ParfumPlus talks with Nicolas Chaudron, VP Retail Distribution, Gravotech Group and Mourade Aarab, Business Manager for the Middle East Area, Gravotech about the global brand and emerging dominance of personalisation in the market
ParfumPlus (PP): Tell us something about Gravotech and its background.
Nicolas Chaudron (NC): Gravotech group is a worldwide leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of innovative solutions for marking, engraving and cutting by using laser or mechanical technologies, as well as with artistic modelling software.
Gravotech has over 900 employees spread across 100 countries. The group boasts a vast international network: 25 subsidiaries and 300 distributors that work alongside its 60,000 international customers, assisting them with their local or global issues.
PP: How has the journey been like for the brand since its inception?
NC: Since 1938, Gravotech has been working with the DNA of challenge, to master the engraving process and exceed expectations. In 1986, Gravotech manufactured the first compact computerised engraving machine in the world, and in less than a decade we manufactured the first stand-alone machine working autonomously (without the connection to a computer). This was a revolutionary concept in the engraving world. Today, our technologies are able to engrave on anything you see around you.
In the retail and perfume world too, we aimed and succeeded at manufacturing an engraving machine that can produce elegant and accurate engraving, every time and on every bottle of perfume.
PP: What is the core value/mission of Gravotech?
NC: Our mission is “Creating personalisation solutions that are both innovative and user-friendly, to support the activities of our customers across the globe.”
International presence and innovation are the company’s anchor points. In other words, we’re striving for continuous improvement. We devote five percent of our turnover to investment in Research & Development. This reinvestment strategy means Gravotech is able to offer complete solutions, covering the needs and expectations of every customer in a tailored and unique manner.
PP: How has Gravotech’s impact been on the perfume industry? A few anecdotes to elaborate it?
NC: The impact has been huge. This new great idea was full of challenges since we were asked to handle different shapes of bottles, materials, fonts and languages, and above all, to make it easy for a salesperson in a boutique to handle it. The result at the end of the day is very satisfying and promising, and our success stories have just grown rapidly.
Also, in-store personalisation is a simple, fun and unique solution for premium brands to go further with the Customer Experience. The fact that the customer can actually watch his item being customised has redefined the way the perfume industry plans product launches, organises promotional events, etc. Today, you can even personalise instantaneously your favourite bottle of perfume on most of the e-commerce websites. So yes, when you look at the distribution channels of the perfume industry, whether offline (with in-store engraving service) or online (with engraving machines located in fulfillment centre), Gravotech has definitely impacted the perfume industry.
PP: What makes Gravotech stand apart amongst the competition in this growing market?
NC: On one hand, many local competitors sell either software, machines or services in the growing market but never an all-in-one single package. As a global reference for over 75 years, Gravotech is at the forefront of application development, enabling it to devise tailored and unique solutions for the individual needs of each customer.
We offer a complete solution incorporating equipment and accessories, dedicated software, consumables and associated services. Our know-how allows us to develop and produce turn-key solutions adapted to each application. Plus, our local presence ensures a permanent technical support at an equivalent level of quality to our customers.
PP: What is the importance of personalisation in creating a better brand image in today’s time?
NC: For years, mass production has succeeded in responding to most of the customers’ needs. Today, customers expect to find products made according to their values and personalisation seems to be the key for some luxury segments.
Bringing customers into the operations of a company builds customer-intimacy, loyalty and also enhances shopper satisfaction. That is why personalisation today is so important. Engraving reminds a person of ancient engraved inscriptions, something formerly limited to only noble families. Now, which luxury brand wouldn’t want to be associated to these notions? It surely gives a higher quality and aesthetic appeal.
PP: Do you see the trend of personalised accessories dominating the market in the near future?
NC: Personalisation by engraving adds value to a regular product and to that extent it is definitely an increasing trend. Yesterday it was a privilege for some and today it’s becoming an affordable pleasure. Social media is magnifying this trend and there is no doubt that technological innovations will lead to more variety of sophistication.
Q&A with Mourade Aarab, Business Manager for the Middle East Area, Gravotech
PP: Can you tell us a bit about your background and your experience with Gravotech?
Mourade Aarab (MA): My journey with the company as it expanded into the Asian market in 2005, allowed me to experience the diversity of markets and led me to develop regional teams of specialists.
The experience in Asia with Gravotech towards successful openings of new growth opportunities in China and Korea led me to open the new Gravotech venture in the Middle East. We are proud to be a partner of major lifestyle brands; we also support the regional industries from Jewellery to Petrochemical Industries.
PP: How easy / difficult has it been to sell the idea of personalisation?
MA: Personalisation as a concept and service already existed in Europe and US and we gained a lot of experience there.
As Gravotech we have had the opportunity to be part of the unique culture in the Middle East where hospitality and welcoming via gifts is respected. Our solutions allow our partners to give their clients bespoke gifts to their esteemed friends and families. Gravotech helps people to express their emotions through our user-friendly solutions.
PP: What kind of a demand do you foresee for your company and for this trend in the UAE?
MA: With 36 percent of consumers saying they’re interested in personalised products, this will become a reality in the retail world. This desire contrasts with a relatively low take up. That shows the room for brands to offer a new purchasing Experience to their customers.
We have seen the same pattern in other luxury products (pens, jewellery) and it clearly pushes the clients towards those who are offering these services.