L’Oréal’s chief digital boss plans to take cosmetics into virtual era

Asmita Dubey, who joined the team in April, plans to renew the French beauty giant’s target demographic with online games, AR and social media

L'Oréal joined with Facebook to bring virtual try-ons to Instagram in June

L’Oréal’s new chief digital boss, Asmita Dubey, has expressed her interest in exploring virtual avenues in order for the French beauty heavyweight to renew its target market.

The capabilities of online games, augmented reality (AR) and social media are all expected to be investigated as the Lancôme owner prepares for an increase in e-commerce sales.

For its half-year results, the group reported a strong increase in online sales, reaching almost 30% for the six months ended 30 June, mainly driven by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“E-commerce continues to grow at a more moderate rate due to reopening of retail channels and accounts for 27.3% of sales,” said L’Oréal’s newly appointed CEO Nicolas Hieronimus, who took over from Jean-Paul Agon after 15 years in the position.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the company, which also owns Kiehl’s and La Roche-Posay, is preparing for a scenario where up to 50% of sales could be generated online.

Group sales were up 16.2% to €15.2bn compared with the first six months in 2020, around £12.bn.

Asmita Dubey (left) took over from Lubomira Rochet in April this year

The announcement follows on from L’Oréal’s entrance into the world of TikTok in June.

Utilising the brand for its social selling capabilities, the firm launched a pilot partnership for its Garnier and NYX Professional brands, which allows users to purchase products without leaving the app.

“Social commerce is truly the next frontier for beauty sales, after live streaming and live shopping,” said L’Oréal UK & Ireland’s CMO Lex Bradshaw-Zanger at the time.

“Connecting the already enormous influencer and creator community with the ability to make sales through TikTok is a step forward in improving the consumer experience, linking content to commerce and creating a more fluid and seamless purchasing experience for our customers.”

L’Oréal and Instagram owner Facebook have also come together on a platform integration with Modiface, L’Oréal’s AR and AI company, to bring make-up try-ons to shopping on Instagram.

The products to arrive on Instagram Shops are lipsticks from the brand’s NYX Professional, Urban Decay, Maybelline New York and Lancôme brands.

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