Ahead of the holiday shopping season, and after closing it in mid-summer of 2021, luxury candle and fragrance brand Diptyque reopened the doors to its boutique on Prince Street in New York City with an updated and more luxurious design.
Re-opened at the end of October, the location found inspiration infusing classic Parisian and New York-style apartments. It features large-scale artworks, eclectic interior decor and furnishings, and a Parisian fireplace. It is also home to the brand’s first U.S. refill station for its fragrances. Diptyque first opened the Prince Street location in Oct. 2020.
All 90 global Diptyque stores will receive the same treatment on a rolling basis over the next few years, with aesthetic modifications based on their location. The new store designs are part of a multi-year growth strategy for Diptyque, which kicked off around 2018. At that time, the brand had 70 stores worldwide and had just launched a new CRM tool. And in 2019, the brand debuted new DTC websites in North America, China and Japan. Diptyque’s DTC business accounts for 35% of U.S. sales. Overall, its retail sales for 2021 have grown by triple digits compared to 2020, said Julien Gommichon, president of Diptyque Americas.
“It’s a major departure from what we did before. It’s going to elevate the sense and experience of being a luxury lifestyle brand. We wanted to recreate this warm atmosphere … but also [make it] surprising,” said Gommichon. “The goal here was also to [develop] a concept that is more consistent across the different regions.”
The underlying purpose of the redesign is to emphasize core tenets of the brand’s storytelling. Diptyque was founded in 1961 with printed fabrics, before expanding into fragrances and candle scents that matched the textiles. Diptyque wanted to highlight its luxury heritage through the store’s interior design motifs, while adhering to its history of innovation by using the store as a testing ground for the refill station. Gommichon said that Diptyque added an accessories section called “Second Life” in-store and online to provide accessories like a gold-metal rim to decorate empty candle jars, which customers often repurpose. Fragrance accounts for approximately 30% of sales, and the company has plans to increase that to 40% within the next three years. In February, Diptyque launched a home collection that includes vases, tableware, decorative objects and even paperweights.
The global store refurbishing plan was made pre-Covid-19, according to Gommichon. Still, it overlaps with the larger conversation about what in-store shopping should look like in a post-quarantine world dominated by e-commerce. According to eMarketer, 2020 global e-commerce sales grew 28% year-over-year, increasing the 20% growth seen in 2019.
“If retailers intend to capture consumers in a physical experience, it will be critical to offer rich, joyful, unusual opportunities for entertainment retail. Safety will continue to be important, but consumers will be looking for surprise, delight and experiential moments that inform a purchase,” said Antonia Hock, global head of The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center. “Above all, now is the time for retailers to tap into consumer sentiment that is focused on community, connection, shareable products and services that have a strong call to action.”
Diptyque is in a unique position, given that fragrance is harder to shop for online, but candles and reed diffusers became a household staple during the pandemic. Gommichon noted that the basket sizes in-store have increased and foot traffic is on par with 2019 levels. He declined to provide specific figures.
“We have a few new stores, but [we have seen] a lot of organic growth coming from our existing distribution and existing point of sale,” he said.
Gommichon said he has seen the role of store managers expand over the past two years, as it goes beyond the physical store. For example, managers and in-store salespeople across the beauty and fashion industries have taken on added roles of online and text consultations. In 2022, Diptyque will add online shopping features like ship-to-store and personalization services in-store and online, including engraving and embossing services, the option to add personalized messages to standard satin ribbons, and online consultations.
“When we think about the future of retail, the [in-store] concept is important. But at the end of the day, the quality and the passion of our sales team is the most important,” said Gommichon. “It’s about giving them the tools to understand their customer and get to know the customer in a personal way. That’s part of the future.”