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Period: September 1, 2018 to September 15, 2018
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

AI Hype And Reality Differs In Marketing

Artificial intelligence holds great potential for understanding and attracting consumers yet many marketers are still unable to capitalize on it. Some 85% of executives say AI could give their company a competitive edge yet only 5% of companies have extensively integrated AI into their processes. The gap between the hope and the reality is due the lack of clarity about what AI can do for their business, underlined by the fact that 61% of companies say they do not have an AI strategy in place. Some of the uncertainty surrounding AI can be attributed to AI vendors who, instead of delivering ready-to-action insights, are developing products to solve problems.

"How AI is Turning the Voice of the Consumer into Marketing Analytics Gold", MarTech Advisor, May 11, 2018

Facebook, Instagram Invest To Help Beauty Companies Reach Consumers

Facebook and Instagram are emerging as powerful platforms for sellers of beauty products. Both platforms are rich with beauty content and Facebook (which owns Instagram) is investing to help beauty companies reach beauty consumers. AI, and especially its face recognition software, is enabling Facebook to better target user interests. It is also letting businesses have “real-time, one-to-one conversations with their customers over Messenger” (Karin Tracy, head of industry for beauty, fashion, luxury and retail, Facebook). Instagram Stories proved an effective way to deliver fun and behind-the-scenes content to young, mobile users. The number of followers on IS has grown rapidly, now standing at 300 million with more than a third of the most viewed stories provided by businesses. Facebook is also beta testing and trialing with Sephora an AR-enabled camera effects for use in Messenger. 

"Facebook Builds Beauty Without Boundaries", Women’s Wear Daily, May 29, 2018

Beauty Brands Should Consider AI, Personalization, To Adapt To Industry Changes

Beauty brands should take advantage of developments such as artificial intelligence, personalization, and the rise of indie brands in order to adapt to a changing market. According to Terry Young of Sparks & Honey, beauty brands should try to emulate the success of Instagram, Amazon, and Netflix by thinking “exponentially" rather than incrementally to create a competitive edge in the industry. Young, who is the CEO of the cultural consultancy company, said brands can achieve a 10X status by offering more personalized experiences, customized products, and actively engaging smaller brands in the fragmented, yet rapidly growing, marketplace. 

"Beauty Needs to Keep Up With the Speed of Change", Women’s Wear Daily, May 29, 2018

Traditional Search Is Still Consumers’ First Choice For Shopping, Not Voice Aides

In a survey of over 1,000 U.S. consumers last month, RichRelevance found that 86 percent of shoppers preferred typical search functions such as search bars over voice assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. Moreover, 72 percent of participants said they would leave the website if it lacked a ‘strong’ search tool, while 80 percent confirmed that they use the search bar exclusively when shopping online. Consumer focus on traditional search also points to the slow integration of voice aides in retailers’ websites. In fact, 70 percent of participants have not used voice assistants yet, with 63 percent of consumers saying that they don’t have faith in industry leaders such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. “With many retailers looking to go beyond last-generation keyword-based search, brands and retailers would be best served by focusing on personalization and image search while positioning themselves to win with any developments in voice-based search,” added Mike Ni, chief ...  More

"Consumers Use Siri, Alexa for Daily Tasks, Not Shopping", Women’s Wear Daily, June 04, 2018

Voice Assistants Used by 20% Of EU Consumers, Set To Grow Strongly

Mastercard Inc. reports that one in five customers in the European Union used voice aides such as Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa and similar chatbots. Conversational commerce is expected to rise strongly and Mastercard projects that by 2022 it will make up 6 percent ($40 billion) of all online expenditure in the US. Additional research says that 16 percent of EU residents made payments using voice assistants and 7 percent performed banking using the same technology. Voice-powered commerce poses an additional threat to physical stores that are already struggling because of online shopping. But for consumers, voice provides an opportunity for “faster, easier, and more convenient [shopping] experiences,” said Ann Cairns, vice chairman of payments company Mastercard. 

"Voice Aides Like Alexa Used by 20% of EU Shoppers, Survey Says", Bloomberg, June 04, 2018

Voice Faces Significant Barriers As A Marketing And Shopping Tool

Drum Agency chief strategy officer, Dave Randolph, is skeptical virtual assistants will quickly have a massive impact on shopping. He claims technology, notably AI and bandwidth, are too inadequate for consumers to meaningfully interact with voice-activated devices. He also points out that many of the worries raised about voice-shopping – loss of visual cues, ability of Amazon to promote its own products, importance of ratings – are all factors already faced online. He suggests that marketers do not need to ‘fully dive in’ until voice technology advances greatly, becomes more ubiquitous and offers much more significant benefits to consumers.

"Why voice isn't poised to take over the marketing world — yet", Marketing Dive, June 14, 2018

US Voice Shopping Expected To Reach $40 Billion By 2022

Consumers mostly use voice-shopping for products in groceries, clothing, electronics, and entertainment but analysts expect voice-activated shopping to grow rapidly as consumers use it to buy a wider range of goods. Currently shoppers typically buy “low-consideration goods” and products customers have bought before, but Capgemini executive vice president Mark Taylor believes consumers will buy “high-consideration” items in the future as they become more comfortable with voice shopping. eMarketer found that 36 percent of consumers in the US like the idea of voice shopping and Capgemini expects it to be the “dominant” mode of making online purchases in a few years. OC&C Strategy Consultants projects that in the US the voice-shopping market will grow from $2 billion today to $40 billion by 2022.

"‘It’s like Star Trek’: voice-activated shopping tipped to become US$40 billion industry in US by 2022", South China Morning Post , June 17, 2018

Removing Impediments To Voice Shopping

AI-based voice communication is popular for accessing information, playing music and podcasts, but has yet to become ubiquitous for shopping. Professor Rahul Kapoor and Ron Adner suggests looking at the entire ecosystem of a new technology – device, voice AI, apps, personal data… - to understand how benefits are delivered and where bottlenecks lie. Denise Dahlhoff points out that while there is an extensive array of devices that support voice-assisted shopping, software components remain undeveloped. With Amazon’s solution so aligned with its core business, Dahlhoff recommends that retailers work with Google Assistant, just as Target, Walmart, Ultra Beauty and others have already done. Through mitigating shopping chores by leveraging personal data and using screens with voice to make shopping easier, Dahlhoff believes voice shopping will take off. 

"Shopping by Voice a Hard Sell for Consumers", Strategy+Business, June 25, 2018

Sephora Employs Five Digital Tools To Give Customers Personalized Omni-Channel Experience

Beauty retailer Sephora uses five ways to provide customers with personalized services and tools, according to chief engineering officer Raghu Sagi. With everything starting with what the customer wants, the company lets customers virtually try on products through its Virtual Artist virtual reality tool. Launched in 2017, the Beauty Insider Community provides a virtual social network for customers, allowing them to link up with each other, ask questions, and receive recommendations. Whenever a customer approaches a Sephora store, the company's mobile app becomes the Store Companion tool which offers customers tips and product recommendations. 

"5 ways Sephora creates a seamless customer experience", National Retail Federation, July 23, 2018

L'Oreal Innovation Contest For Startups Focuses On Three Categories

L'Oreal Innovation Runway, the beauty company's startup challenge, will focus on three categories: personalized beauty experiences, sustainable innovations, and performance materials and products. South Korea-based Sketchon joined the L'Oreal Innovation Runway 2017, receiving research and development support and mentorship from the beauty company. In March 2018, L'Oreal acquired Modiface, which uses facial recognition and augmented reality to let consumers have a realistic preview of how a beauty product would look on them when applied. New Zealand-based Ethique's sustainable innovations include making and selling solid bar soaps, shampoos, and conditioners and earth-friendly packaging. 

"3 ways tech is changing the beauty industry", Tech In Asia, July 26, 2018

HiMirror Mini Comes In Small Package With Impressive List Of Smart Features

Equipped with most of the features that came with the original HiMirror smart mirror, the HiMirror Mini comes in a smaller package and includes a built-in stand. In smart mode, the mirror functions like a tablet computer with a full-features touchscreen. It lets users login to their wifi, it responds to commands, and can navigate the system using touch. HiMirror Mini comes with YouTube built in, allowing users to play back online videos of makeup tutorials and other beauty tips. Other built-in apps include Facebook and Instagram. 

"HiMirror's Smart Beauty Mirror Lets You Watch Tutorials As You Do Your Makeup", Elite Daily, July 31, 2018

L'Oreal USA Innovation Head Bort Discusses How Innovations Drive Her Company

L'Oreal USA manager of digital innovation and entrepreneurship, Samantha Bort, said she keeps abreast of the latest developments in technology and innovation by getting information from different sources. Also, she always thinks of herself as the consumer before the marketer and looks at the reason why a technology exists and how it will improve the consumer experience. Bort said her company has been using artificial intelligence to personalize the consumer experience at scale. She considers conversational commerce as one of the most exciting innovations, as well as blockchain and how it can be applied to the beauty industry. 

"Q&A: L'Oréal USA innovation boss on new tech and conversational commerce", The Drum, August 02, 2018

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. 

"Beauty shoppers want virtual advisors", Business Insider, August 03, 2018

Beauty Industry Embraces Augmented And Virtual Reality Technologies As Marketing, Customer Service Tools

Beauty brands are using augmented reality and virtual reality technologies to create customized strategies for differentiating themselves from the competition and for selling products and services. For example, makeup expert Charlotte Tilbury introduced a “Magic Mirror”, an AR-enabled device that lets users see their face wearing Tilbury's 10 beauty looks, when she launched her new Beauty Wonderland at Dubai Mall. Another sign of the growing importance of technology for beauty brands was L'Oreal's acquisition of AR mirrors pioneer ModiFace. 

"Is hyper reality the future of the beauty industry?", Khaleej Times, August 03, 2018

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. 

"How Artificial Intelligence is Adding Glitter to the Beauty Industry", Analytics Insight, August 07, 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. 

"L'Oreal's ModiFace launches long-term Augmented Reality collaboration with Facebook", L’Oreal, August 09, 2018

Developed by Yuri Ingultsov Software Lab.