As part of the deal, L'Oréal’s Chinese division will have the backing of the Tmall Innovation Centre (TMIC).
Helping brands compete in China
As the dedicated research and development arm of the Alibaba Group, TMIC partners with brands to develop products specifically for the Chinese consumer.
Launched in 2017, TMIC has worked with 62 companies to develop products, including Mars, Mattel, Unilever, and Proctor & Gamble.
TMIC begins developing products by studying the consumer first.
By analysing data from Alibaba’s e-commerce eco-system, TMIC can decode and identify new product opportunities for very specific Chinese demographics.
With this information, TMIC and its brand partner will be able to design a product with higher chance of success before packaging, marketing and testing it.
According to Alizila, Alibaba’s dedicated news portal, products created with TMIC must be sold exclusively on Tmall for two months, allowing TMIC to track the products performance and fine tune it before it hits the general market.
“Tmall has transformed product development in every area, from product innovation and brand-building to consumer assets and channel management,” Tmall President Jet Jing said. “We help brands discover new demand and markets as well as offer completely new customer experiences.”
Tapping into research
The idea to focus on China's male-grooming industry came from a white paper co-developed by TMIC and L'Oréal China’s Consumer Intelligence Team.
The research identified that there is currently a lack of choice in male-specific personal care products, especially in skin care.
Based on the research, total sales of male-beauty products in China grew 59% and 54% in fiscal years 2017 and 2018, respectively. The latter figure, notes the report, is a percentage of a larger consumer base, highlighting the market’s potential.
On Tmall, purchases of male-specific brands by men on Tmall are were up 56%. Of these purchases, Tmall saw high double-digit increase across all categories, including skincare, body, fragrance and hair. Similarly, purchases of luxury make-up by men increased by a whopping 218% this fiscal year.
The white paper also profiled five types of male beauty product consumers. These include men in their early 20s who demand men-specific products and urban professionals in their 30s who are focused on personal care rather than appearance.
The majority of the market (58%), is made up of what the companies have identified as “traditional men”. These consumers shop for mass-market brands in every category from shampoo to facial toner.
“We have been very happy to ride the wave of the digital transformation together with Alibaba Group’s Tmall,” said Stéphane Rinderknech, CEO of L’Oréal China. “As the number-one beauty company in the China market, L’Oréal China will continue to deepen collaboration with innovation partners locally to unleash the value of data insights and create value for our consumers.”
Based on the findings, L'Oréal China and Tmall have planned to co-host a consumer-orientated marketing campaign that will take place both online and offline.
The “Super U Carnival”, is a campaigned aimed at the five male beauty consumer profiles.
During this campaign, targeted male consumers will be able to discover suitable grooming products online with the help of data insights.
Offline, these consumers will be able to experience a unique pop-up store in Hangzhou, where five showrooms have been tailored to each of the five segment’s unique styles and preferences.
Jing said: “With Tmall’s unparalleled customer insight, we are committed to helping L’Oréal China offer its customers best-in-class personalised product experiences.”