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E-Tail Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

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January 15, 2019, to February 15, 2019

La Roche-Posay Showcases Its Skin pH Wearable Sensor

L’Oréal is showcasing the prototype of its new skin innovation, My Skin Track pH by La Roche-Posay, at CES 2019. It is a wearable sensor, with a companion app, which measures the skin’s pH levels to generate personalized product regimens. It received a CES 2019 Innovation Award in the Wearable Technology Products category. The skin’s pH balance can lead to skin inflammation and can cause conditions like eczema and atopic dermatitis. The sensor captures trace volumes of sweat from the pores and can generate an accurate reading within a quarter of an hour. It was developed in partnership with Epicore Biosystems. The technology continues the work of L’Oréal and La Roche-Posay in developing tech for skin health, following the personal UV sensor, My Skin Track UV by La Roche-Posay. My Skin Track pH will be launched this year via select La Roche-Posay dermatologists in the US, but the plan is to market the product direct-to-consumer.

Facebook Tries To Counter Claims That Brands Are Moving Away To Other Ad Platforms

Facebook is fighting claims that brands are tiring of the social media platform. It commissioned an Ipsos study that describes how “digitally native vertical brands” and direct-to-consumer brands are using Facebook to engage with consumers and grow sales. The survey found that three in four US businesses that use Facebook posted higher sales growth than non-DNVBs, and also that over two-thirds reported “rapid or consistent revenue growth.” Despite such evidence, some commentators expect brands to distance themselves from Facebook and Instagram because investment in these platforms is inefficient. Some brands are now allocating a greater share of their budgets to programmatic, Snapchat and YouTube. Nik Sharma, head of DTC at VaynerMedia, says that direct-response marketing by D2C and DNVB marketers relies on being able to tell the best story.

Olay Presents A Range Of Beauty Tech At CES 2019

Procter & Gamble’s Olay brand has unveiled a range of innovations at CES 2019, including three updates to its Olay Skin Advisor platform. It is also debuting Olay Labs, a service for personalized software and beauty regimens, and the Olay FaceNavi Smart Wand for diagnostic skin applications. The three Skin Advisor updates, currently rolling out in the US, are: Olay Future You Simulation, for visualizing how the user’s skin and face might look in the future under different assumptions; Olay Whips Simulator, to virtually try on products from the Whips line; and Skin Decoder, a camera attachment for a phone that provides a high-resolution image for diagnosing and tracking skin over time. Olay Labs combines machine learning and human expertise to develop a four-week regime, and the Smart Wand uses electromagnetic technology to send data on the skin to an app, which assesses appropriate ingredients to use on the user’s skin.

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December 15, 2018, to January 15, 2019

The Honey Pot Company Founder Reveals How She Aims To Build The Brand Through Multi-Channel

Beatrice Feliu-Espada, founder of The Honey Pot Company, aims to alter how women shop for feminine care products, and says they are not luxuries but a human right. The products are sold online, direct-to-consumer, and in Target and Whole Foods, as well as on Amazon. She says that important elements include product assortment and innovation. The products are all-natural, free from chemicals, sulfates, parabens and carcinogens, but contain herbs, essential oils and nutraceuticals. The range includes pads and tampons, as well as washes and wipes, sprays and lubricants. Coming soon is a CBD-infused pain salve for menstrual cramps. Other key elements are brand awareness and diversified distribution. In an interview with Forbes, Feliu-Espada said that consumers are becoming smarter and understand better how the products they consume affect their bodies. She also believes that multi-channel is the right approach, but says that she wants the company to become big and believes that means meeting the customers wherever they shop. 

Shopify Aims To Offer A One-Stop Shop For D2C Brands

Shopify, the e-commerce platform underpinning thousands of direct-to-consumer sites, is projecting 2018 sales of over $1 billion. It continues to develop its marketing services and aims to be a one-stop shop. It is moving into paid media, launching a service that enables merchants to run and track campaigns on Google and Facebook. It offers an alternative for brands wary of relying on Amazon, but it cannot currently match the traffic generated by Amazon, which also can handle the merchants’ warehousing and shipping needs. Shopify has developed a point-of-sale platform that enables it to extend its relationship with any brands that are seeking to open physical outlets.

New Beauty App Connects Customers And Top Stylists For Home And Workplace Appointments

Salon iQ, a salon booking system, is partnering with bgX for the London launch of the new bgX app, aimed at arranging for top salon stylists to visit customers’ homes or workplaces, in association with Uber. bgX says it’s the first beauty tech company globally to offer an 'on demand' automated platform for customers and top stylists to connect. 

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December 01, 2018, to December 15, 2018

Digital Brands Are Shaping The Physical Retail Of The Future

Physical retail is fighting back, although with more than a tinge of e-commerce about it. Digital innovation is being used by brick-and-mortar stores to attract customers, partly because the direct-to-consumer e-commerce startups are opening physical stores. Brandless and Glossier have opened pop-up stores, and Glossier now has a New York flagship outlet. Traditional retailers are bringing D2C startups into their stores: for example, Harry’s Razors in Target and Birchbox in Walgreen’s. Other retailers are using a range of digital initiatives. Macy’s is rolling out a ‘store within a store’ in several locations, branded as Facebook and showcasing best-sellers on Instagram. Digitally-native brands have also been using their online experience to bring new approaches to physical retail, such as online fulfillment to minimize in-store inventory and real estate space.

Oral Care Brand quip Is Going Omnichannel, Closed $40 Million Funding Round

Oral care subscription startup quip has announced venture funding of $40 million, supported by its debut in Target, bringing its total funding to date to more than $60 million. The brand has sold over a million of its electric toothbrushes via its direct-to-consumer site in the three years since its launch, and added nationwide distribution in Target in October 2018. It has also acquired Afora, a New York dental care membership plan, in order to offer a less expensive alternative to dental insurance. The acquisition was made by quip Labs, a venture arm for new oral care opportunities. quip’s co-founder and CEO, Simon Enever, said the brand has been working closely with its dental professional network to provide patients with full access to dental products and services in a simpler and more enjoyable way. quip is also looking at other ways to grow subscribers, such as the launch of “Practice program”, in which providers can join quip’s free network to offer quip products and subscription services as a way of attracting new patients. 

Meitu And Secoo Team Up To Grow The Beauty App

Meitu, a company offering a range of image and video apps, including for the beauty industry, has agreed a strategic partnership with Secoo, a luxury online marketplace in China. Secoo TryTry will control various aspects of the Meitu’s beauty app, including promotions, sales and customer service, as well as supply chain operations. The Meitu app uses facial recognition and machine learning, together with an artificial intelligence skin testing platform. The two partners aim to establish a platform for consumers, merchants and services. The deal is an extension of an previous arrangement between the two.

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November 15, 2018, to December 01, 2018

New Subscription Platform Brings Squarespace Closer To One-Stop E-Commerce Offering

Squarespace was launched around 15 years ago as a web hosting service. It now offers a subscription platform to its Commerce Advanced clients. Within five days of the launch, around 400 of its merchant clients had started using it, with beauty one of the top categories for adoption. Lauren Napier Beauty in the UK is one of the brands. It launched on Squarespace in 2014, but focused on selling through third-party retailers, including and Harvey Nichols. In the last few months, it has started to sell DTC. The brand sells facial wipes, a product suited to a subscription offering. 

Sephora And Google Partner To Bring The Home Hub To Beauty Consumers

Google and Sephora have teamed up to bring Sephora’s YouTube content and Google Assistant together on the recently-launched Google Home Hub voice device, which forms part of Google’s voice assistant range, along with Home and Home Mini. It will compete directly with the Echo Show, Amazon’s screen device and Smart Display from Lenovo. Sephora customers will be encouraged to use the Home Hub to find beauty tutorials via voice. Google is responding to the growth in searches for beauty-related videos on YouTube. The collaboration marks the first formal partnership between the two. The Home Hub is available on and will also be sold in 10 flagship stores around the US.

Retailers Are Increasingly Adopting AR Innovation From The Tech Companies

Large retailers are embracing the use of digital technology like virtual and augmented reality to improve their service to beauty consumers. In the US, Target is leveraging AR in its Target Beauty Studio through the YouCam Makeup app from Perfect Corp. Other large retailers in beauty and other categories, like fashion, are also adopting high-tech, including smart mirrors and AR displays. This interest from retailers is being match by innovation from tech companies. Facebook is reportedly developing AR glasses and Microsoft has already launched HoloLens. Google, Apple and Lyft are apparently working on AR platforms too. Next generation AR might not need screens to display images: “spatial computing” could allow images superimposed on the real world.

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October 15, 2018, to November 15, 2018

HiMirror Introduces AI Tool For Use in Shops And Salons

HiMirror is to launch two new interactive AI-based mirrors for retail use in January 2019. Enterprise Lite and Enterprise Pro evaluate the user’s skin care requirements to help beauty consultants in stores and salons recommend skin care products and regime. Users will be able to see if their skin has changed from a previous visit. They can also be customized for different product lines. The mirrors are being trialed by Marionnaud, a retailer in France.

Stores Offer Subscription Services And Recurring Shipments To Attract And Create Loyal Male Customers

Several DTC stores targeted at men have developed subscription and recurring delivery services that allow them to customize and update their preferences. True Sons, which delivers at-home hair dyeing products, lets users set delivery frequency, MeUndies, a $16 per month subscription plan for underwear, allows customers to skip a month whenever they want, and Frank & Oak’s monthly clothing subscription service, Style Plan, allows consumers to return free of charge all selected products for a ‘styling fee’.

Chanel South Korea Launches Online Platform For Cosmetics

In South Korea, Chanel launched an online platform for its cosmetic products and service with a wrapping service and select deliver day option to encourage gifting. Separately, and in an attempt to attract young customers, particularly those in their 20s and 30s, Chanel Korea launched a Coco Game Center pop-up store which features game that feature the Chanel logo.

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October 01, 2018, to October 15, 2018

Virtual Assistants Compete With Each Other For Right To Shape Customer Experience

Today's competition among virtual voice assistants represents a “strategic” battle for customer experience expected to determine the course of consumer marketing in the future. As industries move to adopt virtual assistants, brands need to fully understand how accepting assistant technology truly affects consumers in order to implement required improvements that drive customer experience for the long term. Challenges faced by brands include accurate voice recognition and providing consumers full autonomy over their customer experience.

L'Oreal Faces Need To Rethink Marketing Due To Voice Technology

Voice technology is expected to make L'Oreal rethink some aspects of the beauty company's marketing and branding strategies and practices. According to L'Oreal global ecommerce acceleration director Antoine Borde, these issues include many customers' inability to pronounce the name of brands, such as Maybelline. Related to this, marketers at beauty companies may need to stop using fancy names for their brands.

Second-Generation Chatbots Gain Multi-Language Skills And Enhanced Customer-Facing Capabilities

Chatbot technology has arrived and been accepted by companies and customers alike, with 57 percent of marketing firms using chatbots or planning to start doing so by the end of 2017, according to Forrester. Results of one survey revealed 69 percent of customers prefer interacting with chatbots for immediate contact with brands, while another study found out that 40 percent do not care if contact is with a human or chatbot as long as help is received. Today, the second generation of chatbots, powered by artificial intelligence, shared open-source technologies, and advances in natural language processing, are capable of conversing in multiple languages. These innovations, in turn, help huge corporations and small businesses in managing global operations and providing services to international customers.

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September 15, 2018, to October 01, 2018

Macy’s Announces New Technologies For Better Customer Experience And Partnership With Facebook

Macy’s revealed it is integrating new features, including virtual reality and augmented reality, to improve the experience of consumers shopping for furniture and beauty products. Also, the company said it will join forces with Facebook to bring almost 150 ecommerce brands to the retail chain’s The Market @ Macy’s retail platform. According to the retailer, the partnership will offer participating small businesses and ecommerce brands to take advantage of a Macy’s store environment during the holidays. During the Code Commerce On-Location Event in New York City, Macy’s will highlight several technologies, including virtual and augmented reality furniture shopping, augmented reality for beauty, beauty playground, and radio-frequency identification.

China’s Millennials Fall In Love With Black Tech Beauty Products

Skincare trends, referred to by industry observers as “black tech”, are becoming popular among millennial consumers in China. Three of the leading black-tech product categories are black-tech facial machines, with the ReFa Electronic Roller from Japan as a leading example; black-tech facial cleansers, such as those from Foreo; and black-tech massage boosters, including those from the SK-II brand. Facial rollers from ReFa accounted for 50 percent of the segment’s revenue in 2017, with more than $4 million worth of ReFa machines sold during the November 11 Singles Day shopping festival. Foreo’s facial cleanser became a social media favorite, with many celebrities posting themselves using the product. SK-II launched a massage booster in 2017, selling all of its 10,000 units during the company’s 2017 TMALL Super Brand Day event.

Samsung Joins Estee Lauder To Host 2018 Style Dimension Fashion And Beauty Event

Samsung and beauty giant The Estee Lauder Cos. Inc. joined forces to host the 2018 WWD x Samsung Style Dimension, an industry event highlighting the use of immersive technologies in creating consumer experiences. Held on September 6 and 7, the event also focused on industry trends involving the integration of beauty, fashion, and technology. Unlike its previous editions, the 2018 Style Dimension allowed those who attended the event to buy all the beauty brands on display and to interact with pop-up displays enabled by Samsung’s technologies.

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September 01, 2018, to September 15, 2018

L'Oreal, ModiFace Partner With Facebook To Let Consumers Try Makeup Products Through AR-Enabled Experiences

L'Oreal and its recently purchased augmented reality and artificial intelligence company ModiFace have partnered with Facebook to create AR experiences for consumption by users of the social networking platform's camera products. Featuring a direct and seamless link between Facebook and ModiFace, the partners will deliver AR-based experiences, enabling consumers to virtually try on makeup products from leading beauty brands, including Maybelline, L'Oreal Paris, and NYX Professional Makeup. 

Artificial Intelligence, Related Technologies Drive Growth In Beauty And Personal Care Markets

Artificial intelligence is driving growth and innovations in the beauty industry. With its ability to quantify beauty through biometrics and data analysis, AI offers the “perfect solution” for the industry, according to market analysts. AI, combined with cosmeceuticals, is expected to provide consumers with customized beauty solutions. Leading beauty brands are using AI-based solutions, such as AI chatbots and AI-powered algorithms, to enhance their online capabilities to provide customers with personalized shopping experience. For their part, haircare brands are relying on AI and machine learning algorithms to provide consumers with customized and unique solutions, such as personalized combinations of shampoo and conditioner ingredients. 

Almost Half Of Respondents Prefer To Use Virtual Beauty Advisors, Survey Says

According to a survey of female beauty consumers in the US from Automat, 49 percent of consumers they definitely would or are likely to use a virtual beauty advisor when shopping online or offline. Data revealed consumers prefer to shop with a virtual advisor because they have a hard time making purchasing decisions, with 70 percent of respondents saying they are overwhelmed by available beauty product choices. Among respondents who are likely to use an online beauty advisor, 84 percent prefer communicating with chat or text, with 43 percent saying they prefer retailers' websites as the channel for contacting virtual advisors. 

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August 01, 2018, to September 01, 2018

Virtual Beauty Try-Ons Could Be Available In-Flight

Augmented reality tools are becoming mainstream in travel retail stores in airports around the world. Sunglass Hut had a “magic mirror” in its store in Queen’s Terminal, London Heathrow, some four years ago. The trend is being extended to the airports’ beauty stores. Last year, the Lancôme holiday pop-up In Singapore Changi’s Terminal 3 allowed users access to the AR makeover app, Virtual Mirror, and in the new Terminal 2 building at Incheon International Airport in South Korea, Lancôme and Chanel stores are using interactive and virtual tools. AR technology in the duty-free shops is getting more sophisticated, and it could be extended to the air too, with travelers “trying on” and buying products in-flight. Qantas and Air France are among airlines testing AR entertainment systems.

IBM’s Blockchain Program Seeks To Eliminate Food Fraud By Partnering With Producers And Retailers

Announced in August 2017, IBM’s Food Trust is a blockchain-enabled cloud-based system designed to help retailers determine the sources of food contamination. Counting 10 food producers and retailers, including Dole, Driscoll’s, and Kroger, among its partners, the system uses blockchain to link the members using a “transparent, permanent and shared record” of the “most urgent areas” in the global food supply chain. At present, the IBM Food Trust system accounts for more than 350,000 food data transactions, covering dozens of food products, such as vegetables, meats, and spices.

L’Oréal And Facebook Team Up For AR Makeup Experience Using Modiface

L’Oréal, using its recently-acquired ModiFace solution, is collaborating with Facebook on creating an augmented reality makeup try-on experience through the social media platform’s camera products. Facebook says this brings AR into the mainstream. L’Oréal’s Chief Digital Officer, Lubomira Rochet, said that the two companies share a belief that AR is becoming an increasingly crucial way for consumers to discover brands and products.

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June 15, 2018, to August 01, 2018

Sniph Partners With Retailer Harvey Nichols To Launch In-Store Service

Sniph, a perfume subscription box service company, has launched its service in high-end retailer Harvey Nichols stores in London. Part of the company’s efforts to expand its operations in the UK, the move will let customers of the retailer try the service by purchasing a fragrance box for £14 or signing up for a Sniph subscription. According to the company, the in-store service will be available by October 3, 2018.

L’Oreal’s New Tool Measures Digital Media’s Marketing Effectiveness In Real Time

L’Oreal partnered with cloud services provider Domo to create the cockpit, a tool designed to measure the return on investment and productivity of its digital media assets. Also, the beauty brand said the tool is developed to allow it to see which digital media investments are working in real time and help the company decide on where to spend. Cockpit monitors more than 20,000 data sources in real time by using metrics, including share of voice, and performance measures, such as fraud, viewability, and CPM. 

Lush Launches Limited Edition Products Chosen By Online Communities

Direct-to-consumer cosmetics brand Lush has launched a new concept, offering limited runs of old and new products, chosen by the brand’s communities and “super fans” on social media. ‘Community Products’ is a way of using consumer engagement to support innovation. Each product will be launched as a limited edition and produced only in small batches, available first and exclusively on the UK website, and later extended to other markets globally over the summer.
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