SEA ripe for further online beauty boom if brands can join the dots

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Why the SEA region is ripe for further online beauty sales success. [Getty Images]
Why the SEA region is ripe for further online beauty sales success. [Getty Images]

Related tags: e-commerce, SEA

A Thai-based firm set up by former Lazada execs that has worked on e-commerce strategy with the likes of Lancôme, Kiehl’s, The Body Shop, and Clarins says the region is ripe for further online beauty sales success, providing firms can align their digital content with commerce.

CREA is a digital commerce enabler operating in South East Asia. The company was founded by former Lazada executives Aimone Ripa di Meana and Alessandro Piscini.

The company has worked with a range of leading brands including Lancôme, Kiehl’s, The Body Shop, and Clarins. It will soon be bringing aboard more brands thanks to its partnership with global beauty distributor SuperOrdinary.

Since launching in Thailand in 2019, the company is set on growing its presence across the SEA region. This year it is focusing on growing its presence in Singapore and Malaysia “very significantly”.

One key area of focus for the company is the beauty market, which it believes holds a lot of growth potential in SEA.

“Beauty is very strong, particularly in SEA where people are hungry to learn about new trends and so on. If you think about how it was 10 years ago, you’d have to learn about trends in the US from Vogue, which is not very accessible. Now with Instagram, anyone can learn about the latest trends, brands, ingredients – that’s created a lot of engagement in the digital space,” ​said Ripa di Meana.

“We've grown a lot in what we call the masstige premium segment, which is probably the most exciting and the one that had the biggest influx online over the last year. It’s clearly an area where we’re investing a lot on.”

Last November, it was announced that CREA has received US$25 million in investment from SuperOrdinary, which gained a minority stake in the e-commerce firm in exchange. This funding would support CREA in its expansion plans.

“We will work with SuperOrdinary to bring a new set of brands to the market, brands that don’t have a full distribution presence in SEA and really build these brands here in SEA,”​ said Ripa di Meana.

In addition, the company also hopes to expand the channels it operates. Ripa di Meana told us the firm is planning to launch around two to three new channels for its brands to operate in.

“There's a lot happening today in the world of social commerce. Also, there’s a general theme of creators being the drivers of traffic and awareness for these brands… Beauty, in particular, requires content to be one of the main drivers​,” said Ripa di Meana.

“Clearly in the beauty space, this access to content and the fact that people are constantly looking for new brands…​. the social commerce element is one of the key foundations to be able to drive that going forward.”

While that is booming, he highlighted that there was a huge gap in terms of solutions to help people monetise these channels.

“You have Facebook and Instagram where there’s a lot of content being created, but the commerce capabilities on the back end of it aren’t very easy – it’s not easy to place orders, track it or have other people create content for you to buy.

“In a very multi-channel environment, what is the way in which these channels are integrated from the creator, the content generation down to the commerce part? In think today in SEA, its still trying to find its roots.”

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