Creating an irresistible customer experience, from e-commerce store to the last mile: L’Oréal
To become one of the leading beauty tech companies in the world, L’Oréal started their digital transformation back in 2014. In phase one, they formulated three strategic pillars.
The first pillar is “e-Commerce Acceleration”. By the end of 2020, the Company expects to generate a considerable part of their revenue from e-commerce.
“To achieve this goal we needed to create a great online shopping experience and add more efficiency to our operations. So we chose Salesforce Commerce Cloud as our e-commerce platform to make this happen,” – shared Inga Receveur, Lead Digital Development at L’Oréal Netherlands during the Clockwork & Paazl breakfast event – “This gives us more speed, and the agility to make the shopper journey as convenient as possible.”
The second pillar is “Personalized Relations at Scale”, which is about collecting data and applying analytics with the goal of making content more relevant to consumers. This means that a big part of communications and media messaging is based on data. At the end of the day, you really need to know your audience well if you are communicating skincare products for example.
Knowing your audience also relates to L’Oréal’s third pillar which is “Content & Platforms That Work”. This is about creating value-based content that consumers want to engage with, like and share. Every medium serves its own purpose: engaging consumers in different age groups, spreading the news about how to take better care of your skin and hair, tutorial videos on how to use particular L’Oréal beauty products, and even finding talent.
“For us, it isn’t only about communicating sales-driven messages. It is primarily focused on growing a community of inspired followers who love L’Oréal’s brands. We do this by making sure that the majority of our content is educational, inspiring and engaging across different platforms.” – said Inga Receveur.
Phase 2 started in 2018, driving a shift towards the implementation of new technologies. “We realized that technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), augmented- and virtual reality (AR/VR) and voice are reshaping the way consumers discover, try, experience, and buy our products. So we feel that the brands that master these experiences will be the ones people choose,”- says Inga Receveur. – “That’s why we are building a culture of continuous innovation, enabling our consumers with personalized and engaging digital experiences.”
L’Oréal started experimenting with advanced technology such as augmented reality (AR) as early as 2014. They launched the Make-up Genius app, which was a mega-hit before Snapchat got big.
Out of the blue, we were bigger than big, with thousands of downloads, but to be honest…. This was followed by a fall from hero to zero. Why? First of all, because we were not able to innovate fast enough. But second of all because we couldn’t deliver the technology at the point consumers needed it in their customer journey,” – Inga explained. – “It was a great learning experience that resonated with how to move forward in order to enable rapid innovation. The strategy turned to buying technology and reorganizing our business.”
In 2018, L’Oréal bought Modiface, a Canadian start-up. They specialize in AR and AI tailored for the beauty business. “We purchased them because of their strategic value for the future of beauty. By combining L’Oréal’s knowledge with Modiface’s tech expertise and setting up an agile way of working, we were able to innovate much faster.” – Inga Receveur spoke about the Company’s innovation strategy.
With the acquisition of Modiface, L’Oréal launched a variety of digital experiences that are based on an AI-powered algorithm. Some examples of the apps launched:
Vichy’s Skincare AI provides women with tailor-made skin diagnostics and recommends personalized anti-aging products.
L’Oréal’s Virtual Nail Salon app for iPhone that enables photorealistic AR simulation of nail polish shades and textures.
MY SKINTRACK UV measures exposure to pollution and UV, and advises how to adjust user’s behaviour or apply a cream, or drink more water.
L’Oréal’s 3D Hair Diagnostic and Make-up virtual try-on interface features photo-realistic color simulation, both in an app and in a website environment. It allows consumers to virtually apply hundreds of L’Oréal Paris beauty products in real-time.
“After enabling consistency in delivering convenience at every stage of our consumers’ shopping experience, we are now taking a step forward in extending their premium experience to the last mile. L’Oréal’s EMEA portfolio includes 13 Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) brands and that’s where we see the next improvements. We want to create a seamless shopping experience from the first touchpoint to the checkout page to delivery and returns.”- said Inga Receveur.
Until now L’Oréal has been distributing its products through well-established marketplaces and retailers, such as Alibaba and Amazon. In the Netherlands, distribution is through bol.com, Douglas, Wehkamp, Kruidvat, and others. For example, NYX Professional Makeup in the Netherlands has its own branded environment on Douglas.nl. For the majority of its bigger brands, L’Oréal has separate content websites. If a consumer wants to buy a product, he or she is redirected to a selected e-retailer or pure player. As for DTC, brands such as Kiehl’s & Urban Decay have their own e-commerce stores with a checkout page.
L’Oréal totally understands the significance of consumer experience at all the touchpoints in the consumer journey. From finding the right product to packaging and the moment of delivery, L’Oréal wants to create a holistic connection to its brand. Paazl thinks that by adding a variety of delivery options, times and locations, and by visualizing them in its brands’ checkout environments, L’Oréal could complete its customers’ journey with a premium 360-degree consumer experience.
Convenience at every stage of a shopping journey, specifically the last mile, is the new black. By freeing consumers’ agendas to something greater in life than waiting for a parcel from 9:00AM till 5:00PM, brands and retailers can create a much deeper connection with their brand-loyal shoppers.
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