Digital Dive: Top stories on digital developments making waves in the beauty industry

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

A round-up of the top five stories on the digital developments in the APAC beauty market. [GettyImages]
A round-up of the top five stories on the digital developments in the APAC beauty market. [GettyImages]

Related tags: digital, ecommerce

In this round-up of the top five stories on the digital developments in beauty, we highlight A.S. Watson insights on the future of it omnichannel retail business, SK-II’s strategy to forging closer connections online and how P&G narrows the online and offline divide.

1 – New retail standards: A.S Watson highlights the five trends that are shaping the future of its retail business

Health and beauty retailer A.S. Watson has identified a set of trends​ that it believes will influence the future of the retail industry and its business.

For the firm, retailing today is all about the O+O shopping experience. Said Freda Ng, Watsons International’s chief digital officer, who stressed this was not the same as online to offline (O2O).

“O2O refers to driving customers from one channel to another but online and offline is not a ‘either or’ as what customers demand is a seamless and all-rounded shopping experience.”

She added that the Hong Kong-headquartered company firmly believes an integrated O+O model suits its consumers’ needs better.

2 – Bridging the gap: SK-II turns to personalisation to forge closer consumer connections via e-commerce

Procter & Gamble-owned skin care brand SK-II is reinforcing its e-commerce business​ with personalised beauty initiatives to deepen its bond with consumers in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the brand saw its e-commerce business grow 7% in 2020 to account for 28% of its business.

“2020 has been a challenging year in the face of such rapidly shifting dynamics. We’ve seen that some channels are recovering slower than others, including less footfall to department stores, for example,”​ said Sandeep Seth, CEO, Global SK-II.

In the past few years, the brand has been steadily expanding its online presence and its online partners include Tmall, Rakuten and brick-and-mortar retailer than have expanded online such as Sephora, Aeon and Lotte.

3 – 'Constructive disruption': How P&G is trying to close the physical and e-commerce shopping divide

Personal care giant Procter & Gamble (P&G) has shed light on how it is striving to bridge the divide​ between offline and online retail to help smooth the consumers’ shopping journey.

While e-commerce allows the brand to be very targeted with its marketing and makes the process more convenient for consumers, it inevitably loses some nuances that consumers experience with offline shopping.

“There are multiple unconscious physical interactions that we have with the product on the shelf. For example, many people in the beauty category open the products and smell them, and this is something that you can't do in an e-business,”​ said Alexandra Vogler, senior director for marketing and e-business, Asia, Middle East and Africa for Procter & Gamble.

Speaking at the inaugural Shopee Brands Summit, Vogler said the company has had to find a way to virtually supplement these physical interactions that consumers have offline.

4 – Critical state: Kao must make ‘bold upfront investments’ in digital to secure growth of cosmetics division – CEO

Japanese personal care major Kao Corporation is prioritising investments in digital technology​ as part of its plans to radically reform its cosmetics unit which has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kao’s cosmetics business, which comprises of brands such as Kanebo, Freeplus, Curél and Molton Brown suffered due to a significant decline in inbound demand and the impact of COVID-19 restrictions.

According to the firm’s FY2020 results published on February 3, its cosmetics business saw sales decrease 22.1% on a like-for-like basis compared to the previous year. Operating profit decreased over 90% from JPY 41.4bn to JPY2.6 from the previous fiscal year.

The impact on the cosmetics business was greater because of the ratio of make-up, which is approximately 10% higher than the market.

5 – Digital imprint: Toppan working to develop hi-def skin diagnostic tech for smartphones by 2022

Japanese company Toppan Printing is working to translate high-definition facial scanning technology into a more consumer-friendly version​ for mobile and web by 2022.

Toppan recently announced that it has recently worked with Japanese cosmetic company Kosé Corporation to successfully pilot test high-definition facial scanning and the optical simulation of layers of cosmetic application.

The firms were able to faithfully produce 3D computer graphics of the characteristics of a face as well as the pigment and textures of Kosé cosmetic products.

The 3D computer graphic data was generated from the results of high-definition facial scanning using the Light Stage developed by the University of Southern California (USC).

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