For over a century, L’Oreal has been a standard-bearer for beauty and glamor. Now, it has also stands out as an early adopter of “New Retail” in China–an innovative business model that weaves online and offline shopping into one seamless interactive experience for consumers.
As part of the rev-up for Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, the cosmetic giant this year, in collaboration with Tmall.com, rolled out several cutting-edge technologies to engage with Chinese customers, offering an upgraded shopping experience whether browsing at an existing brick-and-mortar shops, one of the six Pop-Up Smart Stores in five major cities or in front of a computer or phone screen.
Here is a look at L’Oreal’s “New Retail” approach:
- FIRST-EVER FASHION SHOW FROM CHAMPS ELYSEES – In early October, Tmall customers had an unparalleled opportunity to “participate” in a fashion show held for the first time ever on the Champs-Élysées, a universally known boulevard synonymous with prestige, luxury and elegance. The show featured “A-listers,” such as American actress Jane Fonda, Oscar winner Helen Mirren, and Chris Lee, one of the most popular pop stars in China. It was broadcast live exclusively and replayed on Tmall.com. Viewers were able to see the entire show in 360 degrees, simply by moving their phones. To date, over 4.5 million people have watched the show.“Thanks to e-commerce and thanks to Alibaba technology, we can literally bring Paris to the Chinese consumers,” said Stéphane Rinderknech, the company’s China Chief Executive Officer.Adding to the exclusivity was the debut of Balmain’s newest lipstick collection on Tmall.com designed specially for 11.11 customers.
- MAGIC MIRROR – With the help of Alibaba’s augmented-reality technology, L’Oreal has installed an interactive device at its Shanghai, Wuhan, and Changsha boutique shops and several pop-up stores. With it, visitors can “try on” different types of makeup by simply looking into the screen and tapping on a selection of hues that appears at the bottom.Customers can see in the “magic mirror” what they look like with a certain shade of lipstick or blush. They can play around with colors until they find the one that best suits them. Once they do, from the same touchscreen, they can immediately order from L’Oreal’s flagship store on Tmall.com, and the product will be delivered to their doorstep.The company said this technology, also available through L’oreal’s Tmall flagship store online, not only allows customers to test out different shades in a short amount of time, it also adds an extra layer of confidence and assurance for the customers that what they buy is what best suits them.
- VIRTUAL GUIDE – By using location-based technology, members of L’Oreal’s Tmall store can receive a push alert on their phones letting them know where the closest L’Oreal counter is. This kind of path-finding technology means, via the Tmall app on their phones, shoppers can easily find a store where they can get personal, real-time, one-on-one beauty tips from a makeup artist at the counter. Moreover, customers will receive discount coupons they can use on the spot.
- “CATCH THE CAT” – This augmented reality mobile game developed by Alibaba illustrates how brands can benefit from the melding of technology and entertainment in retail. It’s a way to bolster consumer engagement. The location-based game lets Taobao and Tmall app users move within their real-world surrounding as they try to capture an avatar—the Tmall black cat mascot — within the game’s map. Players can also earn special promotion prizes and coupons for the L’Oreal online flagship store.
- MAKEUP VENDING MACHINE – For mall-goers who know exactly what moisturizer or foundation they want buy, but don’t want the hassle of dealing with a beauty adviser at the counter, L’Oreal unveiled its own vending machines at several pop-up stores. They’re stocked with everything from Lancôme perfume, to lipsticks and toners. Shoppers can pay for items on the spot by scanning a QR code with their phones.