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

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Top five stories on the digital developments in beauty. [GettyImages]
Top five stories on the digital developments in beauty. [GettyImages]

Related tags: digital, e-commerce

In this round-up of the top five stories on the digital developments in beauty, we highlight Shiseido’s human approach to beauty tech, SENSAI’s e-commerce evolution and Watsons’ new O+O developments.

1 – Human touch: How Shiseido is using tech to make 2021 ‘the year of the empowered beauty consultant’

Shiseido is adamant that human contact is still essential​ to drive beauty sales but believes it can be enhanced greatly by tools such as Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality, according to its chief digital officer.

Angelica Munson, global chief digital officer at Shiseido, highlighted just how essential beauty tech tools like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) became for beauty brands in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“COVID-19 gave rise to this very digitally powered stay-at-home economy. It has hyper accelerated all the consumer behaviours… In retail, we call it the new retail world order… And it forces us to rethink how we sell and how we service. AI and AR were just amongst the few digital technologies in our category that essentially kept the economy going,” ​she said.

Like many companies, Shiseido accelerated its digital development last year, pushing out a raft of initiatives like livestreaming and video counselling.

2 – WATCH – Digital makeover: How the great online shift of 2020 is impacting the APAC beauty industry

In this episode of Beauty Broadcast, we discuss the upcoming shifts, challenges and game-changing tech that will influence the beauty industry as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to underscore the significance of the online channel​, with expert insights from AIONCO and Mintel.

The once ‘Amazon-poof’ beauty sector is being challenged by the seismic shifts brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, triggering a lasting change for beauty and its relationship with the online world.

According to research by McKinsey & Co, China alone has seen online revenues for beauty-industry players rise 20% to 30% during the outbreak.

Now that e-commerce is a part of daily life, consumers are not expected to move away even if they are able to go to stores again as they are now used to advantages like lower prices or greater convenience.

3 – Online opportunity: Kao aiming to strengthen ‘super prestige brand’ SENSAI in key markets

Kao Corporation is working to reinforce the online presence of its high-end beauty brand SENSAI​ in key markets such as Japan, China and Europe, in order to strengthen its position in the prestige skin care market.

The crown jewel in Kao’s luxury portfolio, SENSAI launched in Europe in 1983 and is best known for its signature ingredient, Koishimaru silk.

In order to grow SENSAI as its international flagship brand, Kao introduced the brand into Asia from 2019, starting first in Japan before expanding into China in 2020.

Souichi Yamaguchi, vice president of SENSAI, expressed the brand’s strength and potential in the market today, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

4 – Shade picker: Watsons to launch virtual foundation try-on to solve major consumer ‘pain point’

Health and beauty retailer Watsons will be launching a virtual foundation try-on tool​ in the second quarter this year beginning with Malaysia and Hong Kong to solve what it believes is a huge consumer ‘pain point’.

The new dedicated foundation shade finder was developed by the firm’s in-house digital agency, eLab, and is powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) tech to help consumers the most suitable foundation to match their skin tone and skin type.

It will first roll out on the Watsons mobile application and subsequently be extended in-store as a digital gadget.

Starting in the second quarter of the year, the app will be launched into Malaysia and Hong Kong and will feature foundations from all brands available in Watsons.

5 – E-volving times: COVID-19 pushes indie Singaporean perfumery to face its future in a digital world

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving independent Singaporean perfumery, Sifr Aromatics, to digitise its business​ with an e-commerce platform and an online-based bespoke perfumery service that it aims to launch this year.

Sifr Aromatics founder Johari Kazura is a third-generation perfumer whose family founded the local perfumery Kazura in 1933.

After a jaunt studying abroad over a decade ago, Kazura returned home to establish his own perfumery in 2010 to carry on the family legacy with a modern touch.

In the last 10 years, the perfumery has carved a name for itself. Some of its notable feats include being named dropped in the Louis Vuitton Singapore City Guide and expanding into the Australian market.

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