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L’Oréal Luxe head of digital sets out how the company plans to boost its future global ecommerce revenues

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L’Oréal is aiming to boost its annual direct ecommerce revenues to €300m in 2016 from €250m, and this week Vincent Stuhlen, global head of digital at L’Oréal Luxe, explained how the company plans to achieve that.

L’Oréal, one of the world’s biggest beauty brands, is changing the way it sells in response to changes in the way that its connected customers now expect to shop. The company is currently putting in place a digital transformation strategy that it expects will see its annual direct ecommerce revenues rise to €300m from current levels of €250m by 2016.

“The biggest challenge we have is not the digital revolution,” said L’Oréal Luxe global head of digital retail Vincent Stuhlen, speaking at the Demandware Xchange conference in Berlin this week. “This is just a minor tool. It is the customer evolution. Everybody is talking about the customer, how the way they purchase is changing, the way they use digital devices is changing, the way they relate to us is changing. It’s not an easy task for a product-centric company to really embrace the customer perspective, and for us it was quite a big journey to start designing things from that whole perspective.”

Focus groups and customer research were primary initial tools in the change, which has seen the company go on to design new brand flagship websites for its brands. International flagship sites are developed with both commerce and editorial content, which will be further customised for local markets, and edited locally where required. “Like many companies we have marketing sites, ecommerce sites, loyalty programmes,” said Stuhlen. “Now we’re putting it all into one ultimate brand experience, very different from one brand to another but sharing some common properties. This will be the heart of the system, connecting from all other touchpoints, from retail to our emailing campaigns.”

Version three of L’Oréal’s global reference application is expected to go live in the first quarter of 2014, to be enhanced in the second quarter through the use of advanced customer relationship engagement and lab innovations, all to be used around the world.

L’Oréal announced this week that it was to roll out the use of Demandware Commerce, previously used to support its luxury brands in the US and Canada, to support more than 25 brands around the world, and between them, hundreds of websites.

Stuhlen showed in his presentation how the company had built its own factory framework to sit on the Demandware platform in order to enable innovative features.

Beneath each site will sit analytics, while customer tracking, from the website to the welcome email and beyond, will give L’Oréal the power of developing personalised relationships with its customers and feed automated personalised shopping, which is expected in turn to boost conversions.

Noting that, “immersive content leads to sales”, whether that’s videos, images, how to videos, Stuhlen added that social shopping would be the next revolution.

Stuhlen also pointed to L’Oréal Luxe-owned, which it recently launched as its first pure digital retail brand.

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