A TOUCH OF CLASS

Azerbaijan 2016 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Ilgar Ismayilov, General Director of İDEAL Kompani, on being a leader in the market, new innovations, and how to maintain the company's market share.

 Ilgar Ismayilov

What helped İDEAL to become the leading company in this sector, and how do you maintain this leading position?

There is a phrase, “All roads lead to Rome." In Azerbaijan, it is a fact that all thoughts about cosmetics and perfumery lead to İDEAL. In our 17 year history, we enjoy a 55% market share, have 140 global and local brands suiting every taste, a wide retail chain presented both in Baku and the regions, and the largest retail emporium within the territory of Caucasus. Our entire work is based on a well-targeted strategy, which simplifies every customer's choice and brings profits to each of our partners. Working with 140 brands means that every shopper will not leave without a purchase. Also, our beauty consultants work with all clients regardless of their earnings, lifestyle, or problems. We offer cosmetic and perfumery products for every wallet, skin, and event. We know that a satisfied customer means a satisfied business partner. Our extended retail chain makes us available at every part of the city. No matter where you live or work, there will always be an İDEAL store not far from you. You will not need to spend half a day to come to the city center. Being present in all regions of Baku, including even the furthest regions, helps us to attract all segments of the market without focusing on only one. This guarantees us success even when the market is going through hard times for reasons that are beyond our control. As a result, we have both satisfied customers and partners. If that does not make the best success formula, then what does?

You always surprise your customers with novelties, even though Azerbaijani customers are considered to be conservative. Do you think this is the right strategy?

The right strategy is when your customer is assured that you know about the product more than they do. Our customers can spend their time on their family or favorite sports, while we collect, approve, and present all the information about cosmetic and perfumery products to the market. The İDEAL store at 28 Mall is the biggest store in the Trans-Caucasian region, and this is not only in terms of size. This store repeats the format of the famous Apple Store, the difference being that it sells cosmetic products. This is not a stereotypical cosmetics and perfumery shop where you can pop in for a few minutes to quickly buy something. This is an interactive store where you can build individual relations with a brand, which means you have an opportunity to see, try, choose, and get acquainted with each product separately. This is not a place to use, but to enjoy cosmetic products and perfumes. This way, we present beauty products and perfumes as a lifestyle. Just like bibliophiles admire books, there are thousands of women in the world who are in love with aromatic bottles, jars, and tubes of various gels and creams. Our partners also appreciate that we do not position ourselves as an intermediary company, but as the owner of the market, constantly seeking for new ways to communicate with customers. It is this constant search for new and more convenient ways to please customers that brought us to introduce the electronic order system. Taking into account the internet penetration level of Azerbaijan, this decision might seem premature. We took this step not only for those who do not have time or do not want to go to the store, or those who, for example, appreciate an opportunity to order a gift for a friend during lunchtime. We did it because internet is the future and, fast or slow, our market will also move to this end.

With talk about an economic crisis in Azerbaijan, what is your strategy for 2016?

Every businessperson lives in the constant condition of crisis and mobilization. At the beginning of the road, it is the crisis of keeping faith in your project in spite of the given prognosis. Then, it is the constant crisis of business optimization followed by the crisis of becoming a leader and, in the end, the crisis of keeping the leadership position. For that reason, there have not been any significant changes for me or our company. İDEAL Kompani has been functioning for 17 years. We have had enough time to study the market and our customers' wishes and needs. We have numerous effective strategies that help us maintain our leading position. Like all other companies, we will maximally improve the service quality to enhance relations with our already existing customers and make our stores a place to be recommended to friends. It is said that ideal service is when every customer gets individual consultation. This is exactly what we are aiming for right now.