Revolution in retail: the new faces of this beauty sector

Revolution in retail 

What’s next for the retail industry? Let’s explore the beauty retailtech trends to watch out for the future. What we foresee is that chore shopping will become easier and the increasing demand for “cherish” retail. What we mean by « chore » shopping concerns the act of buying commodities (i.e. things because we HAVE to). And this kind of shopping aims to become less of a chore. Players like Amazon and subscription businesses will make this part of retail easier through offerings such as auto-renewals, one-click purchases, and regular delivery. In other words, the routine component of shopping will become easier. Meanwhile, the experiential retail will involve discovery of great products and socializing with peers. François-Emmanuel Lamellière, CEO cofounder of Quable explains : « Today, consumers want to know everything about the products : is it safe, no gluten and no allergen certified, ecodesigned ?  This detailed information must be constantly updated available at each meeting point of the customer and the brand. 



Retailers that enable shoppers to build and customize products will prosper. Personalization will still be a key retail trend in 2018 and beyond. We’re not just talking about putting someone’s name in an email subject line or letting customers put their initials on products. We’re referring to personalization that enables shoppers to build products and customize them to the very last detail.  

For instance, Neo diagnostic presents Revieve, a digital skincare advisor based on a technology that analyzes your skin from a simple smartphone-taken picture. The instant diagnosis and the unique skincare programme is proposed. More than twenty beauty brands use this technology and work on the ultra-customization based on personal data science. Allowing shoppers to build and personalize products not only fulfills those standards, but it also make shopping itself a lot more exciting. What could be more interesting than building your very own perfume or skincare ? Take the example of Aroma-Zone, a website dedicated to cosmetic ingredients that opened a shop in Paris. It displays workshops and demonstrations to help the customer mix their own beauty products. 


The two watchwords are : phygital and user experience 

Géraldine Planche, strategic planning director at Mediapost Publicité says : « Today, we can’t put offline forward against online shopping. There is no dichotomy for the consumer anymore. He / she goes through one or the other constantly. Brands had to adapt their strategy while developing synergies with their respective advantages. For one, modern consumers are placing a lot more value on experiences over physical items or commodities. And so, when shoppers purchase tangible products, they want those goods to tell a story, fit their lifestyle, be genuine, or all of the above. Quentin Reygrobellet, managing director of Birchbox France : « it is very exciting for a pure player, digital native, to launch a physical shopping experience and meet directly our clients. A boutique will offer much more flexibility in testing the retail concepts. We have a great deal of ideas. Remember, Birchbox was the first to install a vending machine of beauty products in train stations. 


Interviewed specifically, Mathilde Gaist, Director of strategic planning at Carré Noir, says : « Make it fun ! Retail is living an exciting period, its has to reinvent itself because there is no choice, facing the GAFAM (Google-Amazon-Facebook-Apple-Microsoft). » Brands playgrounds, that are only possible physically and not online, have been installed by Sephora in France Barcelona, even with indoor slides ! Featuring innovative design, these hyper-connected stores bring customers a unique beauty experience in an unprecedented service-driven environment, perfectly expressing the beauty retailer’s Play, Share and Shop philosophy. More than playgrounds, it is interesting to create collective spaces, for communities to gather. The goal is to help people share information, experience, or emotions with peers. 



Retailers will increasingly rely on technologies 

For JoAnn Martin, vice president of retail industry strategy at JDA, distribution disruptors aim to offer the best client experience despite a lower growth. Human intuition combined to data science will fuel technologies such as machine learning. Augmented Reality and "Magic" Mirrors, In-Store Tablets, Digital Shelf Edge and Interactive Experiences are already foreseen to be the next retail innovation on-site. Most of them could be seen at the exhibition VivaTechnology last June 2018. 


While we might see a few robots talking to shoppers on the shop floor, we expect bots to play a bigger role in supporting retail operations. Companies such as Amazon are investing in robots to help pack and ship items. In 2017, the retail giant had robots in about 20 percent of its fulfillment centers, and we anticipate this number to grow. We’ll also see more robots online, in the form of chatbots. According to Ubisend’s 2017 Chatbot Report which surveyed 2,000 consumers, the “majority of consumers are aware of what a chatbot is (57%) and over a third (35%) want to see more companies using chatbots to answer their questions.”  


Facial Recognition is the new technology in retail stores and online monitor customer eye habits and body language, which can help inform store layouts. The facial monitoring determines customers’ feelings or thoughts on products.  



Technologies now focus on how beauty products make you feel over how they make you look. For example, Sephora launched a makeup test based on personality rather than looks. 

Consider the impact of emotional connections that brands, products and store experiences have on the customer.  

Make it magic ! Retail showrooms enable to live a total immersion, unlike online shopping. It is the best way for a brand to create new memories and emotions. « People – no matter what age – just want to feel good. Retailers should be of support in helping consumers to achieve that » says Mathilde Gaist. « Well-being is ensured by a good sleep ? Let’s try the Capser mattress for a nap in store. Beauty brand Aesop just built a shop in Toulouse (Southern France). The store’s striking centrepiece is a resin sink of sculptural form and exaggerated size, crafted by Dutch artist. It draws immediate attention and tactile exploration, inviting visitors to gather and share a moment with consultants. With a « slasher » mindset, Philipps opened a store offering healthy smoothies, which consistent with its social mission : improve the lives of over 3 billion people a year by 2025. « Cosmetic brands focusing on plant-derived ingredients and nature could organize interactive conferences on permaculture for instance. The idea is to create a program, in line line with the brand positioning.  


Retailers that step up their social media strategies will thrive 

The rise of Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, and messenger apps will fundamentally change how retailers interact with consumers online. Simply posting photos or updates to a branded social profile won't cut it anymore. Retailers will need to up their social media game and use social networks and apps to tell stories and engage with fans in real time. For example, Birchbox uses Facebook Live to share great content and engage with fans. « Make it Instagram-friendly : think a shop or a showroom as a wall of fame » says Mathilde Gaist. 


More than ever, data will (and should) drive retail decisions 

Data’s role in retail decision-making will grow, especially as technologies like Big Data and machine learning continue to mature. Forward-thinking retailers will keep exploring ways to collect data in their sales, marketing, customer service, and operations. After the development of Client Relationship Management (CRM), which transformed the client data analysis dedicated to sales, Product Information Management (PIM). It enables brands to automate data update on an omnicanal approach, ensuring consistency and reactivity. 

We can already see this happening. Walmart is now using machine learning and Big Data in various aspects of its business. Artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are key to collect data. For instance, Klepierre and Microsft are partners to imagine and build the mall of tomorrow. 


Retail has always been a place for observation, social interaction and connection. These emotions matter. It’s not that you don’t have emotional interactions online, but you can amplify the emotional experience in-store. Stores play a key role for communities (surfers, slow life, locavore, girly, technophile…). Mathilde Gaist likes to say that « Niche is the new mass ». She means micro targeting, offering products and services to subculture groups of users. 


eCentime, shopping like a local 

eCentime : how to bring Chinese consumers towards French market ? This company will be represented by M. Sun Yangke at the Cosmetic 360 exhibition on the booth ST26. China is the world’s most active social media market. Chinese in Europe spend an average of nearly 5 hours a day online, and young people have more friends online than they do offline. More importantly, surveys have shown that more than half of Chinese internet users have actively participated in discussions about corporations online. Companies that want to succeed for Chinese consumers have to get into the Chinese oversea community. eCentime helps brands to create the social profile, leading to well expand into all Chinese social network. « Because of the language and cultural differences, Chinese people do not benefit from the French way of life. We had this idea of connecting local brands with the Chinese community present in Europe (living or travelling such as 37 millions people). We propose a daily shopping list with personalized recommendations » explains Hu Zang, co-founder of eCentime. It resolves the problems of trust and authenticity. Chinese customers can buy directly from overseas retailers. 


eCentime is the 1st Franco-Chinese trusted shopping guide community that connect Chinese people in France/Europe with local and European products providers. Through inbound marketing  strategies for Chinese community, it helps engaging the audience with relevant, useful content inside a 3 million Chinese European community application. With a predictive software algorithms, coupled with deep insights into Chinese consumer intent and purchasing habits, good data analysis drive efficiency and smart result. What matters is creating outstanding content at the right moment for right buyer. eCentime hosts an large and dynamic oversea Chinese community to influence users. As a partner of B2B campaigns, eCentime works with different European companies to find potential China markets opportunities, the dedicated team are experts to product recommendation based on brand position and find the right product channels and inhouse strategy. We are the contact points and partners of Chinese cross border e-commerce platform. As a full service B2B consulting marketing service, we combine marketing disciplines to deliver strategies, linkage, communications and designs to match our clients' business aspirations. 


Learn more meet the exhibitors such as eCentime during your visit at Cosmetic 360 exhibition 17-18 October 2018 in Paris. 

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