Driving innovation in retailing

Identify new distribution platforms for L'Oréal luxury brands

L’Oréal’s skincare, makeup and perfume products represent a world of elegance and luxury. The Group offers iconic brands including Lancôme, Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent and Kiehl’s. How then, to ensure that the unique essence of these luxury brands expressed in the company’s advertising is not lost in a disappointing customer experience at the point of sale?

The challenge: identify new retailing channels

L’Oréal’s brands are sold selectively in department stores, specialist perfume stores, travel retail and dedicated stores and e-commerce sites.

Strategic Research was chosen by L’Oréal to identify innovative new channels. We used a Blue Ocean Strategy approach to identify non-traditional channels, rather than existing options whose strengths and weaknesses were already well known.

Blue Ocean Strategy: a collaborative process

We began by interviewing members of the Executive Committee to understand the issues involved, including those relevant to specific L’Oréal brands.

A project team of key L’Oréal managers was put together, providing expertise ranging from marketing, research and digital to human resources and internal control. This project team, supported by Strategic Research, explored the existing market, identified missed opportunities and alternatives, generated ideas by following pre-identified paths, assessed these ideas and developed the most interesting ideas further.

The growth platforms that emerged from this collaborative process were presented to management and external guests. The latter were selected for their expertise or experience in retailing outside the cosmetics industry.

L’Oréal retained two ideas for further investigation. The team then carried out detailed analysis and development of the ideas, fine-tuning, and validating feasibility and the ideas’ business models.

The impact of these innovations for L’Oréal is game changing: the places created are not simply points of sale, but places for the brands to express themselves. They refresh the customer experience, transforming the way women buy cosmetics and makeup.

Marc Dubrule, Strategic Development Director for L’Oréal Luxe



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