Erik Fung from our Retail Solutions team talks to us about the trends in the current changing retail environments and how Meiyume is rapidly responding to continue to provide our customers with solutions and valuable insights.

1. Tell us a little about your role.

At Meiyume, I work in the Technical Sales Support role within the Retail Solutions team. My team works alongside our Commercial teams to find ways to help brands and customers better engage with their consumers during the shopping journey. Using a variety of tracking technology and data collection, we unearth actionable consumer insight from digital retail solutions ranging across traditional point-of-sale displays to more immersive, interactive experiences.

My team sits across multiple offices around the world. I am based out of our New York City office, while my team members are in the Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Liverpool, and Paris offices. Having colleagues in different regional offices gives us the opportunity to exchange information and gain a more well-rounded perspective of the different local markets. Between Rob (APAC), Habib (EMEA) and myself, we are a very tight-knit group that speak frequently on the ever-changing dynamics of the industry and the nuances per respective region. Working in such a globalized setting, communication and collaboration amongst us are key, whether it be sharing ideas and newest trends, or playing the devil’s advocate role between our suppliers, partners, or customers to manage expectations and minimize business risks.

Our solution offerings are segmented into 3 primary groups: Customer Journey Innovation, Store Execution, and Data Gathering. All of them are carefully developed and curated with two major factors in mind:

1 – Enrich the consumers’ shopping experience whilst being seamless

2 – Increase customers’ ROI through actionable insights

Many of our learnings have come from strong collaborative brand partnerships both regionally and globally.

2. What do you think will be the trends in retail with the current changing global environment?

Across the globe, there is extreme uncertainty with the spread of Covid-19. It has no doubt caused significant disruption to the way we have always lived and interacted. Take for example, our own experiences in the workspace. Although we have already had virtual tools that allowed us to communicate with each other remotely, they have never been fully utilized. Fast forward to today, adoption of such tools has been accelerated as many of us have been working from home.

I believe there will be a few potential trends going forward:

  • An increase in e-commerce customer service ‘live-streams’ to assist shoppers at home
  • Significant adoption in AR, leveraging mobile devices to minimize communal touching in-stores
  • Virtual shopping experience with a store associate via video calls that will allow consumers to stay safe at home
  • Single use/touchless sampling for the beauty industry
  • Complimentary PPE at the entrance of stores to minimize risks to staff and consumers; this will also prevent a potential loss in sales opportunity if a shopper does not have PPE and is turned away
  • Higher adoption of the ‘Net-a-Porter’ model; buy online and same day shipment right to your door
  • Greater adoption in the omnichannel model to meet consumer expectations

3. What are some of the retail solutions we are working on in response to the changes in shopping habits that will no doubt emerge from this global pandemic?

Great question, before we get into the solutions, I would like to give a big thanks to the entire Retail Solutions team at Meiyume as we have all been working around the clock globally to provide our customers with solutions ready for tomorrow.  It has honestly been helpful working from home these past 3 months to maximize the time I have in interacting with my colleagues as we all navigate through the impact of Covid-19 to continue to provide our customers with valuable insights and support. 

The situation with Covid-19 is uncertain and changing quickly. As a global business that is headquartered out of the APAC region, we have been managing this situation since Q1 of 2020 and responding to developments in real-time. We began brainstorming potential in-store solutions both internally and externally with our partners since the beginning of the year, ranging from some really out-of-the-box ideas to more practical ones. We have also learned a lot from how our customers in Asia have coped with the situation and are applying these learnings to help our customers in EMEA and North America as the situation evolves. Notably, the below solutions have been gaining significant interests from our customers.

Within our industry, sampling is the single most important aspect when a consumer is deciding to purchase a product or not.  Whether it’s the colour, texture, scent, or consistency, every shopper has their own preferences.  With sampling in a hygienic way in mind, we have developed various Touchless Dispensers through our rapid prototyping approach.  In order to not disrupt the existing supply chain and retail operations, our Touchless Dispensers works with off-the-shelf products and don’t require any tester product to be manufactured separately.

Aside from product tester, our portfolio also includes solutions to help brands and retailers implement safety measures to maintain the health and wellbeing of their customers and retail staff as stores slowly re-open.  Our occupancy monitor, for example, has the ability to determine whether a customer is wearing a mask, and check temperature while seamlessly providing a visual reminder for shoppers to maintain social distancing.

4. There has been a growing demand for men’s grooming in the market. Do you use any products yourself and are there any that you would recommend?

This is the first time I have been asked this question, but I will be honest.  I’m not really bothered by whether my skincare products are gender specific. Personal preference, I tend to favour the products that don’t have a strong fragrance note. 

My skincare routine is very simple. I usually wash my face with a face cleanser. Then I would put on a toner, anti-aging serum, and a moisturizing cream. Some of the products I use on a daily basis are our own Meiyume-brand face wash, Lancôme Génifique and Absolue series, Lancôme Tonique Douceur, and Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate.

With a growing trend for men’s grooming in the market, our company is moving ahead to develop more products in this area. Most recently, I helped our Turnkey team test a SPF foundation, as an example of one of our latest developments for this growing group of consumers.