Yves Rocher Kicks Off Store Expansion in Expanded Markets

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By Patricia Viscount

Building on their success in Quebec, Yves Rocher is continuing to expand into Ontario, specifically, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). And they’re seeking very specific locations. Yves Rocher’s brand experience is focused around customized service for the individual customer; they offer skin analysis and recommend beauty routines and specific products based on their analysis. Because they value this personal connection, they are sourcing smaller stores, with a more familiar atmosphere.

“We’re looking at small stores, which is pretty unusual for the Canadian market,” says Nathalia Del Moral Fleury, General Manager of Yves Rocher North America. “With a total of about 500 square feet, we want 300 of that to be sales floor. It’s very small but we’re looking for that cosy feeling, to be close to the client and serving them at our best, one at a time.”

Yves Rocher already has ten stores in Ontario but plan to open at a rate of three to five stores per year. They want to be located in convenient areas, like malls (their CF Toronto Eaton Centre location was recently renovated), to be easily accessible to as many people as possible. Not just in physical location but also online.

CF Toronto Eaton Centre Location. Photo: Craig Patterson

CF Toronto Eaton Centre Location. Photo: Craig Patterson

In order to reach all of their Ontario market, they’re investing a lot to boost their digital platforms to improve service to online shoppers. The company’s lack of sophistication online has been a source of frustration for customers since the explosion of e-commerce in Canada.

“We have a large group of loyal customers who have been with us for many years,” says Nathalia. “But we also have new consumers who are more comfortable buying online. We’re in the process of developing our digital tools so they are at the level of service our (customers) are expecting.”

Accessibility also matters in the cost of the product.

Affordability was one of the key elements of Yves Rocher’s vision when he began the company in 1959. And that has continued now that his grandson, Bris, is at the helm. They strive to keep the lowest price possible, where the quality and price ratio is optimum.

CF Toronto Eaton Centre Location. Photo: Craig Patterson

CF Toronto Eaton Centre Location. Photo: Craig Patterson

CF Toronto Eaton Centre Location. Photo: Craig Patterson

CF Toronto Eaton Centre Location. Photo: Craig Patterson

“This often plays against us, because they see the price and question the quality,” says Nathalia. “But Yves Rocher really wanted to keep it accessible to everyone.”

You can credit the affordable price to the fact they’ve been developing natural beauty products for 60 years, so they know how to do it more efficiently than most. But another reason is the Rocher Group is in charge of the whole value chain process - from planting the seeds to delivering the cream to their 30 million customers worldwide.

As botanist, harvester, manufacturer and distributor, Yves Rocher is the only global cosmetics brand to control the entire life cycle of its products. Thirty-three per cent of their products’ ingredients are grown in La Gacilly, France. Carefully vetted suppliers grow their exotic ingredients (aloe vera, alphoia and shea butter, for example) in tropical parts of the world. The ingredients are shipped to the factory in La Gacilly for production.

This control allows them to lower their environmental impact and offer every woman quality products at an affordable price.

CF Toronto Eaton Centre Location. Photo: Craig Patterson

CF Toronto Eaton Centre Location. Photo: Craig Patterson

CF Toronto Eaton Centre Location. Photo: Craig Patterson

CF Toronto Eaton Centre Location. Photo: Craig Patterson

CF Toronto Eaton Centre Location. Photo: Craig Patterson

CF Toronto Eaton Centre Location. Photo: Craig Patterson

As the creator of the first botanical beauty brand, Yves Rocher was a visionary who was inspired by nature. He believed natural ingredients were essential components of his products and because of that, he also felt a need to protect and safeguard the land it came from.

Over the last 5 years, with the plethora of natural products entering the beauty market, Yves Rocher needed to differentiate themselves from their competition. They’ve spent much of that time refocusing on their brand and have released two new product lines this year – a 100% hydration line and a detox/anti-aging line.

“The reason I do this job – I work at a place where we’re changing things one transaction at a time,” says Nathalia. “Every one of our products is created to be responsible and respectful of the planet and for women. I want more Canadian women to buy Yves Rocher products because of that. I believe I’m making a difference.”

Because of their fairly aggressive growth plans, which are coupled with their specific need to find small spaces, Yves Rocher has partnered with Manon Parisien, a Real Estate Broker with Aurora Realty Consultants Inc., based in Montreal. The store design is done in Paris by Rocher Group.

Patricia Viscount lives in Calgary and has over 25 years of experience as a communications specialist, writer and editor. She began her career as a public affairs officer in the Canadian Forces before transitioning to a senior advisor role in the energy industry. Self-employed since 2016, she helps her clients navigate the stressful world of words to allow them to build business messages with confidence and clarity. Follow her on Twitter @PViscount, LinkedIn at Patricia Viscount or email her at: patricia.viscount@gmail.com.

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