Being a fan of the brand you market certainly helps – just ask McArthurGlen’s director of marketing operations, Isabelle Ratinaud.
Not everyone can say they’ve landed their dream job, but McArthurGlen’s director of marketing operations, Isabelle Ratinaud, who joined the company last June is one of the lucky few.
“Before I knew I would work here, I’ve already been a McArthurGlen shopper for the past 15 years – I’ve been to eight outlets and even frequented one at least seven times! So when they came up with the position, I knew it was for me.
“In fact, I think my husband was the happiest, because he loves shopping just as much as I do,” quipped Ratinaud who comes with travel, retail and e-commerce experience.
Cultivated Rich Asians
“There is now less difference in shopping behaviour between our Asian and European guests. Essentially, everyone wants to find the brand and item that makes them feel special.”
While Asians used to prefer classic European brands such as Prada, Gucci and Bottega Veneta, she observes that they now gravitate towards brands that are lesserknown and hard to find as more of them travel frequently to Europe
In response, she and her team introduced pop-up stores at the outlets featuring new designers “who may not even have their own stores” to keep things fresh.
Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines are source markets the company is also interested in expanding, she revealed.
To reach out to more customers, Ratinaud is developing several marketing campaigns themed around fashion seasons – think Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer – Fashion Week in Paris, Milan and London, as well as big occasions such as Lunar New Year and Autumn Festival.
Staying relevant with new experiences
Within the outlets, changes are also taking place rapidly as luxury consumer preferences evolve.
Even as new outlets open in quick succession – the Group added 85,000 sq m of new retail space last year – existing ones are being redeveloped to offer an updated shopping experience with food & beverage being a key focus.
“Tourists want to experience local products when they come to our outlets. We’re lucky we are in countries with amazing food but we also want to work with local suppliers to ensure we bring in plenty of innovative and authentic
cuisine for our consumers.”
Over the next year, 20 new F&B concepts will be introduced to the portfolio, according to Ratinaud.
Outlets will also incorporate a distinct sense of place as shopping is now seen as a highly social experience instead of being merely functional.
Putting it simply, “you shop with friends and family and you share these experiences on social media. You want a beautiful environment where you can shop beautiful brands, while having a glass or a lovely meal,” said Ratinaud.
The latest outlet in Provence is a perfect example. “Not only does it look just like a southern France village with beautiful reproductions of local houses, it smells like one (you can detect whiffs of lavender). The experience is very pleasurable.”
It’s the reason why the outlet is one of her favourites, although the French-born marketer admits it might also have to do with her penchant for shopping.
“It has really fantastic brands. I find it hard to go there each time without buying something.”