L’Oréal SA is attracting new customers and b2b sales playbook through its recent e-commerce initiatives to mitigate the impact of brick and shell store closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
A French cosmetics company introduced new online beauty courses and created an opportunity for beauty consultants to apply makeup to near-potential customers by simulating in-store experiences and other e-commerce initiatives.
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The pandemic has accelerated the transformation of our e-commerce, said Lubomira Roshet, digital director of a French cosmetics company. The brands of L’Oréal are Lancôme, Kiehl’s, La Roche-Posay and Maybelline New York.
Overall, the beauty industry was hit hard by this year’s store closures. U.S. beauty industry sales from January to September declined 23% to $10.3 billion compared to the same period last year, according to market research firm NPD Group.
However, according to NDP data, online sales are increasing in general and in the United States online sales of perfumes, makeup and skin care products have a double-digit growth rate. This change is partly due to the application of new concepts and advanced technologies in the industry, such as augmented reality, according to Larissa Jensen, vice president and beauty consultant of a market research company. All these things were clearly visible, but 2020 only accelerated things, Mrs Jensen said.
In less than four weeks, L’Oréal doubled its efforts in advanced technology and developed two new online services, including one to mimic an in-store beauty clinic. Normally these efforts should each last about three months, Roshet said.
Lubomira Roshet, director digital technology at L’Oréal
One of these services is the possibility for customers to virtually communicate with beauty consultants using augmented reality technology from ModiFace, a company acquired by L’Oréal in 2018 for an unknown amount. A beautician can meet for a teleconsultation using a mobile application and apply virtual make-up to the client’s face in real time.
Since last year, the ModiFace technology has also been available via retailer websites, such as
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SEs
Sephora, where buyers can easily try out products before buying them.
According to Roshet, L’Oréal’s virtual study increased fivefold during the pandemic and reached a billion user visits. According to Roshet, during the pandemic, conversion rates for virtual tests tripled – the speed at which browsers turn into buyers, with people spending more than seven minutes with the service and try on 20 to 30 shades of makeup before buying it.
The digital team has also developed a way for influential people, beauty consultants and L’Oréal experts to give live beauty classes and master classes on products such as make-up and fragrances directly on the L’Oréal websites.
According to Roshet, the company held 1,000 live sessions during the five weeks of the summer and attracted some 80 million viewers outside China, where the live broadcasts are already popular. According to Roshet, people spent an average of even 45 minutes looking at these textbooks, with conversion rates of up to 11 percent and the size of an online shopping cart worth over $95.
So far, L’Oréal’s efforts seem to be bearing fruit. Online sales represented around 24% of total sales between January and September, compared with 13.5% in the same period last year. Total turnover for this period was €20.11 billion (approximately US$23.8 billion), a decrease of 8.6% compared to €21.99 billion for the same period in 2019. According to Roshet, e-commerce is expected to account for approximately half of total turnover in the coming years.
L’Oréal’s e-commerce efforts are aimed not only at increasing online sales of real-life beauty products, but also at creating digital copies of these products for video game enthusiasts.
L’Oréal’s digital team has developed virtual hair colours and make-up that players can wear during a game, just like they do with Instagram’s augmented reality filters. Players can also wear their avatars. Ms. Roshet refused to disclose the gambling readings.
We need to look at gambling as a new marketing channel, Roshet.
L’Oréal also works with influential social networks on Amazon.com Twitch, a live streaming platform that became even more popular with video players during the pandemic. Influential people react and talk about L’Oréal’s products by playing on the platform.
Over the next five years, Roschet of L’Oréal predicts that a new direction in the growth of e-commerce will be given to retail entertainment – a combination of retail and entertainment that includes direct marketing, gaming and export.
Write to Sarah Castellanos at [email protected]
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