L’Oréal is banking on influencers and try-on technology to cash in on online sales – and it’s made up for half its pandemic losses

L’Oréal chief digital officer Lubomira Rochet.

With people stuck inside during the pandemic, brands are selling online more than ever.

At cosmetics giant L’Oréal, e-commerce has grown 65% during the pandemic to represent 25% of revenue, its chief digital officer Lubomira Rochet said during a marketing roundtable conversation recently convened by Business Insider.

Further, e-commerce made up for more than 50% of its losses in brick-and-mortar during the pandemic and is expected to account for 50% of its sales by 2023.

L’Oréal leveraged the growth in online sales by spending more on platforms like Amazon that are performance-driven; in SEO to drive people to its own websites; and on ad formats like YouTube for Action. 

It’s also been spending more on virtual try-on technology, social commerce, and personalization. Its try-on technology ModiFace can now be found across 15 other sites and apps, including Amazon, YouTube, and Google Search. L’Oréal also invested this month in the social commerce platform Replika Software, which lets influencers, makeup artists and a hairstylists using its products to sell them directly to people online.

“L’Oréal brands have all embraced the trend of social commerce and have experimented with different models – influencers, e-beauty advisors, as well as consumers – with very promising results,” Rochet said. “We want to crack this new e-commerce channel that has a very strong potential in beauty and build a solid ecosystem of advocates and social sellers around our brands.”

The rise of e-commerce during the pandemic has also made marketing more conversational, with L’Oréal having a 40% rise in interactions with consumers across channels like Facebook Messenger and WeChat to pass 60 million interactions this year. That increase has given L’Oréal more data on which to base business decisions.

Read More: L’Oréal now handles 20% of its ad buying in house, and it’s another sign of the growing threat to traditional advertising agencies

“We were able to track category shifts like hair color sales growing 300% and make-up falling 30% by managing data and insights not every quarter, but literally everyday,” Rochet said. “Having our finger on the pulse of consumers is important also so that we can talk to them in the right tone.”

Despite e-commerce’s growth, Rochet said brick-and-mortar wasn’t going away. 

“There may be some disruption, but the Boots and the Carrefours in Europe are embracing omnichannel commerce and emerging as an alternative to Amazon,” she said.

Read the original article on Business Insider