[ARTICLE] Can Beauty be High Tech? L’Oréal’s Digital Transformation Journey

Sam Button, Head of Growth, Roar Media

Sam Button caught up with one of L’Oréal’s digital managers Monika Matuszewska on their digital and technology transformation efforts. In an interesting presentation Monika touched on how an old industry is rapidly evolving with technology by its side.

In 2018, 11% of L’Oréal’s global sales were via eCommerce. For an organisation who’s products are all physical, the key challenge to overcome is making sure customers are comfortable with an online experience by feeling personally valued and guided towards unique products.

Traditionally, choosing products like make-up, hair colouring and skincare was something which needed to be aided in person with a professional. However, with a predominantly young userbase of digital natives who are used to getting services and personalisation online for other products. It became paramount to provide instant digital access to a variety of beauty products. 

“75% of Online Customers expect a query to be answered within 5 minutes”

L’Oréal was established in 1907 and rose to become the number 1 cosmetics group in the world through a number of mergers and acquisitions, however, this also meant a vast amount of legacy systems and a need for digitisation of services & internal processes. They were fortunate to have a CEO who believed that data & digital was the best way to propel the company and they set out to become the 1st global beauty tech company. The realisation that they were underutilising their data assets was an issue for an organisation with a personal experience at their core.

There are few industries who offer the diversity of different shades & combinations of one product. A company which prides the ability to find the perfect product for your skin understands that we are all different and they would be doing their scientists and product teams a disservice to only provide access to this personalised service in person.

There was a need to provide innovative ways for clients to explore each range at their own convenience, from the comfort of their own home. The solutions provided are a true testament to a company who understand their audience, client needs and uniqueness of their products.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology which has come on leaps and bounds the past few years, many of the early editions of companies trying to roll out AR technology is not dissimilar in quality of snapchat filters and definitely not a system you would trust whilst choosing the most suitable foundation or skincare product. The beauty of the technology L’Oréal have built stems from the understanding of their clients and how precise the technology needs to be in order to be trusted.

Modiface is their AR system which can be used to test a variety of products on including hair colours, eyebrow styles and make up. The 3D make up system allows customers to try on styles and custom combinations of products to see what this looks like on their own face. VICHY Skin Diagnostics offers a 3D scan of your face, using technology it can pick up areas of dryness and sensitivity and suggest the best skincare plan for you.

Similarly the shade finder for deciding on a new colour uses technology to match the hair colour to your exact hairstyle as an overlay, giving the customer the chance to more their hair and camera around to see the colour from every angle and in motion. The technology also suggests combinations of treatments in order to achieve the desired shade from your current hair colour.

Live Tutorials

Beauty videos on YouTube are big business with beauty content & tutorials generating more than 169 billion views in 2018, with make up tutorials being the most consumed. L’Oréal have tapped into this global market combining their vast range of products with their expert stylists to offer live tutorials with clients who are considering purchasing a range of products.

One-to-One Live Consultations

L’Oréal also realise the importance of connecting their clients with their experts on an individual basis to create a virtual experience similar to what the customer would have in store. They can recommend styles and use augmented reality to allow the customer to try on various combinations of products and learn the best way to apply these. This level of personalisation and digital customer experience ensures loyalty from customers who prefer to shop online.

It’s clear to see that the digital transformations L’Oréal are embracing are going to be a winner moving forward with digital adoption the highest we have ever seen. Technology has a huge place to play in industries where previously you would think not, the answer is yes, beauty can be high tech.

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