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Applications of New Technologies to Further Customer Base for Luxury Cosmetics Brands

How can luxury cosmetics brands activate their customer base using new technologies?

My researches

 

Why I decided to treat with this subject?

I decided to treat with this subject because it is a combination of two things/domains which I am very interested in. I am passionate about cosmetics for seven years now. I follow blogs, v-blogs, and specialized magazines in order to be also aware of new trends in term of cosmetics. This is a subject very trifling but I need an escape in this world which is not very glorious nowadays …

On the other hand, I really like new technologies; this is something which captivate me. I am also impressed of what engineers can invent each month and year. Just in ten years, all the changes and evolutions are impressive. In term of way of life with smartphones, computers, transportations, sustainable development, in marketing, in business in general, etc.

The idea to do some researches about these two elements was an opportunity to improve my knowledge in it and be an expert after that.

I would like to read this memoir in five or ten years and observe all the evolution for the time I am writing in.  And I hope during the time I am writing it I will discover some new technologies and future trends that I can develop in my professional life.

How I proceed to write this dissertation?

To begin this dissertation, I made a statement on the growing evolution of new technologies in our lives. Then, I looked at a personal passion that is cosmetics in general as well as luxury. This world amazes me with these changes and stories. I then wondered what was going to be able to motivate and combine these two aspects that intrigue me so much. What can be the evolutions, the expectations, the opportunities and the possibilities, what can be applied to luxury cosmetic market, the threats of these two worlds, which appeared so different a few years ago, and which are now indispensable to each other. Very quickly, the intention to carry out a quantitative study to guide this dissertation has been clarified, but always with the desire to speak and question professionals in this sector. To conclude this study, I compared the results of my research on the Internet with the results obtained from my survey. To summarize this thesis is the result of: my experience and interests, experience sharing with professionals, written press articles and internet, books and a survey.

One of the difficulty was, the rapidity; new technologies are moving so fast that in six months of writing this thesis, some new technologies appears in the luxury cosmetic sector.

Introduction

The luxury cosmetics and new technologies is a subject of constant evolution. We are used to hear this sentence for each subject but this sector is moving very fast. Cosmetics are changing in term of components, patents, packaging, formulation but not necessary in services.

In the world of luxury, the importance is to be aware of everything, be the pioneers in everything. Never copy but innovate or innovate on the past. Well, innovation is the key to success in all industries but what can be improved? How? for what? and for what kind of results?

Customers are looking for experience, especially in Luxury. The luxury market is changing and has to evolve with the time and this is the subject of the dissertation. Is it allowed to be inspired by other industries? Is it possible to apply new technologies in every sector, everywhere in the world?

The dissertation will treat at the same time human aspects, economic ones and cultural ones. Luxury is not only money or quality this is a fascinated world who implies all of different dimensions: professional, human and aesthetics.

During this dissertation I will argue all my words thanks to own knowledge, articles on the internet or newspapers, international and financial reports, my classes, visiting lecturers and questionnaires. The majority of the arguments will be based on an occidental point of view.

The objective of this dissertation is to analyse and find a real future for luxury cosmetics by asking myself the following question: How can luxury cosmetics brands activate their customer base using new technologies?

And for that I will firstly analyse the current situation of the luxury market, with a focus on cosmetics but also on new technologies, consumer behaviour etc. Then I will see what is possible on this market in term of evolution and according to the expectations. Finally, I will analyse my results thanks to all of by collected data.

You cannot buy luxury, you live it. The only thing is to know how.

1.         The different current situations according the markets

1.1         Luxury Market

1.1.1        Customer profile

 

1.1.1.1       Difference between customer and consumer

The difference between these two words is quite difficult for some of non-English persons. These two words are more often used inter-changly. The customer is the person who does the action of purchase; he/she is the buyer. The consumer is the person who will use the product. The customer is not necessarily the person who will use and enjoy the product, but it can be. A consumer can also be a customer. Just for an example, with children, the parents buy the products/toys but children enjoy them. For brands the difference can be ambiguous. They have to find the right person to attract. It can be two different targets at this point.

1.1.1.2       Different consumers’ profile

It exists different luxury shopper profiles and in order, to have a better understanding we will detail and analyse them.

First of all, we will introduce the Omnivore profile. This shopper profile represents 25% of the total spending, they usually spend 2350€ per year. About their attitude, they are very curious and compulsive. They are interested in brands and their purchase will determine their status. This profile corresponds more to women and this is a young segment because they are around 30 years old and 40, they are considered as new entrants to luxury. They typically are interested in jewellery and watches and they prefer to shop in retail store rather than wholesale, they like brand’s own stores. They are influenced by social networks and bloggers. For them, luxury is a real state of mind. This segment is not very loyal to a specific brand; they can be considered as volatile clients. They have a preference for aspirational brands.

On a second hand, we can introduce the Opinionated, as the others, they have very specific characteristics. They highly represent 20% of the total consumer profiles. The main characteristic is that this profile is very well educated, about the product, about the brand, about the core values, about the results and functions of the product, etc. And because they know everything, they also are very influenced by what they can find on the Internet: all the social media, online information and influencers. And because they can be influenced by external person, they also easily recommend or luxury product to relatives and friends. They also are very interested in new technologies.  The three things that motivate an Opinionated are: quality, durability and exclusivity, that is why they are mainly interested in watches and leather goods for example. This profile can have an interest for us, they are composed by people from de Generation X and the generation Y, that means people from 40 years old and younger. This is interested to see that Opinionated are located in China, in Western Europe countries and in the United States of America which are quite matured markets.

Then, in a top down order, we can talk about a category of consumer which corresponds to 13% of the total spending, the Investors. They can be considered as the rational consumer profile because they like to buy qualitative and durability products, this is also can be true for services. The last fact can be explaining by the one that this category of people is mainly represented by baby-boomers. This is true that baby-boomers or older people like to purchase, qualitative goods, first for them, for a personal utility, and then the goal is to hand the product from generation to the next generation. Investor never has impulsive purchase, each purchase is measured, well thought out, organised and planned. As for the two first categories, we can locate them, there are in mature markets/countries such as Japan. This category won’t buy hard luxury goods but more accessible brands, and they will be highly loyal to them. As we can analyse in the everyday life, even if they are not so young they are more and more interested in technologies and online devices.

We can move to the other category, which is completely different from the others. The hedonist, this is a general word that we are used to ear, more and more in our everyday life, and this is because, more of a category, it is a real trend and way of life. Hedonists are here to complete self-desire and self needs. They can be considered as the “show-off” category, whether it be indoor or outdoor. They also like to show off during the process of purchase, Hedonist represents 12% of the total luxury spending with an average of 1,100€ spent per year.

Visible logo, brands, characteristics and status are what motivate a hedonist. A hedonist will spend his money more easily for personal luxury goods, shoes or watches. Also, something that we heard a lot is he shopping experience. For a hedonist people, the shopping experience is sometimes more important than the product itself, even if they really like to show it off, that is why they really like to be attended by a personal shopper, as an example. Hedonist is a common word all around the world, no special nationalities or ages can differ for this.

The conservative people are less interested in luxury, hard or aspirational but more about mainstream products, which also can be define in this case by high-end products and services. For example, they are really influenced by the price, which is something non common in luxury. This is why they really like to purchase from big-name brands especially when it is for watches and jewelry and they prefer purchase in multi-brands places/stores such as Galeries Lafayette or Printemps for examples. Conservatives are equally represented by men and women, more often in mature markets but we also find a proportion of them in China for example. Family and friends are really important for them, and most of the time they are, first, influenced by them. Finally, they will be more comfortable to purchase luxury goods for gifting rather than for themselves.

The next category of people is the Disillusioned; they only represent 9% of the total luxury spending. They are the one who are the most detached to luxury, in fact they some of them think that luxury is not necessary and promote the exit of it. This can be explaining by the fact that they are mainly represented by women and in very matured markets such as in Japan, Europe and the United States of America, where luxury exist for centuries. Matured markets for matured consumers, baby boomers are disillusioned shoppers. This category is quite well-known because we can guess by all I said previously that they prefer buy qualitative product and which last in a significant time; this is what drives their purchases in general. Even if they are a little bit annoyed by luxury they really prefer iconic brands with a big heritage, story and background. Something which is surprising from disillusioned people is that there is a trend that they like to purchase online, they are considered as connected baby-boomers. Leather goods and beauty/cosmetics products is what they prefer to buy and own, as mentioned before they want products which can last through seasons.

Last but not least the seventh category of luxury shoppers is the Wannabe. They are the people who spend the least, with an average of 500€ per year. Wannabe are also known as fashionistas. As the Conservatives shoppers, Wannabe are influenced and highly sensitive by the price, affordable products are the best. As everybody can guess, Fashionista are mainly represented by women who like to buy entry-level shoes, clothes and beauty items. They are not in found of luxury, they can succeed by matching luxury products and non-luxury ones. They highly prefer big ready-to-wear brands. The idea is the status that the product reflects to the others. They prefer to go shopping in group or with a friend, because they like to have the opinion of the entourage. About influence, they are on social media and find inspiration on them and it is quite easy to influence them through it.  Brands have to be very powerful on a digital point for this category, Wannabe find the Internet as a convenient tool. Brands also have to have a good strategy because Fashionistas are not very loyal to brands. Finally, we can easily find this category of people everywhere in the world, but more in the United States of America, the new consumers from Eastern Europe and the well-educated one from the Western Europe.

All of these categories can be included and recognized in this thesis because they have a direct or indirect link in what we are going to discuss in it. In fact, all the stereotypes, if we can call it like that are interested for us. New technologies are very important for the Opinionated people, for the Hedonist it is really essential to live an experience, more than the action of purchase. The quality of the goods is more than anything else for the Disillusioned. Finally, the importance for Wannabe to show off as for the Hedonists are really important, but also the aspirational and affordable luxury.

Finally, we also can mention a category of people which is quite new on the cosmetic market. Men. In fact, we already know them on the market because they are used to buy perfumes and skin care for their beard (shave foam and aftershave products). However, we will analyse them more in depth later.

1.1.2        Trends on luxury market

Luxury cosmetics are considered, most of the time as aspirational and accessible luxury. In fact, there is a “pyramid” of segmentation about price and values in Luxury.

All the difference between the three dimensions: Absolute, Aspirational, Accessible; from the most expensive to the more accessible, cheapest.

All the brands on a particular market in luxury can be placed on a category. Here are some examples: for watches with a ranking like this swatch is less expensive than Tissot, which is less expensive then Tag Heuer, which is more accessible than Patek Philippe. There are more examples on Annex 1.

Nowadays, in luxury more than in other different markets, the rapidity of purchase is way too essential for customer.  In fact over 1/3 clients claim to give up their purchase if they find the queue or the wait too long. But, a particularity, in Luxury, clients can wait, but not wait for a service, they can admit to wait to receive their products. For example, a woman can wait months for her Hermès Kelly bag, or a client can wait months and months a LALIQUE decorative object because everything is handmade and there is a real savoir-faire behind this. The wait is accepted.  Customers are waiting for a unique experience; it can be through the service or through the product. Sometimes the service, exceed the product. Also people like to be awarded for their loyalty, it is important to be recognize in a boutique, called by your family name, be invited to exclusive parties, and receive some advantages, exclusives advantages. The way they will discover the product, the way the advisor will bring the product have to be part of the experience, like something unique, extraordinary. This is what we call the human dimensions. But this is something which can be more difficult in luxury cosmetic then in jewelry or watches for comparison. 

To go deeper in figures, Bain & Company 2016 report analyse all the trends.

The overall luxury market is about €1 trillion in 2016 with a little slow down for the second consecutive year, with only 4% growth between the 2015 and the 2016 year. We can easily observe that the 4% of growth can be explain by an significant growth for luxury cars and cruises, in hospitality, and a good epicurean growth with food, wines and spirits. This 4% of growth is balanced by the considerable decrease of 5 points concerning private jets and 1 point in personal luxury goods. The difference between the other categories is that there are different categories inside the personal luxury goods ones, but we will see it later in the thesis.

As mentioned before, personal luxury goods are composed by five different categories which are beauty with cosmetics, hard luxury with jewellery for example, apparel which concerns clothes and fashion and accessories with handbags, shoes and leather goods. The biggest growth between 2015 and 2016 concerns the beauty category but the biggest growth for the past six years is for the luxury accessories items with a growth of ten points between 2010 and 2016. The key vendors, according Cision are Christian Dior, Estee Lauder Companies, L’Oréal, Luxottica, LVMH, and Ralph Lauren. Some of them will be mentioned just after because they took a major part in the world of luxury cosmetics. The case of hard luxury which decreases about five points in one year can be explained by a massive drop of Swiss watches.

Cosmetics are the category in which we can observe the biggest growth between 2012 and 2015. This can easily mean that there is the biggest potential there if the sector wants to keep this first position. 

1.1.3        Luxury cosmetics

 

1.1.3.1       What are luxury cosmetics? Definition

We can define cosmetics as “any substance or preparation intended to be placed in contact with the various external parts of the human body (epidermis, hair system, nails, lips and external genital organs) or with the teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity with a view exclusively or mainly to cleaning them, perfuming them, changing their appearance and/or correcting body odours and/or protecting them or keeping them in good condition”[1]

We can also list a certain number of products: powder, foundation, lipsticks, eye shadow, mascara, concealer, shampoo, hair conditioner, perfume, soaps, masks, lotion, tooth pastes, fake tanning, etc.…

1.1.3.2       Example of brands

The world of cosmetics is conducted by some major actors, there are LVMH luxury French group with Benefit Cosmetics, Fresh, Kenzo Perfumes, Givenchy Perfumes, Guerlain, Make Up for Ever (professional brand), Christian Dior Perfumes, Perfumes Loewe, Acqua di Parma. There is also the Estee Lauder group, which is an American group with brands such as Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Mac (professional brand), Estée Lauder, BECCA, Bumble and Bumble, Darphin, DKNY Fragrances, Glamglow, Aveda, Jo Malone London, La Mer, Le Labo, Michael Kors Beauty, Origins, Smashbox, to mention only these.

And the third main actor in cosmetics there is L’Oréal group, the French cosmetic group which own luxury cosmetics brands, and brand dedicated to the mass market. In term of luxury L’Oréal owns Lancôme, Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent, Biotherm, Ralph Lauren, Urban Decay, Clarisonic, Shu Uemura, Diesel, Helena Rubinstein, Yue Sai, Maison Martin Margiela, Proenza Schouler, Kiehl’s, Viktor & Rolf, etc.

Following the top 10 of cosmetics brands, included luxury and non-luxury cosmetics brands made by Brand Finance.

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We also classified them by very established brands and new edgy/start up brands. In cosmetics, Estée Lauder is an established brand such as Lancôme or Dior or Chanel and so on. But some of new edgy brands came to with world with a real added value/USP. With the example of Le Labo, Candora, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Fresh, Kilian, Aerin, Rodin, Yue Sai, etc which as the beginning was created to be independent. Big groups have seen the light and acquired this young and little brand to galvanize and rejuvenate their offer. This permits to these brands to have more ambition and budget to develop their products and communication tools. However, their strategy looks different from implemented cosmetics brands and they still want to keep, for the moment, the status of exclusivity and scarcity. For the moment, it is Esthee Lauder group which owns the biggest number of small/edgy/trendy brands.   

1.1.3.3       New type of consumers for cosmetics

If there is something in trends nowadays in cosmetics, is a new type of customer. 29 billion euros. It is what brought back the world market of the male cosmetic in 2014 according to Euromonitor. Perfumes, hygiene products and skincare take from now on almost so much place as the affairs of madam in the bathroom. The democratization of beauty practices at the men is underway.

« That began with deodorants and shower gels, then mosses and shaving gels, and now they are facial skincare, decipher Patrick Kullenberg managing director of the brand Biotherm. The fluids, the creams, the lotions to hydrate the skin are under presses in Europe, only a third of the men uses them. “Many thus remain to seduce, and this opportunity would not know how to be ignored by the market players. A question of context. “The men’s market considers three times as fast as that of the women. There is there an enormous potential! Today, the modern man wants to be attractive, to seduce and to feel confident “[2]. These last ten years, the attitude of the men towards the appearance changed. The economy became more competitive, it is more and more important to present at best and thus to take care of the skin. It is what people see at first, the face, it is necessary to have the healthy and not tired air.

Sets of shelves for males do not thus stop increasing, while respecting a creation produces based on the new technologies. Besides the constant development of novelties produced, the men are encouraged to consume cosmetics via the advertising.

Back to basics: From now on, males also have their muses to whom to compare as the actor Ryan Reynolds, who praises the virtues of Men Expert L’Oréal Paris or the swimmer Camille Lacourt, image of Clarins Men. The fact that men became, just like the women, target of the big cosmetics brands constitutes a progress? Is it a step towards legality or is it regrettable?

What is certain, it is that historically men were always interested in their beauty. The multiplication of cosmetics in the bathroom of the men is thus only a just return of things. The circle is completed.

Men’s fragrances and grooming represent 11% of the total cosmetic market. Which is a significant part nowadays. The 11% is mainly composed by the skin care products in which Asian Pacific men are attracted.

Men highly prefer skincare composed with natural ingredients; they think it is better for their skin. Also they will easily buy products, cosmetics products if this one is composed with vitamins. More and more sensible about the ingredients, and water-free products, which if it is possible do not have to be rinsed, they care about water scarcity. To give some figures, from the Organic Monitor, men are looking for natural ingredients in their skin care products for 42% of them, 62% want dermatologically tested products, 52% of them hope certified organic product and finally 51% wants special products made for sensitive skins.  All of these trends can be explained by different things. Firstly, from few years now, the “hipster” trend. The idea is to have the most beautiful beard and hair as possible, thick, silk, long, maintained, sculpted, etc. For that you have to take care of it, but with products, and if possible, green products. This trends comes from Scandinavian countries (Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, etc.), where green and natural ingredients take a major part in their way of life.

1.2         Brand activation

Brand activation is a marketing words, it is also a new word in business. The brand activation is the process of attract the consumer to your brand through campaign, events, promotion, digital campaigns. This final process is the one you will interest us the most during this dissertation. Brand activation permits to consumers/customers to find your new products and re-launched products. The brand activation is a strong connection built between the brand and the customers which permit to him to proceed to the purchase action. In certain words, this is a way to educate our clients. The goal of a brand activation strategy is not necessarily an increase of purchase but more about the human dimension, the goal is to increase the brand image, the brand loyalty.

We can split the process of brand activation in five steps: start with what do you want from your customer, what is your audience and what they currently think about you, plan your objectives, what is your power in the brand activation, think about the future and try to know what will be possible in the future with this action, the continuity.

The brand activation aims at developing a sustainable and emotional link between the customer and the brand by putting the customer experience at the heart of the reflection. The objective of the leading activation is to generate some commitment for booster sales. The brand activation works in the form of annual program integrated to develop the synergies. It consists in organizing multiple speaking on all the touch relevant points so inside as outside of the point of sale. If the message has to remain coherent, the speaking has to be adapted according to the public, the timing and the environment.

The idea for brands is to find a solution attract more potential consumers, this is going to change the perceptions of the brand and create a consideration for the brand and why not an engagement. Brands, as mentioned earlier, have to make this symbiosis through events, and ideas to switch potential clients to clients to loyal customers. Organizing original and special events is one of the them, people can be bored to be invited and attend to events which are the same from a brand to another, they want to live unique experience through events and the more you are going to be original, the more the customer will remember you and associate your brand to this event. During this events you have to give to the client the possibility to try products, and push them to ask question about products and the brand, this is the best way to convince, brands have to engage the client in the event, he is not a guest, he is a participant. At the end, the goal for the attendee is to be engaged and let him know more about the brand and its specifications.

Today, this activation can be done thanks to the blend of physical and digital elements which we will analyse in detail later. According to Andrew Broadbent, “the purpose is to reach people on multiple levels: emotional, rational and psychological”. The entire article analysed on annex 1.

How do you measure it? Quite difficult to answer because it is quite new, it is not a scientific process or quantitative one. But there are some questions to answer. According to the article on econsultancy.com the first one concerns the consumer directly and would be “How many targeted consumers would this campaign activation touch and reach?  Is it a national scale, worldwide tour, city wide or hyper local?” In a sense, if we analyze this question, the importance is to know the consumer and do we want to reach all the consumers, we have to define a special geographical area; do we have to include in the strategy any specific cross-cultural management? This is lots of questions that brands have to answer before launching a brand activation campaign.

The second question has a link with the brand relevance, “Is this activation strategy and campaign relevant to the brand’s message and core values?” We can ask more questions to understand that one is it necessary to launch a new activation campaign? Is there a link? Are we coherent? Do we neglect our storytelling, our current clientele? This part of analysis is the core reflection for the brand. The brand has to ask itself all these questions to do not run into the wall.

The brand activation strategy is not a part of the all strategy; it is taking part of the company and the brand coherence. Nothing has to be neglect and all the elements have to be taken into account before launching something which will have necessary an impact on the brand.

Third element asked by econsultanty.com and Andrew Broadbent who wrote the article is the Return on investment. Each time a brand spent money on the project, the return on investment is the priority, 10$ invested has to bring 1000$ to the company, has an example. In the case of the brand activation, Andrew Broadbent asked “Can you measure the benefits vs the cost? Activation awareness campaigns should not always be measured in financial terms and sales. Were you able to capture consumer data, such as emails, social media followers and other future marketing leads and opportunities?” The brand activation, as mentioned is hard to measure. Brands have to ask themselves if they are ready to do not see any return on investment (financial return) but more about brand awareness. The idea, has mentioned in the question is not necessary about the financial side of the investment but more about the marketing side, are we able to collect data, and use it, after, with a relevant manner.

The next question was more about the time, how long does the brand activation campaign will last. “Do these activations campaigns give the brand any potential to gain sizeable long term benefits?” In a brand activation campaign the idea is to have a direct impact on the awareness of the brand but more of that, to have to long term benefit in order to evolve the customer base. Short term benefits can deform the expected results. The brand wants client remember them has long as possible, always with a good opinion. In this question, long term benefits are about the image reflected, financial benefits (easier to measure on the long term).

The following question was linked to the integration capabilities. “Will this brand activation campaign compliment and have the ability to integrate with other types of marketing channels within the company?” In fact, this question is one of the most important of the article. As I had the opportunity to say before, the brand activation is taking part of the all brand’s strategy. All the tools and campaigns have to be in coherence, digital tools, printed toosl (catalogue, brochure, press release), events, advertising. The idea is the image, when a client or a potential client will see your brand somewhere he/she has to determine easily the brand and the message, and if he/she hears something after, he/she has to determine very quickly that it is the same brand in question. The communication strategies, the marketing strategies, the brand activation strategies, the financial strategies, the product development strategy, have to go in the same way for the successful campaign and future.

Penultimate question: “Does your brand have a unique value or selling proposition that get consumers attention and make them want to talk about it?” No company can run correctly a business if it does not have a USP: unique selling proposition. The question is divided into two parts, the USP and the word-of-mouth. The USP is also the promise of the brand to their customers and potential customers. The USP must not be able to be used by competition and must be based on a truly differentiating element. The second part of the question if about the communication by the consumer to the other. The second part of the question concerns the attention of the consumer to your USP. Does you USP is enough different, remarkable, that the consumer will remember it and broadcast it to his entourage? What is your strength? In Marketing we always analyse the SWOT, there what is your real added value compare to your competitor or added value on the market. For example, if you are on a blue ocean, consumer will very rapidly differentiate you and talk about you, because you are the only one. Push the customer to talk about your brand is the key to success.              .

Last but not least, the question is “Is it possible if needed to be able to make changes in order to increase amplification of the overall activation campaign?”. It is a tricky question; does a brand can change its activation campaign if needed? It is not the idea! You can improve it, evolve it but still keep the direction. Improve it to increase the amplification; I can just encourage brands to do this. Brands do not have to be afraid to dare something that they never have done before. If it is well though, with a precise strategy. Brand which does not dare will definitely die within few months. A brand, a company is like a human being: you can achieve results, but you always want more because it is what keeps you alive.

To conclude this part, the brand activation strategy is mandatory, nowadays for every brand which want to continue to run the business. It is a part of the marketing strategy, but more of that a part of the overall strategy of the company. The brand activation can sometimes be difficult to understand, and understand the purpose of it, but once it is done it has its complete place in mind.

1.3         New technologies

1.3.1        What is a new technology ?

The new information and communication technologies (ICTs) represent all the tools available to us in terms of telecommunications, computing, audiovisual, Internet, multimedia…

These new technologies have allowed the emergence of new practices in our daily lives. Both professionally and privately.

In general, these new tools bring performance and productivity to users, but these new technologies can have several disadvantages.

1.3.2        Who is interested in new technologies? And what are their expectations?

Millennials, the generation Y is the generation which is the most interested in new technologies. They are already aware of new trends and they want new things, they want to live new experiences. Millennials are young people born between 1980 and 2000 and they represent 25% of the total population all around the world. Their expectations are totally different from the other generation such as baby boomers or generation X. This is the generation who born with the internet and then with smartphones. They are always connected; it can be by text messaging, social media, instant messaging or blogging. In a Goldmansachs report made in 2015 there is a sentence that represents the most the idea of new technologies and this generation, available for mass market and in luxury: “Millennials’ affinity for technology is reshaping the retail space ». In fact, they are 2,5 more aware of new technology than all the other generations. According to marketingmillenials.com, 80% of Millennials want brands to entertain them.

The generation Y, called sometimes “Digital Natives “, lives for a long time with internet, the telephone stuck on the ear and connected to the social networks. Indeed their equipment rate in computers, smartphones and tablets exceeds from 5 to 10 points those of the previous generation. As for the media more classic as the television and the radio, they are considered “obsolete” today. Companies thus have to use the new way of communication to reach their target. The generation Y having grown up in the middle of services and of nomadic, fast and individualistic applications, great importance to the criteria of unlimited and of speed.

The generation of “Digital Natives” does not any more support to wait. The acronym “ATAWAD” (Any Time, Any Where, Any Device) summarizes well the situation. The arrival of the new technologies modified their behaviour and made them demanding: they want to have access to everything and at once. So the loyalty cards which ask 6 months before being rewarded for his/her purchases, do not interest them anymore, the profit must be immediate! So “digital natives” are less faithful than the previous generation, because they estimate more the innovation and always desire better. Companies thus have to adapt themselves in terms of promotion and development of customer loyalty which means an improvement in the brand activation. This generation favours the pleasure and the envy for novelty. There is a certain confusion, sometimes, between necessity and insignificance.

The generation Y expects from a product whether it is innovative and that it facilitates life, but also whether it is customizable to appropriate it! Indeed, following the example of the car industry or following the example of the furniture, the phenomenon should extend in particular in the clothing, in the leisure activities and in the information. (Ex: Nike, Vuitton) more globally, to get the attention of the generation Y, it is necessary to create an experience around a product or a service. A brand has to be meaningful, an own identity and have its own universe.

Millennials discovers products since their smartphone, many on the social networks. The smartphone is the privileged tool of the Millennials to discover products. 79 % of them assert that it is via mobile that they discovered a new brand, a new product or a new service. It is not moreover very surprising when we know that Millennials check their smartphone approximately 150 times a day. On their smartphones, 18-34 years spend more than one minute on five to consult the social networks. It is thus mainly on Facebook, Instagram and maintaining Snapchat that Millennials finds their inspiration regarding fashion, regarding lifestyle and regarding culture. Not amazing that brands which target Millennials massively invested these platforms even if they do not thought it could be possible one day to be on snapchat, especially for a luxury brand.

Just like Millennials, Gen X widely adopted the motive but they favour emails and the online search to discover products

The representatives of the Gen X are followers of the ROPO (Research Online, Purchase Offline). They so spend a lot of time on the Internet to inquire about the products which interest them before going to store.

Contrary to Millennials, the best way to touch directly on the 35-54 years stays the email. The email thus remains a marketing channel favoured to make discover your products, especially which the ROI (Return on Investment) of this channel is easy to measure compared with the social networks.

What are the concrete motivations of purchase? What are the differences between a Millennials and a Gen X? Millennials under influence, in search of quality products, ethical and accessibility …

Millennials are sensitive to the brands which make a commitment regarding social and environmental responsibility. They like that their purchases can be meaningful. Brands as TOMS in the United States (for every bought pair of shoes, a pair offered to a needy child) or still Faguo in France (for every bought product, a tree crashed in France) knew how to take advantage of their positioning of fair brands to build itself customers’ faithful base among 18-34 years.

The community also plays a strong role in the motivations of purchase of Millennials. 84 % of them explain that the contents generated by the users, UGC, had an influence on the products which they bought. It is also the generation which gives in most easily to the impulse of purchase.

In spite of the importance which they grant to the quality of products, Millennials is as them elder, very price-sensitive.

The shopper of the generation X is more down-to-earth. He looks for quality products but at the just price (even if it means that it is raised if the quality is there). Gen X shoppers are also less perceptible to the latest fads than their younger brothers. They knew the passage of a prosperous economy about a gloomy economy and are more sceptical on the sincerity of the speech of the brands. It is essential to show transparency and coherence to convince them. They will so tend to favour products more niche capable of expressing their personality and of avoiding so “one size fits all”.

Millennials buys more and more on mobile but in a multichannel logic where the store keeps all its place. Millennial never parts from its oxygen cylinder, its smartphone. Thus not amazing that if he or she discovers more and more products on mobile, he/she buys so more and more on mobile. A study of the IAB realized in October, 2015 in the United States showed that Millennials may more buy on their smartphone that the rest of the population (43 % versus 28 %). It is thus very important for the retailers to develop process of purchase adapted to the mobile. Indeed, if to assure the phase of discovery on mobile via the social networks will allow you to affect and attract Millennials, to improve flow at the most the tunnel of mobile purchase (time of load of pages, optimized forms) will allow you to convert him/her. These new mobile processes however have to become integrated into an omni channel strategy. 68 % of Millennials so demand an experience of perfectly fluid shopping on all the channels. Gen X shoppers buys more and more on-line and are also followers of the omni channel.

The generation X took the fold of the on-line purchase with 52 % of 35-50 years which declare already made credit note a purchase on the Internet. They also adopt new way of consumption multi-channel as the click and collect. The only difference with Millennials comes from the speed of adoption of the new habits of shopping, with Millennials, more early adopters. 92 % of Millennials are for example followers of the showrooming against 80 % of the members of the generation X. Less impulsive than Millennials, the representatives of the generation X are followers of it of the comparison products. They do not hesitate to lead long searches on the products which they desire. Thus it is important to give them enough information to your products.

Good news, Millennials can be very faithful on the condition of the good to pamper them.

You are afraid that Millennial is not loyal in your mark? Nevertheless, the image of the young man which changes marks every day is enough far from sticking on the reality. Millennials can be extremely loyal provided that the leading experience put forward them. They are moreover 64 % to be also or more loyal in the marks than their parents.

The consumer of the generation Y wants to be courted and to spoil by the brands to which he grants his loyalty. It passes by a dedicated and personal communication which tells a story with a real leading universe. Millennials is also fond of loyalty programs. They look for promotions at the same time personalized and simple to use (in particular via smartphone during the checking out). Sephora understood well it. Besides proposing an experience in playful store adapted to Millennials, the mark personalizes reductions according to buyer’s profile of the customers. Sephora even went farther by creating the VIP program, specially designed for the mobile, which allows its members to benefit from exclusive rewards (access to private sessions of shopping, pass exclusive for the studio …).

Gen X, loyal, demanding and “straight to the point”. The shoppers of the generation X is loyal with 40 % of them too who remain faithful to the brands which they like. Having often grown up with some flagship brands, they are so a little less inclined to discover new brands. Gen X does not need that we tell them a story as Millennials, what matters above all for them it is an irreproachable customer service (welcome, after-sales service). A communication of honest and transparent brand also represents a good base to win the heart of this generation. Just like Millennials, representative of the generation X appreciates loyalty programs, essentially to keep. He does not wish to make a commitment with the brands. To develop loyalty of it, adopt a loyalty program simple to use where he can quickly notice the economies which he or she makes.

After all these comparisons, we can say that they are not so different.

What separates the generation X from the generation Millennial sometimes hangs by a thread. 35-50 years old people adopted after all quickly the new technologies. As for Millennials, mobile first do not mean the end of the store, on the contrary. Millennials wishes an experience of purchase Omni canal “seamless” where the brick and mortar keeps its entire place and integrates perfectly the new mobile uses. 

2.         What is possible in luxury cosmetics and what are the solutions? 

“A brand that does not go on digitalization within the next months will die in less than five years”[3]

2.1         New technologies applied to cosmetics

2.1.1        Phygital

How can we implant new technologies in stores to activate customers? Phygital can be the solution. David Rosse – Key account at Aldébrande define “Phygital as a neologism, a new word, which has been created in Australia I think. It is the contraction of two words: physical and digital. The word digital refers to something that you can bring with you: smartphones, tablets, laptop, etc. And the word physical, easier to define, refers to a place, something which exists in real.” (Annex – 3)

A more institutional definition from e-marketing.com would be “Phygital is a term appeared in 2013, contraction between the “physical” and “digital” words, which sends back to a marketing strategy. The phygital trades is a physical point of sale which integrates the data and the methods of the digital world into the optics to develop its turnover.”

By definition, “phygital” amounts to bring or take the digital to a physical place. You don’t have to bring digital because it is mandatory, you have to take into account the place issue, you can’t break the place, bring digital can erase the authenticity and you have to think about it, David Rosse can confirm this.

You have to be a little bit smart in the way you bring digital; you can hide it or bring git by a sly manner. The objective of Aldébarande, for example is to improve the flow, the customer experience and its journey.

The phygital puts innovative tools and high technologies within the reach of the general public. It improves the marketing experience in physical point of sale.

2.1.2        Mapping

Example 1 SmartPixels

SmartPixels is a French start-up created in 2015. This company proposes solutions for brands from luxury to mass market. The activity of SmartPixels is divided in two different major parts.

The first one is projected reality and the other one is to improve customer’s stores. They only work on B to B and propose new solutions for brands, from packaging to new technologies for stores by proposing to them interactive and smart displays according to the client’s expectations and strategy. In fact, their solutions are based on animated supports for brand’s stores. They offer immersive and personalised experience. They can transform any object in a screen. Their promise is to gain as much as possible loyalty thanks to this technology of mapping and augmented reality by capture all the senses of the customers in stores. Every support is personalised and tailored according to the customer’s environment.

The idea is to be exclusive and to give to the final customer the possibility to live a unique experience.

We know that the issue nowadays is the space in stores, merchandising is difficult, they have to think about giving more and more value to a store in small stores.

What is this technology, a thing that exists from years and years: 3D mapping. They project 3D elements on the shape that the customer has chosen. It can be bottles, shoes, shirt, and cars, everything they want.

Their current customers are from the mass market: St Michel, Brice, Auchan, Carrefour, Nike. But on the luxury hand you can find in their portfolio Moët Hennessy, Estee Lauder, Molinard, Christian Dior Couture or Yves Saint Laurent. And they will collaborate with Belvedere very soon. All these projections permit to brand to put every information they want on an object in order to educate customer and catch his eyes.

Creator of SmartPixels are sure that their technology intrigues the public and in that way it will help in the action of purchase but also increase the brand image which take part of the brand activation strategy.

The second part of their job concerns their facility to cut the costs in the setting up of prototype for packaging. Thanks to the instantaneous projection of object there is a gain of time and money to take decision about new packaging for new product. They explain that instead of waiting several weeks or months that the supplier re-makes the prototype, the vision of a new one the instantaneous. One of their clients is L’Oréal for that, so why not using SmartPixels for their stores all around the world. L’Oréal just opened a physical store in Paris last September.

They consistently try to improve their technologies, because the newness is that they can project all the images they want on every object they want even if the object moves.

More pictures on Annex 4

I encourage you to watch concrete videos about what they can do

https://vimeo.com/171540032

https://vimeo.com/186262484

https://vimeo.com/183688202

Can we imagine putting this technology for luxury cosmetic brands? I think so. It should be interesting to visual on perfume, for example, the different flavours and notes thanks to images. It also can be interesting to see how and where the perfumes and bottles are produced. For luxury brand, the savoir-faire even in perfume is very important. This technology can permit for brands in specialized store like Sephora to be different and be distinguished from the clientele. This is completely possible, thinkable and imaginable. 

2.1.3        Augmented reality and Virtual reality

These two word are often used but not in the right sense. If it exists two different words it is because they mean two different things. In fact, augmented reality can be defined by Some important examples include head-up displays, displaying information in the user’s visual field, or apps that complement the image of objects in the smartphone’s camera. When, for the virtual reality, the user’s field of view is completely covered and the screens take on the task of representing a completely new environment, which leads the user to other worlds.

Aldébarande, French company based in Bordeaux proposes retail solution in digitalization for luxury brands. The virtual reality is one of their solutions. The virtual reality or augmented reality allows immersing in an environment photo or video in 360°. It allows releasing itself from constraints thanks to their digital technology 100% wireless including glasses, headphones and live broadcast on deported screen. Customers can benefit from a multitude of possibilities thanks to various models of glasses, of simplest to the most sophisticated, with manual piloting; the customer experience is in the center of their concerns.

Formerly reserved for the world of the video games and for the geeks, the augmented reality is considered as a remarkable communications tool in the service of the brands and of their storytelling today. We can illustrate this with some concrete cases.

To raise brakes in the on-line purchase, to stack in a scene of the real life of the information or the virtual images turns out very practical, for example “to try” its furniture before buying them. Ikea proposed its last two catalogues in augmented reality to facilitate the decision-making of its customers, without they have to go physically to store. The user has only to choose the article which he wishes to visualize, then to stick the telephone or the tablet in the area of the room where the customer would see well the piece of furniture. He can even make it revolve or move it…

The second advantage and use of virtual reality is to live a physical store. However, the magic of the augmented reality does not stop there. Certain brands, as Lego, use the virtual 3D to liven their stores via the interactive point of sales advertising. Concretely, the specialist of the small plastic bricks draws the attention of the public by allowing him to visualize the contents of the box of Lego without opening it. The principle is simple: it is enough to place the package in front of the border of increased reality and the inside appears virtually on the screen. And it is not finished: the experts already evoke the holographic reality and its 3D projections in the real world, but we already have seen it with SmartPixels. The professionals also raise another advantage: from now on, the size of the point of sale is not anymore an obstacle. We can imagine everything with the augmented reality. Indeed, if it is not possible for a brand to settle a factual stand in its store, the augmented reality takes over. A simple tablet is enough for proposing animations!

The next advantage would be to revitalize the brand image. The augmented reality also establishes a fertile ground to make of the branding. Brands have a great opportunity there to make a stronger and more long-lasting impression on their audience. Funny and innovative, the experiences in augmented reality show themselves very convincing and improve the image.

One cosmetic example, that of the Urban Decay, which accompanied the launch of its new range of lipsticks, Vice, by Vice Lipstick App. This application allows trying hundred tints of its lipsticks thanks to the augmented reality.

Such operations and innovations were only saw again very rarely, which contributes positively to a better differentiation and a memorization towards the product or towards the mark. Clearly, beyond the “effect wow” that it will arouse even for a long time, the augmented reality establishes without doubt a powerful additional lever of value creation, allowing reaching a level of commitment never reached by the traditional marketing.

Example – L’oréal et makeup genius dans les shop L’oréal

Before this thesis, I already heard about augmented reality in cosmetics with the app “Make up Genius” of L’Oréal. I tested it few years ago and I was not convinced by this because it was more a toy than a real tool which can help to buy L’oréal’s products. The colours, the shapes on the face were not realistic. In fact, the purpose of this app was created with the aim of choosing the product then trying them on your face with a simulation of the colours. On the ad, which you can see below, it looks pretty real, in the reality it is not, the mock-up looks fake.

C:UserssmarketingDownloadsphone_hero.png

2.1.4        Sound Marketing 

Sensorial marketing is composed by sound marketing or sensitive marketing or olfactory marketing, and we will see each of them.

Here, according to the glossary digital marketing, sound marketing “includes all the practices of using sound for marketing purposes. Sound marketing can focus on the product, point of sale and advertising.”

As David Rosse says, “as soon as the senses are in awakenings the customer will remember this experience and it will return to it more easily.”

The sound marketing indeed has to allow to represent and to define the values of the brand, the product. The customer also has to be capable of identifying quickly the brand thanks to the sound marketing: music, a jingle or voices have to allow differ with compared with the competitors.

Sounds have a very effective influence on the individual, because they play on the unconscious of the consumers. The sound marketing is thus a formidable weapon which it is necessary to learn to handle with precaution.

The influence of the music is all the more effective as it is unconsciously collected by the consumers. So, on points of sale, it is essential to use the techniques of the sound marketing. The use of the music in the commercial areas is not recent, and diverse studies showed that the music influences the perception of the time which the clients have.


[1] The rules governing cosmetic products in the European Union, 1999, p. 7

[2] Alexandre Divet, Marketing Department of Centre of France

[3] Karim Bouhajeb – Expert Digital Retail Marketing Communication sector of Mode  Prêt-à- porter Luxury during a lecture in November at INSEEC MSc & MBA



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