Dr.Ci:Labo is the top-selling medical cosmetics brand in Japan, but has embarked on a three-year strategy to engage with digitally savvy Chinese buyers.

It recently unveiled a new online-to-offline (O2O) store concept in Haikou, at the Haikou International Duty Free Shopping Complex, with what it claims is a ‘an immersive, digitally powered shopping experience.’

At the heart of the concept is the Dr.Ci:Labo philosophy of Omotenashi​ – the Japanese philosophy of hospitality – to provide personalized skin care information and advice for every skin type.

The firm said: “Visitors to Dr.Ci:Labo’s O2O concept store are immediately welcomed into the brand universe and the spirit of Omotenashi by Dr. Shiropy, the digital personification of the brand’s founder, Dr. Shirono. On a full-height digital screen, Dr. Shiropy introduces shoppers to the mixed-reality journey, powered by a mini WeChat program accessible via an in-store QR code. Throughout the trip, AR Dr Shiropy provides help and guidance, enhancing the overall Omotenashi experience.

The WeChat Mini program also offers gamification functionality. By collecting the three key ingredients of SW377 on the game, users are eligible for a Dr. Shiropy luggage tag and they have a chance to win a full-size bottle of the product.

Considered the largest duty-free complex in the world, the site includes more than 30,000 m² of space dedicated to cosmetics and perfumes, with brands such as Shiseido, Dior and Estée Lauder.

The sprawling 280,000 sqm site was officially opened last month by China Duty Free Group (CDFG) with more than 800 international and domestic brands.

Major brands

Chanel, Dior, Estee Lauder, La Mer, Cle de Peau Beauté are among the major players to open stores, alongside 10 other Hainan-exclusive beauty brands such as Sulwhasoo, Laneige and Hera.

Notable firsts include the first spa experience in global travel retail for brands such as Guerlain and Givenchy.

In connection with the Dr.Ci: Lab Store, ​Michelle Tong, Regional Business Development Manager Travel Retail, said: “Hainan is a strategic market in our three-year expansion plan to engage with digital-savvy Chinese buyers. Expanding our physical brand footprint with an O2O concept is a natural step for us in partnership with China Duty Free Group, whose ambition and vision for future retail experiences closely aligns with the digital vision of Dr.Ci:Lab.

“By leveraging technology, we are providing shoppers with a revolutionary retail experience while delivering our Omotenashi skincare and clinical skincare seamlessly, combining the best of the online world – ease, convenience, digital engagement – with the power of the offline, physical world.”

As is common in the chain, the store offers a number of travel retail-exclusive products, including a number of CDFG-exclusive gift sets. These are led by the cult 377 range – comprising bundled sets, alongside TREX products from the Brightening Series, Regimen Sets and Anti-Aging Sets, including the iconic ACG Enrich Lift EX.