Lotte forms more VIP retail partnerships abroadLotte Department Store is setting up more VIP partnerships with overseas retail franchises this year to better cater to its highest-spending customers, Korea’s No. 1 retail group said on Wednesday.
The company currently has partnerships with six retailers abroad: Macy’s in New York; Galeries Lafayette in Paris, Times Square in Hong Kong; Manor in Zurich; Robinsons in Singapore; and Siam Paragon in Bangkok.
Lotte’s VIP customers, who spend at least 15 million won ($13,845) per year, receive the same perks at the partner stores overseas as customers with VIP membership at those shops. Benefits include discounts, access to VIP lounges and complimentary snacks and drinks.
Customers who experienced the VIP treatment at the stores abroad spent more money at Lotte afterwards.
Their spending in the first three months of this year is up 13.5 percent compared to the same period last year, according to Lotte, which is higher than the 4.6 percent increase in purchases by VIPs who did not shop at the company’s partner stores overseas.
“We learned that our global VIP partnership has strengthened our customers’ loyalty. It also helped bring in more customers as VIPs bring their friends and family with them when they shop abroad. And they, too, have the positive experience from our partnership program,” Lotte said in a statement.
Lotte is set to sign partnerships with Harrods in the United Kingdom, Marinabay Sands in Singapore, Sands in Macau and Macy’s in San Francisco within the first half of this year, bringing the total number of its global partners to 10 in eight countries.
VIP perks will also be added. The discount rate on clothes at Macy’s will be raised to 20 percent from the current 10 percent and more complimentary gifts will be given. In Singapore, customers will receive discount rates when they stay at Marinabay Sands Hotel and will have free access to its club lounge.
“Spending by VIP customers is less cyclical compared to other customers, so marketing tools to keep these customers happy are increasingly important as the economic downturn continues,” said Lee Wan-shin, the head of marketing at Lotte Department Store.
“We plan to expand our partnership with the best retailers in Italy, the United Arab Emirates, Japan and Taiwan, where our VIP customers frequently travel,” he added.
BY PARK JUNG-YOUN [email@example.com]