How brands can maximise the TikTok opportunity
Tribe Dynamics Co-Founder and President Conor Begley, Summer Fridays Director of Marketing Blair Badge and Youth to the People Senior Social Media Manager Madeline Davis delivered an illuminating panel discussion about how brands can inspire creators and reach new audiences on popular short-video application TikTok.
The panel highlighted data-driven strategies and key insights to help brands stand-out on the fast-growing platform.
Over the years, TikTok has grown from an emerging social media channel for teens into an established hub for online conversation and a powerful marketing tool for brands. It has over 1 billion users, with a unique audience almost 50% of which do not use Facebook nor Instagram.
Begley is the founder of leading fashion and beauty influencer marketing analytics platform Tribe Dynamics. During the session, he outlined some of the key TikTok basics like content structure, audience demographic and growth potential. He also highlighted some of the latest viral TikTok trends.
Commenting on the growing TikTok community, Begley said: “It’s big, it has a unique audience and it’s growing. Brands must be nimble, innovative and active to capitalise on TikTok trends.”
Badge said, “Our Summer Fridays TikTok launched one year ago, and we are still in the testing and learning phase to figure out what works in that platform. You really don’t know what’s going to work. You just have to throw everything against a wall and see what sticks.”
Davis commented, “There’s so much content on TikTok, from fantastic viral videos to educational content. There’s something for everyone and there’s less posturing and that’s really appealing for both consumers and brands.
“TikTok is a space for us to explore,” Davis added. “It’s a great place to build on our personality and on our relationships. We know that influencers are investing on this platform and so it’s a great proof point for the platform’s continued growth”
While TikTok is a growing platform, it doesn’t yet have the same analytical tools as more mature players like Instagram and Facebook. Although according to Badge, brands need to be agile while the platform is still relatively new. She said, “TikTok is only going to get bigger brands need to learn to capitalise on this space. The key takeaway is to get in early, regardless if you can quantify results, before the algorithm changes further.”
“For a brand, it’s no small feat to have a presence on TikTok because it is very trend-based,” Davis added. “We’re taking a creator-first approach and investing on influencer relationships to drive traffic back to us. Content creation is deceivingly difficult, especially when you’re trying to hit those big trends.”
The Role of Stores in Digital Business & Using Tech For Sustainability
In this engaging Knowledge Hub session, BW Confidential Editor-in-Chief Oonagh Phillips talked with L’Occitane Group Sustainability Officer and Director of the L’Occitane en Provence Brand Adrien Geiger about how ‘brick and mortar’ stores can use ecommerce to improve customer experience.
Geiger was formerly the group’s Chief Digital Officer and revamped the brand’s ecommerce strategy. He champions sustainable causes and has spearheaded the company’s programmes for in-store recycling.
Considering the changing role of stores in a digital-dominated era, Geiger underlined the continued importance of creating customer experiences, including through human interaction.
“The way retail is evolving is to have our beauty assistants (BA) and our sales people at the centre of the retail experience. We are social animals and we need this interaction. In digital we can have a lot of things but the real human connection if something that you can never get anywhere other than in the store.”
L’Occitane’s vision, he said, is to maintain he interaction – “the bond that people really need so strongly” – and to enhance that with digital.
Geiger considered logistical problems around the efficient delivery of online orders, noting that in the US, L’Occitane introduced changes to ensure that its network of stores could support delivery and enhance its digital performance.
“That’s a different story to the human approach but super important too,” he added.
Asked if L’Occitane was considering major changes to its store network – with stores acting as destinations and with the majority of sales online – Geiger said: “When I started with L’Occitane in 2014 I remember saying that our sustainable competitive advantage is our stores.
“We have 3,000 stores around the world; that was a strength we needed to leverage. Today I would say that our sustainable competitive advantage is our 10,000 employees, our 10,000 BAs.”
He noted the recent closure of some stores in the US but emphasised that L’Occitane was able to retain most of its staff members who use a clienteling app sales to maintain interaction with customers.
He predicted that L’Occitaine may downsize its network and the number of large shops to rely on smaller units where BAs can be present.
“Being a retailer takes year of experience; it’s difficult. But L’Occitane is in ecommerce for 20 years; it accounts for more than 20% of our business and is huge. So being on those two legs, and being able to link them, is key,” he added.
He noted new sales touchpoints, including social media and influencers, which L’Occitane uses to ensure new opportunities are not missed. He also underlined the need for brands to have updated information on locality and closing times available for search engines and the rise of voice-over tools such as Amazon Alexa.
Geiger said L’Occitane’s development of video interaction between its BAs and customers is proving successful. “It offers the extra connection people want and don’t really have in digital,” he said, adding that it also offers BAs the ability to link both online and offline experiences.
Asked how close L’Occitane is to creating a frictionless experience in their stores, Geiger said: “We have conducted many experiments and did not see a massive improvement on the customer experience stand point. At the end of the day 80% of the experience is the interaction with the BA so that’s what matters the most.”
“For us now digital is how we can reduce the burden that the BA has in order to make the store functional; how she can spend more time with the customer because that is what matters.”
Considering digital learnings related to the Chinese market, Geiger noted the heavy use of social media and WeChat to strengthen BAs’ interaction with customers and the “superfast” development of live streaming. Geiger added that L’Occitane has already included live streaming facilities in stores in Japan and Korea.
On L’Occitane’s significant sustainability efforts, Geiger said the brand was considering the heavy impact of ecommerce on its carbon footprint and outlined the use of digital and data to minimise this impact. The company is also reviewing its distribution and delivery strategies, he added.
Have you had the chance to explore the Beauty Tech Live Exhibition Hub yet? If not, here is a dynamic video walkthrough which will preview the #Virtual Stands from some of beauty and technology’s leading innovators and disruptors.
Here you can explore the latest product innovations, tools and services from Scentys, Orlandi, im1ne, Perfumist, Les Parfumables, Revieve, Arcade Beauty, Reziena and Perfect Corp.
The Beauty Tech Live Engagement Lounge opened with Revieve CEO and Co-Founder Sampo Parkkinen, who hosted the ‘Skincare Becomes No1: How to Personalise the Brand Experience in the Highly Competitive Beauty Industry’ webinar. The webinar offered an in-depth look at the future of the beauty industry and the role of personalised digital brand experiences.
It also debuted Revieve’s new personalised digital skin diagnostic tool SkinCoach, which uses selfie technology to curate a bespoke, data-driven skincare routine for customers. According to Parkkinen, SkinCoach was designed to create consumer engagement, elevate the brand experience and boost sales.
Parkkinen said, “The future of beauty is exciting, but connecting with consumers is more important than ever. As a market leader in helping brands enhance the skin health experience, we saw the COVID-19 crisis through a unique lens.
“We saw consumer appetite in digital engagement and new emerging solutions sky-rocket, and we developed SkinCoach with all these new insights and knowledge. We believe SkinCoach will transform how you create loyalty, retention with your beauty customers.”
Puig’s Javier Bach on how ‘brilliant basics’ can elevate the online fragrance experience
Puig Chief Operating Officer Javier Bach opened Day Two of Beauty Tech Live with a compelling session on experiencing and selling fragrances online.
Family-owned fragrance company has Puig forecast that 30% of its business will come from digital by 2025. In a one-on-one interview with BW Confidential Editor-in-Chief Oonagh Phillips, Bach discussed Puig’s online acceleration, lessons over the last year, the role of brick & mortar stores and Puig’s ‘brilliant basics’ approach to standing out in a competitive digital marketplace.
“2020 was a year of learnings,” Bach said. “We originally predicted 25% of our business will become digital by 2025, but our ecommerce business in prestige fragrances went from 12-13% in 2019 to 24% 2020, reaching our projections five years early. It was five years of digital acceleration in one.”
With so much emphasis placed on digital, how must the brick & mortar store evolve to keep up? “The role of physical stores has to evolve. Online brings so much convenience, forcing brands and retailers to rethink how their stores operate. Brick & mortar needs to become more experiential and elevated. If they rely on a purely transactional approach, they will lose the race to online. An omnichannel approach is key. It’s not online vs offline, but instead how do you incorporate both to enhance the consumer journey.”
So, how can fragrance brands stand out in a crowded online marketplace? Bach said, it’s all about having brilliant basics. “You need to be excellent in terms of channel search, visibility, ratings and reviews to stand out. It’s really about having brilliant basics and having effective execution. Part of our strategy is mastering the omnichannel connection and conversion of consumers. Brands need to understand who their customer is and all the touchpoints of their shopping journey.
Read our full report here.
Welcome to Day Two of Beauty Tech Live, the pioneering virtual event that brings together the joint worlds of beauty and technology.
Today sees a rich and varied Engagement Lounge programme begin, with a series of engaging sessions from our partners from 1300 CET. Click here for more details.
The Knowledge Hub programme that began strongly on Monday continues today. At 0930 CET Puig Chief Operating Officer Javier Bach will discuss the online approach of the fragrance & beauty powerhouse, while at 1100 CET sustainability will be a key theme for L’Occitane Group Sustainability Officer and Director of the L’Occitane en Provence Brand Adrien Geiger.
A 1530 CET session led by Palix Unlimited Owner Joel Palix will explore direct to consumer selling, and at 1700 CET the challenge of marketing using TikTok will be addressed by a panel featuring Tribe Dynamics Co-founder & President Conor Begley, Youth To The People Senior Social Media Manager Madeline Davis and Summer Fridays Director of Marketing Blair Badge.
Stay tuned for more updates on this page from the virtual Exhibition Hub, Knowledge Hub and Engagement Lounge.
Click here to register for the event.
BW Confidential Editor in Chief Oonagh Phillips led a fascinating discussion on ‘shop-tainment’ in today’s final Knowledge Hub session. She was joined by Perfect Corp Europe AVP Business Development Sylvain Delteil, e.l.f. Beauty Chief Digital Officer Ekta Chopra and Charlotte Tilbury Director of Digital Harminder Matharu.
The discussion centred on how to make online shopping fun and on boosting sales through three keys: Augmented Reality (AR), virtual try-on and livestreaming.
Perfect Corp has a “Beauty, Reimagined” tagline and specialises in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and AR to reimagine customers’ shopping experiences.
Delteil pointed out that “five years ago no one was aware that you could try on virtually”. “Now,” he said, “AR is a must have”, which secures not only increased sales but also encourages customers to stay longer online.
He detailed the impact that increased video streaming can have on sales and brand engagement and underlined the role of social media in shop-tainment.
Chopra introduced California-based e.l.f.’s mission to offer affordable cosmetics and its holistic approach to digital, with an emphasis on building a digital eco system, harnessing consumer data, personalisation, consumer experience and ecommerce growth.
Matharu highlighted the success of Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Mirror service which is available 24/7 and the role of its Virtual store in ensuring that customers were offered a fun, immersive brand and shopping experience.
Using digital methods to boost sales in the travel retail beauty category
The first panel session of Beauty Tech Live – Travel Retail’s Tech Transformation – revealed a wide variety of insights into how digital is influencing the promotion of the beauty category in the travel retail channel.
Au Coeur du Luxe (ACDL) President Laurence Ouaknine, iClick Interactive Asia Limited VP International Business Cody Chan and CircleSquare Managing Partner Stéphane Zermatten spoke to Martin Moodie about how beauty brands can make the most of the fast-evolving variety of digital tools available to target consumers in the COVID-shaped world.
Discussing omnichannel strategy, Zermatten – whose company is a leading retail marketing, brand experience and consumer engagement agency – urged a customer-centric approach which marries digital targeting and communication with physical retail experiences across the entire shopper journey.
He said: “If you focus on the people, rather than the channel, you come up with an overarching concept [featuring both digital and physical elements] that’s going to be the backbone of the conversation you will have with your customers.”
On the use of digital in this strategy, he said: “Reaching and targeting customers and getting them into your brand world is a lot easier done online, with all of the data that we have available, all of the social media and all of the different digital marketing means at our disposal.”
He explained that from this, you can then plan a content strategy to be delivered at each of the touchpoints in the shopper’s journey, including travel retail.
He added that while digital shopping has risen in importance as a means of convenience and to complete “the mission of replenishment”, physical travel retail has a key role to play in what he describes as the brand or product “discovery mission”. But, he stressed, using digital means to drive footfall into travel retail stores and personalise the experience is crucial.
Meanwhile, ACDL’s Ouaknine – whose app-based technology trains the front line staff of major brand owners including Estée Lauder – explained that the use of digital methods to provide training is vital to maximise basket size and conversion rate in travel retail in the COVID-19 era.
She said: “Recently more and more companies have decided to train front-liners with app-based e-learning because it’s very convenient in their day to day duties, and at the same time, it’s very scalable and effective. Also, the cost is low which is obviously very important at this time.
“Through our app we can identify performance and knowledge gaps and push the relevant training, engaging people to create a community of learners and to make them closer to the brand than ever. It can also be used record their performance and at the same time to connect and communicate internationally.
“The front-liners are representing your brand and your store network, and they have to be in the core of your strategy. It is a prerequisite that people are fully trained in order to leverage the five senses [in the travel retail environment].”
Ouaknine also acknowledged the rise of livestreaming in travel retail and added that app-based e-learning has a key role play here too. She said: “Livestreaming is a great tool [to generate beauty brand sales] but it is very important that brands and retailers use e-learning to turn their brand ambassadors and front line staff [who are presenting livestreams] into KOLs. They learn how to promote a brand’s products and present it well in livestream.”
With the help of strong product knowledge for front line staff, she said she foresees that “in the future when I travel, I will be able to have the right service, from people that would be able to answer my questions about products, and provide me with the experience that I deserve as a traveller.”
The final contribution of the session came from iClick Interactive’s Cody Chan, whose company’s digital platform, iAudience, provides brand clients with insights into the characteristics of 940 million Chinese consumers, covering 98% of the country’s netizens.
Leveraging such insights, Chan explained, helps brands to better understand the specialist nature of the Chinese market, enabling them to shape content and hit the right digital touchpoints to communicate with native consumers, including when they travel.
He said: “Trying to market a product in China can be difficult for brands, because of the media landscape, the cultural differences to Western countries, and maybe the policies as well.”
Chan said iClick has a specialist business unit dedicated to overseas and travel retail clients to assist in this regard, which uses iAudience data to help drive footfall to stores, target consumers using ecommerce and use the right media to reach them.
Chan noted the scale of the opportunity for beauty brands in China, revealing that there are more than 300 million females in the country aged between 20 and 50.
He said: “Many of us see the opportunities, but at the same time the market has a lot of challenges as well. It is basically our role to resolve their [the brand’s] challenges. For example, you may know the number females in China, but how do we locate them? How are we able to identify them?”
Chan continued: “What if I only want to target 20-30 year olds? How about 30-40? So, these are all the questions that brands want answers to and they also want to see what kind of [digital] platform should they use in China. It really depends on the client situation and what their needs are. There is absolutely no one size fits all solution.
“We use insights and knowledge that we capture from iAudience, so that we know how to plan for our brands strategically, and how they can use this information to slot into different touchpoints.”
L’Oréal Group Chief Digital Officer Lubomira Rochet delivered an illuminating keynote address at the Beauty Tech Live, which officially opened its doors today.
In conversation with BW Confidential Editor-in-Chief Oonagh Phillips, Rochet analysed the fast-changing beauty ecommerce landscape and highlighted the trends and tools that will shape the industry in the years to come.
Rochet, a Franco-Bulgarian economist, has been Chief Digital Officer of the L’Oréal Group since March 2014. She is also a member of the Group’s Executive Committee.
L’Oréal Group’s ecommerce business increased +60% through 2020, and now represents 25% of its total revenues. Rochet discussed L’Oréal’s digital and ecommerce strategy and how the beauty giant is managing its incredible digital acceleration.
“Ecommerce has always been a part of our strategy, but the magnitude of our recent growth has been spectacular” Rochet said. “For example, we’ve seen 200-300% growth day after day in the hair care category. So, one of the first things we did to manage this growth was to invest in real-time analytics. This is so that we can manage data and insights daily instead of just every quarter.
“We built entire analytics systems and increased e-tailer partnerships to better understand categories, product evolution and reorganised our media spend.”
Stay tuned for our full report
Beauty Tech Live officially opened its doors today, welcoming almost 2,500 visitors. Visitors can meet with colleagues, network and also discover the latest beauty tech innovations from almost 30 leading companies in beauty, fragrance, skincare, cosmetics and wellbeing.
Watch the video below for everything you need to know about the pioneering all-digital event.
Tmall Global Beauty Alibaba Group Managing Director Jun Dong opened the Knowledge Hub sessions at Beauty Tech Live with invaluable insights about how brands can use the Tmall platform to build their business in China.
She told BW Confidential Editor-in-Chief Oonagh Phillips: “We are evolving our Tmall business model to help brands reach their Chinese consumers. We shifted from an invitation-based model to an open platform in 2019. Authorised brands can launch on the platform in three ways. They can use the Tmall Global Platform to sell directly; Tmall Direct Import, where Tmall is the distributor or buyer, and Tmall Overseas Fulfilment, a consignment model allowing brands and suppliers to benefit from our global warehouse network and test the China market.”
Asked about the power of digital to engage consumers, Jun said: “The pandemic has had a lasting impact on relationships between consumers and brands, accelerating innovation. The consumer wants unique, interactive shopping experiences online. We have seen a massive shift in China; 52% of all Chinese sales are expected to come through digital this year, outstripping bricks & mortar for the first time.”
She also discussed the rise of livestreaming and influencers in selling to Chinese audiences: “Livestreaming is an incredible tool. Originating in China, it is among the most popular ecommerce platforms. For brands, livestreaming is a vehicle for education and launches, not only sales.
“Today, brands are using KOLs in conjunction with celebrity ambassadors and creating viral social moments using livestreaming. Most sales are skewed towards top KOLs such as Austin Li, but other smaller ones are developing their relevance and popularity among the Gen Z audience. In coming years we’ll see a healthier balance between top and smaller KOLs.”
A key question for many brands is how best to use Alibaba’s online shopping festivals to engage with new consumers and build their existing audiences.
Jun said: “Shopping festivals have been a key part of the consumer psyche for a decade now and show the clear strength of China’s retail consumption. For brands the rewards will only come from significant planning to understand the target consumer. This is a competitive time for brands so they must have a clear strategy. For consumers, while value plays a role, other factors include personalisation and exclusivity of product,” she added, citing special editions launched for recent festivals by L’Oréal’s Shu Uemura and 3CE brands.
“Promotion is a driving factor, as that’s how these festivals came into being. But now consumers are asking for more. Many brands now see it as a chance to introduce new innovations.”
Addressing how brands can do better in understanding the digital eco-system in China, Jun said: “Brands need to invest in research. Marketing and consumer behaviour differ greatly from the West. That’s a stumbling block for many companies that apply strategies that work in Europe or the US. Consumer confidence is there [in China] and that can translate into strong sales. Also there is no such thing as being too small. Being niche is positive if it aligns with consumer demand in China. But it must be tailored to the ecommerce and livestreaming market.”
She reinforced the message that smaller, emerging brands could succeed in the Alibaba eco-system without huge budgets.
“There is a support system for brands, large or small. Our focus is to make it easier and increase participation in our festivals and serve the Chinese consumer. We have arranged events with large and smaller KOLs, to help them learn about the niche brands. We have a team to teach those brands about what they need to do to operate in the eco-system. Over 1.2 million new brands were offered last year through shopping festivals to Chinese consumers. We help them reach new consumers.”
Within the key beauty categories sold through Alibaba, Jun noted the rise and rise of anti-aging serums (+320% year-on-year during the 2020 Global Shopping Festival and +88% in Q1 2021). Basket size in the beauty sector has leapt by +20% over the past year, with a focus on “premium priced brands that have taken off post-COVID-19.” Importantly too, she highlighted the emergence of fragrance as a fast-growing sector within beauty, notably among younger consumers.
“The tide is turning for fragrance. Its price point is accessible for the new middle class and the world of perfumes still offers an open playing field. But brands should consider logistical problems that arise. Perfume suppliers are often refused by air carriers; maritime is the most common option but hard for smaller brands to ship by sea at smaller volumes. Tmall’s global logistics unit has launched its first perfume route, a dedicated flight for perfume from Europe and China daily.
“Gen Z is the group that is willing to try new brands and new categories so they are interested. Fragrance is smaller than the other major beauty categories but we have seen it among the fastest growing in the past 12 months.”
Skincare, including face masks and moisturisers, is another growth sector, with lipstick & beauty also driving growth. Men’s cosmetics, buoyed by KOLs such as Austin Li, are building on that trend. Overall, she noted, “since COVID-19 the trend of wellness and self-care is on the rise”.
Asked about the rise of Chinese brands, Jun said: “There is demand as these brands address value for money; social awareness and after sales service. But there will always be strong demand for international brands due to provenance, brands’ DNA and their quality.”
A further trend is penetration among consumers in lower tier cities in China. Jun said: “These are an important business strategy with potential for growth. Consumers can make frequent purchases; we had 1 million new users during Shopping Festival 11.11 from lower tier cities, where China’s biggest consumption growth is coming. The off-season bargains from brands at competitive brands could be used to help international brands penetrate the market in lower-tier cities.”
12 APRIL 0840 CET
After many months of build-up by co-organisers The Moodie Davitt Report and BW Confidential, in collaboration with Stand & Experience Partner FILTR.QINGWA, Beauty Tech Live begins today.
The pioneering virtual event is a showcase for the joint worlds of beauty and technology. It is the first virtual expo of its kind in the sector, bringing together the latest tech innovations and solutions across all stakeholders.
The Knowledge Hub sessions begin today with an address from Tmall Global Beauty Alibaba Group Managing Director Jun Dong about building business in China (0930 CET). This will be followed by a keynote address from L’Oréal Chief Digital Officer Lubomira Rochet (1100 CET) and at 1400 CET, a panel featuring Au Coeur du Luxe (ACDL) President Laurence Ouaknine, iClick Interactive Asia Limited VP International Business Cody Chan and CircleSquare Managing Partner Stéphane Zermatten will discuss tech transformation in travel retail.
Shop-tainment will be the theme at 1630 CET in a panel featuring e.l.f. Beauty Chief Digital Officer Ekta Chopra, Charlotte Tilbury Director of Digital Harminder Matharu and Perfect Corp Europe AVP Business Development Sylvain Delteil.
Almost 2,500 beauty and tech executives have registered to attend this week. Visitors can meet with colleagues, network and also discover the latest beauty tech innovations from almost 30 leading companies in beauty, fragrance, skincare, cosmetics and wellbeing.
Stay tuned for live updates from the virtual Exhibition Hub, Knowledge Hub and Engagement Lounge throughout the week.
Click here to register for the event.