Ajmal to craft memories on the global stage


December 20, 2014 | By RetailME Bureau

The homegrown perfume brand is looking for locations in western markets to expand its footprint, the target being to double its store count over the next five years.

Ajmal has been a household name among GCC nationals for over 60 years. The UAE-based perfume retailer has a 151 store footprint in 8 markets, including the GCC, Malaysia and Thailand, with a distribution network covering 30 markets worldwide. The brand is now looking to expand to western markets, starting with the fashion capitals of Europe and North America.

“We are evaluating options for our market entry into Europe and North America and scouting for locations. We hope to open stores in London and Paris by 2016. In five years, we aim to be present in every important city in the world, especially fashion capitals, and double the number of our stores worldwide,” says Abdulla Ajmal, general manager, Ajmal Perfumes.

The company’s expansion strategy reflects its evolution from local to global and the diversification of its customer base. Today, Ajmal offers a variety of products to suit the taste of global consumers at affordable prices, although its core customer base is still predominantly Arab and GCC nationals.

“We saw our customer base expanding from the time we started experimenting with and introducing western style fragrances. Some of our Dubai stores are now as popular with expatriates, particularly Asians, as they are with Emiratis. It’s a 70-30 local-expat mix, which has remained steady for the past five years because both customer categories – GCC nationals and expats – continue to grow,” says Ajmal.

The brand operates retail stores under two names – Ajmal and Eternal by Ajmal. While an Ajmal store can be located anywhere from a traditional souq to a mega mall, Eternal by Ajmal stores are to be found only in sought-after locations and luxury environments, the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai being an example. Ajmal says the brand’s success and maturity in a highly competitive fragrance market is the result of a combination of its product innovation, choice of location, store design, inventive merchandising and superior customer service.

“The most important factor in deciding the location of a store is the catchment area. We have opened Ajmal stores in prominent malls as well as in locations most retailers wouldn’t even consider, primarily because they cater to our target audience. Unlike our competitors, our stores offer a unique experience built around ‘ethnic chic’ – a modern, stylish take on local traditions. The largest Ajmal store is just under 2,000 sqft, the average size being about 1,000 sqft, which provides enough space to optimally showcase our collections and allocate staff and resources without wasting space,” says Ajmal.

The interior of an Ajmal store has three sections – the brand wall, oil wall and oud sanctuary. The brand wall is a self-service section where customers can try products without assistance from store staff. The oil wall, located opposite the brand wall, displays various kinds of fragrance oils. At the centre of the store is what Ajmal calls the oud sanctuary.

“We were the first among our contemporaries to incorporate a self-service section in our stores. Generally, most of our customers prefer to be served so our sales staff is always present in the vicinity. But we have seen that many young customers like to browse products and explore a store without being bothered by sales people or obligated to make a purchase,” says Ajmal.

Special attention is paid to visual display merchandising to educate customers about how fragrances are classified. The perfumes are arranged in a specific order, beginning with light, occidental fragrances and progressing to strong, heavy Arabic fragrances. Ajmal says such an arrangement makes it easy to differentiate and choose without fully understanding the complexity of fragrance classification. That’s especially helpful for inexperienced customers who find it difficult to choose a fragrance.

“We have two categories of customers. One is our regular customers who are discerning and understand fragrances and their classification. They walk straight to the perfume that suits their taste, usually in the oud sanctuary. The other, usually new or undecided, wants a good quality fragrance, somewhere in between the light western and strong Arabic fragrance. Such customers are unable to make up their mind so we educate them about fragrances and their composition. Additionally, we offer them a ‘fusion’ category of floriental fragrances,” explains Ajmal.

He sees customer service as the crucial, differentiating factor in the perfumery business, calling it ‘the last mile where everything converts’. “Our customer service is excellent, considering our average conversion rate is 80%. But, we strive to improve it by organising periodic staff trainings on products, brands, sales, competition, and communication. That helps our staff understand the range of customer preferences, leading to better customer service. Since they are mostly non-Arab, we also organise Arabic language classes so they can understand and converse with customers. Sales performance isn’t the most important factor in selecting and retaining staff. Rather, it’s their ability to relate with customers and introduce them to our heritage of crafting memories,” concludes Ajmal.

Comments

comments

Previous Article Next Article

SHARE

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE /


A new branch of Waitrose comes up in Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa City

British grocer Waitrose has opened its newest store in Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa 

Continue Reading

January 25, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau
Its Netherlands Food Week at Al Maya Supermarkets

UAE-based Al Maya Supermarkets has kicked off its ‘Netherlands Food Week’ that 

Continue Reading

January 20, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau
Tesco announces price lock to support consumers amid inflation (PC: Andrew Parsons / Parsons Media)

British grocery retail chain Tesco has announced a price lock on over 

Continue Reading

January 13, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau
Union Coop renews ISO certification

Dubai-based grocery retailer Union Coop has successfully obtained the ISO 22301, an 

Continue Reading

January 12, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau
Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona announces salary increase amid inflation (PC: Mercadona)

Spanish omnichannel supermarket chain Mercadona has announced salary increase amid inflation that 

Continue Reading

January 3, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau
Choithrams partners with Rove Hotels to open 8 new outlets

Grocery retail chain Choithrams will open eight convenience stores across Rove Hotels’ 

Continue Reading

December 30, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
Géant to open more than 20 stores in the UAE in 2023

Part of regional retail conglomerate GMG, Géant plans to open more than 

Continue Reading

December 23, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
FMCG online sales growing by 68% in UAE and 58% in KSA

Online share in FMCG sales has been growing all over the world, 

Continue Reading

December 19, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
Majid Al Futtaim Retail, Standard Chartered launch region’s first Sustainable Supply Chain Finance Programme

Majid Al Futtaim Retail, operator of the Carrefour franchise in the Middle 

Continue Reading

December 15, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
GMG and Silal partner to support 1,100 UAE farms access local retail market

UAE-based diversified conglomerate GMG and Silal have signed a memorandum of understanding 

Continue Reading

December 12, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
Lulu Group partners with Amazon expanding grocery offerings to online customers in the UAE

Abu Dhabi based grocery retail chain Lulu Group has partnered with Amazon 

Continue Reading

November 24, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
Food Tech Valley partners with Tradeling to boost UAE’s food ecosystem

UAE-government-led initiative Food Tech Valley – announced in 2021 by His Highness 

Continue Reading

November 17, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau




f
Download Images RetailME Magazine