Access journeys are multiple and require brands and IRL/URL points of sale...

Access journeys are multiple and require brands and IRL/URL points of sale to constantly renew themselves. Photo : Montri Nipitvittaya /

It seems the Product/Service/Retail paradigm in silos is out-of-date, as a global overhaul is under way, with new means to access beauty-health products. [3] As a matter of fact, buying journeys and brands’ attractiveness are completely disrupted by all the following factors:

- Dazzling development of “indie brands” with disruptive strategies (Kylie Cosmetics, Becca, Glossier…). They generate visibility and desirability on social networks, which they handle perfectly well, boosting the beauty market and generating competition between distributors and groups as regards spotting & purchases (Exs: Anastasia and Kat Von D. in Sephora stores – partnership between this brand and beauty incubator Kendo by LVMH, acquisition of NYX and Urban Decay by L’Oréal, acquisition of Ren and Dollar Shave Club by Unilever, etc.).

- Destruction of the notions of selective and traditional channels. Many “pure player” brands and stores have been opening their own shops, both in the beauty sector (NYX, Glossier) and others (Sézane in the field of fashion, and even renowned KisskissBankbank and Amazon). Cosmetics brands have been opening and transforming their stores to have live exchanges with their consumers and/or get rid of academic codes (Chanel Beauté in Paris, Caudalie in Seoul, Korea, Sisley in Paris, etc.). Indeed, to reach Millennials, among others, the idea is to implement the policy opposite what used to be the norm, meaning: transparency, closeness, sharing, surprise, to which should be added meaning and ethics. As a result, selective brands go where no one expects them to: Dior has inaugurated a new store in the Parly 2 shopping mall near Versailles, while fashion designer J.W. Anderson has diffused his own show on Grindr (a gay dating website)!

- The boom of e-beauty: devices, mobile beauty, data… Smartphones have become mirrors and beauty boudoirs creating virtual, instantaneous routines (e.g.: so far, the Meitu beauty app has been installed on over a billion Chinese mobile phones, and YouCam has been downloaded 200 million times all over the world). All this has resulted in the birth of V-beauty and V-commerce, which have a promising future in certain segments still underexploited, like hairdressing: more than 85% of Millennials would be more interested in trying new haircuts and hair colours if they could check what their selfies would look like beforehand (source: Poshly survey, Oct. 2016).

- Constant reinvention of the customer journey and contact points: vending machines (they can be close to the physical store: Sephora Gare de Lyon, in Paris, has a vending machine 300m away), trucks, mobile & social businesses. Sometimes things are extremely quick, as can be seen with the “See now, buy now” touch phenomenon launched in the fashion world, and which is spreading across the beauty sector. The idea is also to transform any impulse or situation into immediate satisfaction, and often a transaction (e.g.: Smart Cubes, by Martini – cubes connected to inform a waiter via Bluetooth when a customer’s glass is empty; “No time, no line”, by Starbucks)

- Exclusive suggestions of experiences and services using Artificial Intelligence, augmented reality, interactive virtual reality, like Prada X Prada to launch perfumes, the iconic Samsung store in NYC, etc.

- New “influencers”, in particular “Instaqueens”, who make brands’ aura depend both on their number of followers and turnover! When Estée Lauder recruited Kendall Jenner as the face representing their new makeup brand, Genuine Glow, she counted 56 million followers on Instagram.

The access to beauty is getting transformed in depth. Access journeys are multiple and require brands and IRL/URL points of sale to constantly renew themselves, in terms of rituals, experience, sharing, means of payment (Selfie Pay, by Mastercard), ease of use throughout the journey… Reaching and making young generations loyal has become a never-ending challenge that is only possible through augmented reality, extreme personalization, devices, data, etc. For young people, everything is combined and augmented in all fluidity for experience and gaming.