L’Oréal to complement UAE’s plans to become global e-beauty destination

Mehdi Moutaoukil, L’Oréal Middle East’s chief marketing officer
Mehdi Moutaoukil, L’Oréal Middle East’s chief marketing officer

Dubai - Consumers across the GCC expect personalised digital experiences and quick online services which have played an integral role in their decision-making process



by

Rohma Sadaqat

Published: Sun 10 Oct 2021, 7:12 PM

L’Oréal will be playing a major role in complementing the UAE’s plans to become a global e-beauty destination by leveraging the power of technology to innovate and introduce bespoke beauty services to meet the needs and aspirations of consumers in the UAE and the GCC.

Speaking to Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview Mehdi Moutaoukil, L’Oréal Middle East’s chief marketing officer, shared insights on the brand’s portfolio of 26 brands, its participation at Expo 2020 Dubai, and how e-commerce is fueling the brand’s growth in the GCC.

“As such, we have developed long standing strategic partnerships with key players in the market to grow the e-beauty category and elevate the consumer experience,” he said. “Today, all our brands are available online on key e-commerce websites such as Noon, Amazon, Namshi, Ounass, Sephora, Lookfantastic, Basharacare Boutiquaat and others. We are also collaborating closely with these players to create interactive beauty destinations for shoppers to allow them to discover, try and purchase the products they love.”

Towards this end, the brand has developed personalised beauty experiences that are powered by AI tools, providing consumers with access to the latest beauty innovations, as well as ensuring that key touchpoints and communications are in line with their growing needs. In addition, three of L’Oréal’s brands - Kiehl’s, Kerastase, and Yves Saint Laurent - have their own dedicated e-commerce websites.

“Also, as the ‘Official Beauty Products and Services Partner’ for Expo 2020, L’Oréal will bring for the first time to the region its latest innovations in beauty tech and retail animations under the theme of connecting minds and creating the future,” said Moutaoukil. “Our aim for the near future is to continue expanding and enhancing our e-Boutiques to allow our consumers to experience our brands in new, innovative and personalised ways.”

Asked about trends that are dominating the industry, he pointed out that green beauty has definitely taken centre-stage in recent years, and even more so after the Covid-19 pandemic. Many consumers are gravitating towards products that are more clean, natural or sustainable and, in the skincare category, there has been a noticeable shift in beauty routines with consumers becoming more driven by a holistic approach that focuses on wellness, nutrition and mental health.

“When it comes to haircare, our data revealed that damaged hair remains the number one concern amongst consumers and is a high driver of consumers returning back to salons,” he added. “As such, consumers’ requirements now primarily revolve around the high quality of water, avoiding harmful or toxic ingredients, as well as evaluating the cleanliness of the towels and pillows that are used on a daily basis. The lockdown period also fueled the use of cleansers and the fear of experimenting with new routines without receiving the proper guidance which further drove consumers to adopt a minimalist skincare approach.”

Moreover, Moutaoukil said that cruelty-free products have been gaining more traction in the region as consumers are gradually expecting more socially responsible production methods. L’Oréal has adopted alternative methods to animal testing for more than 30 years, and several of the group’s brands have already achieved international recognition for their practices such as Garnier. The brand announced earlier this year that all its products are officially approved by Cruelty Free International under the Leaping Bunny Programme, the leading organisation working to end animal testing. Additionally, the brand launched Garnier Green Beauty initiative in 2020 with a commitment to manufacture all products with zero virgin plastic with recyclable, degradable or reusable packaging by 2025.

Shining a spotlight on customer preferences, he revealed that consumers across the GCC expect personalised digital experiences, and quick online services which have played an integral role in their decision-making process when purchasing products as well as their overall shopping journey. “To cater to their needs, we have launched digital try-ons across our beauty brands websites such as Yves Saint Laurent Beauty and Lancôme, where consumers are able to try makeup virtually before they purchase the products. Using augmented reality and artificial intelligence, this tool allows consumers to select a product and try it on using a photo that is uploaded by them before proceeding with the purchase.”

In 2018, L’Oréal acquired a tech company called ‘ModiFace’ to reinvent and elevate the beauty experience for its consumers. Through ModiFace, the company developed unique technologies to show accurate results in real time, including virtual makeup try-ons, virtual hair colour try-ons and augmented reality shopping. As per Modiface, L’Oréal’s acquired augmented reality and artificial intelligence company, try-ons usage was up by 5x during the pandemic, with 2x engagement and 3x conversion, which is testament to the efficiency and likeability of this method amongst consumers.

In addition, one of the most unique features that L’Oréal launched with Modiface is an artificial intelligence-powered skin diagnostic technology that analyzes the skin condition and produces a customized beauty routine, based on scientific research. Another unique technology is ‘Skin Consult AI’ by Vichy, introduced in 2019, which measures skin aging, followed by a dermatologist’s reference scale to deliver a personalized skincare prescription. Through the click of a button, the AI tool will give an estimate of the user’s skin age by tracking seven major aging signs, before delivering a personalized skin analysis - decoding skin strength and priorities.

“We recognise that our journey towards enhancing the customer experience is an ever evolving one, and as we approach Expo 2020, we look forward to uncovering some of our latest technological innovations, that are set to redefine the future of beauty,” Moutaoukil said.

“In addition, our consumers’ e-commerce experience has and will always be at the forefront of our strategy,” he added. “As such, we have forged a series of successful partnerships in the region with local partners, retailers and distributors that have played a huge role in serving our consumers in the most efficient way and while resulting in consumer satisfaction. For instance, our partnership with CNNB Solutions was highly successful testament to the uptick of 750 per cent across e-commerce sales since 2018, which was driven by innovative direct-to-consumer, e-commerce and e-distribution.”

Moreover, L’Oréal Middle East also recorded an increase in average order value of 12 per cent, a 17.5 per cent improvement in delivery rate and a 235 per cent increase in customer lifetime value, across selected brands since the beginning of the partnership.

“We have also built a strong strategic partnership with Noon, to build the beauty category across their entire ecosystem – noon.com & Sivvi and Now Now & Noon Daily,” Moutaoukil said. “In addition, we have ongoing successful partnerships with other local partners such as Sephora, Amazon, Ounass, Namshi and Instashop that contribute to increasing our group’s reach and affinity in the region.”

rohma@khaleejtimes.com


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