Developing Myself and the French Beauty Market at Icecat

Avatar for Laurie Picca
French beauty market

On the 4th of October, I entered the Icecat Amsterdam office for the first time. Freshly graduating with a master’s degree in international business and management, I am joining the French team to further develop and expand the Icecat activities in France. In the past, I worked on theoretic projects, but now I am finally part of real and concrete business projects. Working at Icecat is a great opportunity for me to develop my sales, negotiation, and problem-solving skills. It is also a good way to challenge myself, which is why I am trying to set some relevant goals for myself. One of them is to develop the French beauty market, including cosmetics and hygiene, by creating strong relationships and links with key players in the sector.

Opportunities in the Beauty Sector

According to The NPD Group, French sales of high-end beauty products fell by 20% in 2020 due to the health crisis. Consumers turned to e-commerce, which saw sales of prestige beauty products jump by 52%. This kind of figures has made brands realize that e-commerce is essential today. As a result, beauty brands now feel ready to invest in it.

In France, the two months isolation period has led to a 10% drop in turnover in this sector. Beauty products have lost a lot of market share. Fortunately, some products in the sector are steady sellers. We saw that hygiene and personal care products such as creams, moisturizers, masks, and cleansers have gained market share.

The COVID-19 crisis also had a big impact on the way consumers buy. For instance, click and collect and e-commerce grew a lot. Some innovative brands are becoming more and more present on social networks as well. For example, MAC Cosmetics, a trendy cosmetics brand owned by Estee Lauder companies, is rapidly going digital. Furthermore, it is putting a lot of effort into improving the user experience on its website. They are developing tools that allow users to try on make-up via the camera for example.

In some cases, consumers are still reluctant to shop online because of fear of choosing the wrong products. These customers are really attached to the in-store shopping experience. They like testing the texture of the products, looking if the shade of a foundation really matches their skin, and testing the pigmentation of eye shadows of the latest palette. Consumers of beauty products also need to be reassured. This is why they are very keen on advice from saleswomen. A saleswoman will be able to give her professional opinion on a customer’s skin, on what would suit her best. This in-store experience is still very difficult to replicate on the internet, although virtual reality techniques might help.

Structured Beauty Content

I believe that having more structured, precise, and high-quality content like product stories can really help customers to buy more online. Improving their e-commerce side can give them the boost they need to increase their sales. L’Oréal achieved spectacular results thanks to the development of its e-commerce business. In fact, in 2020, L’Oréal generated 26% of its turnover via the internet and online sales growth reached 62% compared to 2019.

To conclude, beauty retailers are facing big challenges in terms of e-commerce and Icecat can help them. Their product catalog has to be constantly updated because the product portfolio changes frequently. For each retailer, the challenge is to put the newest products online before their competitors. The solution? Thanks to the Icecat services, retailers can considerably reduce their time-to-market.

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