Impetum viperae

Retail & leisure
POLAND Vipera, one of the first manufacturers of coloured cosmetics in the country, is implementing a new strategy for the company’s development, involving new locations, store concepts and markets. The Piaseczno-based cosmetics manufacturer is planning to expand and build on its position in Poland, but is first of all continuing its development abroad.

Cabinets and islands

For Poland the main part of its strategy is to expand the number shopping centre stands it has. Vipera currently has twelve such stands in the country, including three in Warsaw. However, it used to have twenty stands. “We decided to close the unprofitable and poor positioned stands. This is a new strategy we adopted this year,” reveals Ewa Wrzesińska, the co-owner of Vipera and its marketing and implementation director. “In November 2015 we opened a new stand in Galeria Jurowiecka in Białystok. Negotiations and the confirmation of other locations across the country are currently in progress,” she adds. The company is aiming to have 20 stands in Poland again in a year’s time. “We were present in Złote Tarasy and would like go back. Now we’re waiting for some vacant space there and for responses for other vacant space in shopping centre in Warsaw, but we are not interested in every spot. We know where we want to be, in which area, and we don’t take every space,” she explains. The company is also in talks with drugstore chains, with whom it wants display product cabinets. Vipera has been present in 13 Super-Pharm stores since the beginning of the year, as well as 100 Butik and 80 Media Star outlets.

Wholesale, lasrge-scale retail and pharmacies

In November Vipera also made its drugstore debut with its first line of care cosmetics under the name of Cos-Medica. Since that time the company has been testing out its products in Auchan centres. “We are now negotiating with large scale market chains, but coloured cosmetics are a sensitive category for such retailers because of the size of the product and the risk of shoplifting,” explains the implementation director of Vipera. Wholesale and ‘cash and carry’ chains also have similar issues, plus there is the competition of own-brand products in such shops.

Professional offensive

Vipera has recently commissioned two outside companies to help with the search for locations: an international and a local one. “We are also looking at a number of proposals. Apart from shopping centres, we are looking at high streets. For the latter it would be large branded outlet, but this format is still at the conceptual stage. Sopot and Zakopane are interesting – towns with many visitors from all over the country,” Ewa Wrzesińska adds. This store format would be open all year round instead of on a seasonal basis, and located in a leased space in high street buildings.

Internet matches good stands

Vipera also operates online stores. Its Polish e-store is operated by an external company. According to a representative of this company, the online shop generates the same sales as one of Vipera’s good stands. The company is even more active abroad than in Poland. It is available particularly in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Chile, Singapore, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Oman and most European countries. Vipera is also close to completing the certification process to sell its goods in Iran. Vipera is, in addition, the no 1 in colour cosmetics sale sin Cyprus, where the brand’s face powder costs around EUR 36, reveals Ewa Wrzesińska. Vipera does not have a say in the price policy of its partners abroad. A company store will also open in Manhattan in March 2016, while Toronto will also see the opening of Vipera shop next year.

Eastern Eldorado

Vipera goods are also available in Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Croatia, Slovenia, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia and Kazakhstan. In Lithuania Vipera’s distributor is the owner of the Martina drugstore chain, which has 26 stores across the country. In Ukraine Vipera’s cosmetics can be bought in Auchan and Cosmo as well as regional chains, wholesalers and smaller shops throughout the country. Sales in shopping centres in Ukraine are set to exceed other sales channels over the next two years. The products are being currently being tested in ten Watson stores, which has a total of 200 outlets across Ukraine, with the aim of boosting the recognisability of the brand and eventually increasing its online sales. In Russia, as in Poland, Vipera has a few stands and product cabinets in partner shops, for which Vipera does not pay rent, but only delivers the goods to its partner’s orders.