Digital investment takes Centre Stage

Digital investment takes Centre Stage

It’s no secret that the beauty consumer’s purchasing habits have changed. Yes, there’s still footfall in stores, but as an increasing number of buyers look to their mobile devices for reviews, vlogs, apps and news regarding the best make-up practices, digital and e-commerce is gradually becoming the retail channel of choice.

As a result of this, the emphasis placed on digital has moved from a secondary sideline to a main focus for many beauty manufacturers and multinationals, with digital investment on the up. Just last week L’Oréal set a precedence by suggesting that digital was the way in which it would achieve success in 2016 – with CEO Jean Paul Agon stating, “Across all brands in functions we continue also to drive our digital transformation at full-speed. Digital now amounts to 30% of our media. And E-commerce growing at plus-33%, it’s close to 6% of total group sales.”

Impressive figures, and with L’Oréal being an innovator in terms of digital, it’s certainly a market leader many should keep an eye on.  

P&G, of course, is wise to the movement, reducing its spend on agency fees in order to boost its advertising spend with a focus on mobile, with CEO David Taylor suggesting, quite rightly, that, “The right way to build a company is to bring consumers into the category when they first have a need.” And we all know the need for digital isn’t going anywhere, in fact, the only way is up.

However, are these multinationals really ready for the colossal task that is tackling the ever-changing online world, and do they have enough knowledge to invest wisely?

In some ways it seems that many need to start with a clean slate. Embracing real-time marketing in a bid to keep up with the pace of digital may be a must. Indeed, creating a concrete long-term marketing or investment plan for the digital world feels like a task set for failure, given the pace in which it changes – the plans would be outdated before they began. Even global market dominator Unilever is feeling the pressure, with Kristy Vance, Global Director/Media Insight, suggesting that the company needed to look to optimisation in real time in order to stay ahead.

Of course, a strategy or plan of some sort is a must, but its seems the right time for the cosmetic industry to stock check and ask the question, ‘do we have the right knowledge providers behind us, and, if not, where do put our spend?’

L’Oréal isn’t hedging its bets, and has just this week announced a ‘strategic investment’ in London-based global digital accelerator and incubator Founders Factory. With the aim to invest in and scale five early stage start-ups and co-create two new companies a year based on ‘digital platforms to better serve consumers’ aspirations’, L’Oréal will be drawing on Founders Factory’s ‘ecosystem and experienced entrepreneurs in residence.’ Read: the beauty giant will have first-hand access to a wealth of digital innovators (disruptors) and will no doubt pilfer this knowledge into its ongoing digital strategy.

That, my friends, is the way to do it.