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For L’Oreal Spa Brands Decléor And Carita, Goal Is To Create Parallel Online And Offline Experiences

One month into her role as director of e-commerce and digital for L'Oreal's Decléor and Carita professional products, Yvahn Martin is looking at developing an omnichannel strategy that satisfies the brand's B2B and B2C customers.

Global beauty marketer L’Oreal acquired spa brands Decléor and Carita from The Shiseido Group two years ago. Since that time, the company has been working on integrating the spa brands into its broader professional sales division.

Over six weeks ago, L’Oreal hired Yvahn Martin to help chart the omnichannel strategy for Decléor and Carita. The challenge is two-fold: Martin not only has to navigate online and offline marketing, but she also has to manage communications designed to appeal to both individual shoppers and retails.

In a panel at last week’s LBMA Retail Loco conference, Martin talked about the uses of location data as the foundation for improving customer relationship management insights. In a conversation following the panel, Martin noted that insights for their own sake are not enough.

GeoMarketing: As you settle into this new position with so much ground to cover, what are initial priorities?

Yvahn Martin: Decléor and Carita are two brands that are aimed at spa professionals and we are launching a lot of e-commerce initiatives. A lot of my focus is on platforms and figuring out how to best position us with regard to the data that we are collecting, the ease of use which our sales reps and our end-user e-tailers are able to communicate our messages. The overarching goal is for everyone along our distribution to bring a better customer experience in spas.

How closely do you work with spas on figuring out what the best customer experience is? Or is that largely up to those physical businesses themselves?

Oh no, we all have to collaborate. And because the spas are our life-blood — just like our salons are for our larger professional products at those establishments — we can’t ignore them. We can’t just go running off to Amazon. We have to keep them in consideration with every initiative that we do digitally, which naturally influences the offline programs as well.

When we think about the impact our existing network of retailers has on sales, we try to develop ways to support them, so that from a consumer standpoint, the customer is getting a consistent experience across the board.

We also don’t want to keep our spa partners out of the loop. We want to make sure that whether their customers are engaging with us digitally or offline, that they are in that conversation right along with us. Considering we’re a brand that’s sold B2B and B2C, keeping the conversation alive on both sides is essential.

When you think about messages and programs that appeal to those very different constituencies, what do you talk about with technology vendors? What do you hope to hear?

The thing that makes new technology the most valuable to us is being able to tie your data back to a clear ROI. As a large, relatively conservative company, when it comes to making investments in technology, we look at our ecosystem and what fits well with the other vendors that we’re using.

But to emphasize the main point: it all comes down to ROI. Is the service we’re getting trackable? How is it measurable? Can it be connected and tied our wider data streams? Can it be tied to other KPI’s that we are tracking against?

What impresses you when it comes to working with data specialists? What are the challenges?

There are so many advancements and so many different touchpoints that allow us to create value for a consumer, as well as also for ourselves and for our employees. Empowering our end-user engagement is a constant focus; technologies that allow us to bring better service to our customers, especially because of the fact that we don’t “own” the information related to the customers who buy our products — the actual retailer’s relationship has primacy when it comes to that level.

So when we’re approached by a third party retailer or e-tail service provider, we ask “How do we bridge the gap? How do we tell better stories How can we track engagement with those stories and ultimately tie it back to revenue? It’s important to note that not every KPI is tied back to a direct sale; but being able to at least have a pathway to get there is something we need to satisfy.

The challenge is this simple: the insights have to be clear and actionable.

You noted that the retailers L’Oreal sells its products through have a primary data insight into shoppers. Aside from that issue, how does a global brand’s national division craft its message down to the local level?

All the messaging starts out as global and the brand name starts out as global, but we are able customize and personalize that communication for individual markets.

That challenge is about maintaining relevancy: Making sure that you’re not sending an the wrong message, at the wrong time, to the wrong person.

That comes from really having the insights on the other side of social listening. Through social channels, we can see what’s resonating with people in different areas so that we can tailor our messaging more effectively.

As a global brand that has tremendous resources and capabilities when it comes to experimenting with various media channels, targeting tools, and strategies, how much education is involved when you work with your spa representatives?

We already invest very heavily in training on the product side, with regard to showing people how to use our brands’ items correctly, and what the benefits are from an experiential standpoint when we are doing spa treatment. That is already a very extensive training program. So my hope is to incorporate digital and social initiatives in from that aspect also.

As you head into your seventh week working on L’Oreal’s brands, what do you think of in terms of previous roles that has helped you focus your priorities?

Prior to working on Decléor and Carita, I was at Kipling USA. That company sells backpacks, handbags, and luggage manufacture. It’s a very niche audience, very specific.

Whereas I was able to launch a loyalty program there that was very successful, I was able to test some chatbots and do some interesting things at some of our locations. We had 31 retail stores at Kipling, so that I think had prepared me for a lot of the work that I want to do with the spas and being able to round out their social profiles and location data to promote greater CRM programs. I want to make sure there are online touchpoints that represent the offline experience, and create a parallel experience.