1 – An ‘e-commerce’ firm no longer: Lazada Singapore CEO says the future is in ‘new retail’ space
South East Asian retailer Lazada says the lines are continuing to blur between online and offline, with the e-commerce giant unveiling a new physical store with Amorepacific in Singapore.
With the opening of the AMORE Store X Lazada, Lazada Singapore CEO James Chang has boldly declared that Lazada is no longer an e-commerce company.
“We’re dropping the ‘e’ – we’re now a commerce company, not just e-commerce anymore,” he said.
AMORE Store X Lazada is just the beginning of the firm’s venture into the world of new retail, which will be point of focus for the company in the new year.
Chang told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that this move was essential given the shifting shopping behaviours of shoppers.
“When we launched Lazada in 2012, the consumer was shopping for structure products – things that are easy to compare and have specifications that can be easily communicated through pictures or text.
“But as e-commerce becomes more mainstream, consumers are now looking for new and exciting things that that is where we need to do more coordination between online and offline.”
2 – New reality: China, millennial and Gen Z consumers are driving the future of AI and AR beauty tech
Tech company Perfect Corp believes AI- and AR-powered technology will play an increasingly essential role in the beauty industry, thanks to China’s tech-driven ecosystems and the interest of young consumers.
Perfect Corp is the developer behind a suite of virtual beauty apps such as YouCam Makeup, which have accumulated over 750 million downloads globally.
The Taiwan-based firm has utilised its virtual try-on technology to bring consumers a virtual ‘try before you buy’ experience online and in-store.
This Beauty SaaS service was conceived as a solution to time-consuming, inconvenient and unhygienic make-up testing.
“Beauty AI and AR technology enables beauty lovers the freedom to try as many product and SKUs within a short amount of time. Such technology not only offers an easy, fun and interactive shopping experience to the consumers, but also brings more sales opportunities to the brands,” explained Louis Chen, senior vice president and chief strategy officer, Perfect Corp.
3 – Amazon and eBay remove illegal mercury-containing skin lighteners following NGO exposé
Online retail giants Amazon and eBay have pulled several illegal skin lightening creams containing mercury sold in the UK, Belgium and US following investigative findings from international NGO coalition The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG).
eBay said it was also taking “enforcement action” against the sellers.
In 2013, the European Union and US were among signatories that signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury stipulating use of mercury and mercury compounds should be phased out. Under Annex A of the Minamata Convention, all manufacture, import and export of mercury-containing products, including cosmetics with more than 1 part per million (1ppm, or 1 µg/g) mercury, will be banned after 2020. However, certain European Union laws already ban use in cosmetics - notably the Cosmetics Regulation and also Regulation EU 2017/852, signed by the EU and 26 Member States declaring mercury a “very toxic substance which represents a global and major threat to human health” and prohibiting the export, import and manufacture of mercury-added products, except those necessary for military use or research.
Worldwide, many countries have also banned mercury-containing products which, for cosmetics, largely relates to skin lightening products.
4 – Indian expansion: Australia’s G&M Cosmetics seizes growth opportunities in booming market
Australian cosmetics manufacture G&M Cosmetics will be expanding into India with its full range of personal care products starting early 2020.
The firm will begin its entry into the market via Amazon India with three of its brands, Australian Creams, Dr V and P’URE Papaya care, which the company acquired in October.
Bobby Jordanov, general manager for G&M Cosmetics told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that Amazon India was the ideal partner to help it further its ambitions into the market.
“Amazon is the biggest player on the market and they can reach the whole country. We believe they will help us introduce our brands to the local consumers while we slowly work our way into other channels such as supermarkets and other retail chains.”
He added that the company also plans expand its footprint in India through Flipkart, as well as pharmacy and supermarket chains.
With a population of over 1.3bn and an emerging middle class with income to spare, India is a market no cosmetic company can afford to ignore, said Jordanov.
5 – Same, but different: AOBiome aims to capture China market with Mother Dirt 'twin'
US-based microbiome company AOBiome is poised to tackle the Chinese market with AO+ Skincare, a new brand based on its own probiotic beauty brand, Mother Dirt.
Like Mother Dirt, AO+ Skincare products contain the hero ingredient, Ammonia Oxidizing Bacteria (AOB). AOBiome claims that AOB acts as the “peacekeeper” of skin microbiome health but gets wiped out with the daily use of personal care products like soaps and deodorants.
The AO+ Skincare brand was created for China and Hong Kong markets, where it launched around six months ago. It is currently distributing its products through its own online store and via e-commerce platform JD.com
The brand not only has a different name but an entirely different look.
Shanshan Liu, head of marketing for AOBiome Cosmetics, explained to CosmeticsDesign-Asia that the company had to change the name because Mother Dirt does not translate well into Mandarin and would not resonate well with Chinese consumers.