the go-ahead to publish the news at 9:00 am, two hours before the company made its official announcement. What were the results? “We had over 44,000 visitors in the first week, averaging seven minutes on the site, and we sold 6,200 products. Some sold out in a flash, including our soft matte lip cream.” To nurture the brand’s personalised relationship with its fans, the Nyx Professional Makeup France team sent out 3,000 signed thank-you cards to the site’s first clients.
A pyramid-shaped digital strategy
“If I had to draw our digital strategy, it would look like a pyramid”, says Elise. On social media, Nyx Professional Makeup starts by reaching out to the best-known French influencers, such as superstar Sananas, who boast over a million followers on their Instagram and/or Twitter accounts. They are at the top of the pyramid. The problem is that they are often paid by brands to talk about their products. But Nyx Professional Makeup does not pay its influencers, instead boosting their reputation by getting their names out on social media and at shows covering the latest fashion trends, such as Comic Con or esthétique & Spa . “We invite the best-known French influencers to major international events, getting them behind the scenes with Nyx Professional Makeup. For example, in January, we invited Sananas to come to our US headquarters, where she got the opportunity to meet with American influencers.” If the top of the pyramid is made up of 15 or so celebrity influencers that the brands fight over, some 100 mid-size influencers with tens or even several hundreds of thousands of followers fill out the middle. “They are our core target. They want to increase their visibility and we offer them the chance to do so. Where other brands merely send them a few samples, we spoil them, providing them with complete product ranges to try out. We ask them to come along and take part in our stands and post their videos on our social media.” The base of the pyramid is made up of the influencers’ fans. They are the end consumers who decide whether a product succeeds by adding it to their shopping baskets. “Their ‘Likes’ and ‘Don’t likes’ ultimately guide our web strategy.”
“We are a youthful, human brand with close ties to our consumers”
To bring together its already sizable community – it has built up more than 112,000 followers on Instagram in a few months – Nyx Professional Makeup France is doing what works in the USA and regularly invites fans and influencers to breakfasts and other informal meet-ups. “We are a youthful, human brand with close ties to our consumers. We want to do our utmost to preserve this “tribal” quality, which has supported our stateside success.” Nyx Professional Makeup France has also decided to replicate the model of the LA-based Face Awards, staging a similar event in Paris in March to find the year’s top beauty vlogger.
Toulouse to welcome the first Nyx Professional Makeup store
But Nyx Professional Makeup is not only engaged in a digital rollout. The brand is planning to open a network of bricks and mortar stores, starting in Toulouse, this Thursday, 21st of April. “Toulouse is a lively, student town where we have lots of known influencers. It is also home to plenty of beauty schools.” With its catalogue of more than 1,800 affordable professional grade products, Nyx Professional Makeup wants to attract “makeup junkies” – beauty fans typically aged between 15 and 34, with a concentration in the 15-24 bracket. The brand is looking to compete with brands such as Kiko and Mac that are already well established in France.
In-store, though, Nyx Professional Makeup is not forgetting its digital DNA. Like the recently-opened stores in the USA, Spain and Italy, the French stores will be digitally enabled so shoppers can enjoy a total makeup experience, including beauty stations, tutorials and real-time Instagram feeds projected on a digital community wall. Elise is counting on the influencers to create a buzz around the openings. “We are going to bring in two of the country’s top influencers for the inauguration”, she explains. And for fans, gift packs will be on offer for the first 200 customers.
As it gradually opens up its stores, Nyx Professional Makeup will also travel the country in 2016, meeting with beauty schools to spread the word about its products to specialists. This will enhance the brand’s reputation still further, while it establishes its physical distribution network in France and contemplates possible partnerships with French distributors.