Beauty retailer Priceline has made a move on competitor Sephora by handing out $10 vouchers out the front of the newly opened Sephora store in Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall.
Priceline set up an interactive voucher booth near the first Australian Sephora outlet, which opened its doors to massive demand last week, while “Priceline Princesses” also handed out vouchers to shoppers, according to Mumbrella.
The addition of the European cosmetic giant to the Australian beauty market has been anticipated to encroach on Priceline’s discount cosmetic territory for some time.
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In a statement issued to SmartCompany, Priceline said the campaign has been such a success that the voucher booth ran out of vouchers within three hours.
While Priceline has not confirmed the campaign was a direct response to Sephora, general manager Mark O’Keefe said the move was strengthening its position in the market.
“We’re giving Australian women even more reason to love Priceline Pharmacy and maximising our beauty position against competition,” said O’Keefe in the same statement.
Priceline claimed the vouchers sent thousands of Sydney shoppers into its 10 CBD stores in and around the Pitt St Mall.
Janey Paton, director of marketing and public relations agency Belles and Whistles, told SmartCompany the campaign was likely a move to boost foot traffic into the stores to drive home the Priceline brand message of low pricing, in the face of the hype of Sephora.
“Customers won’t turn $10 vouchers down,” says Paton.
“They want to drive customers in store so they can drive home their brand value around price play.”
But Brian Walker, chief executive of the Retail Doctor Group, told SmartCompany the promotion shows Priceline is concerned.
“It just sends a message that they’re worried,” says Walker.
“It’s a very short-term solution, it’s very reactive. If I was Sephora I’d think, we’ve got these guys rattled.”
Walker suggests Priceline should have turned to their strong database to reach out to loyal customers for a more “elegant” promotion.
“In reality, and with great respect to Priceline, is this going to outcompete a global player like Sephora on a sustainable basis?”
The outdoor campaign is a part of Priceline’s broader marketing initiatives, which includes a targeted direct marketing campaign to the retailer’s Sister Club member database.*
*This article was updated at 2.10pm Friday December 12.