Beauty Tech Live review

Travel retail’s tech transformation

Beauty Tech Live featured a diverse selection of voices from across the beauty and tech industries. In a compelling day one session, speakers from Au Coeur du Luxe, CircleSquare and iClick Interactive Asia presented their views on how travel retail should use digital tools to target consumers in the new world.

The first panel session of Beauty Tech Live – Travel Retail’s Tech Transformation – revealed a wide variety of insights into how digital is influencing the promotion of the beauty category in the travel retail channel. Au Coeur du Luxe (ACDL) President Laurence Ouaknine, iClick Interactive Asia Limited VP International Business Cody Chan and CircleSquare Managing Partner Stéphane Zermatten spoke to Martin Moodie about how beauty brands and retailers can make the most of the fast-evolving variety of digital tools available to them.

Zermatten – whose company is a leading retail marketing, brand experience and consumer engagement agency – urged a customer-centric approach which marries digital targeting and communication with physical retail experiences across the entire shopper journey. He said: “If you focus on the people, rather than the channel, you come up with an overarching concept [featuring both digital and physical elements] that’s going to be the backbone of the conversation you will have with your customers.” On the use of digital in this strategy, he said: “Reaching and targeting customers and getting them into your brand world is a lot easier done online, with all of the data that we have available, all of the social media and all of the different digital marketing means at our disposal.”

Click on the video to play the full interview with the panel

With this as a starting point, companies can plan a content strategy to be delivered at each of the touchpoints in the shopper’s journey, including travel retail. Zermatten added that while digital shopping has risen in importance as a means of convenience and to complete “the mission of replenishment”, physical travel retail has a key role to play in what he describes as the brand or product “discovery mission”. But, he stressed, using digital means to drive footfall into travel retail stores and personalise the experience is crucial.

Curating personal experiences across retail channels should be the goal, says CircleSquare

Laurence Ouaknine – whose app-based technology trains the front line staff of major brand owners including Estée Lauder – explained that the use of digital methods to provide training is vital to maximise basket size and conversion rate in travel retail in the COVID-19 era. She said: “Recently more and more companies have decided to train front-liners with app-based e-learning because it’s very convenient in their day to day duties, and at the same time, it’s very scalable and effective. Also, the cost is low which is obviously very important at this time. “Through our app we can identify performance and knowledge gaps and push the relevant training, engaging people to create a community of learners and to make them closer to the brand than ever. It can also be used record their performance and at the same time to connect and communicate internationally. “The front-liners are representing your brand and your store network, and they have to be in the core of your strategy. It is a prerequisite that people are fully trained in order to leverage the five senses [in the travel retail environment].” Ouaknine also acknowledged the rise of livestreaming in travel retail and added that app-based e-learning has a key role play here too. She said: “Livestreaming is a great tool [to generate beauty brand sales] but it is very important that brands and retailers use e-learning to turn their brand ambassadors and front line staff [who are presenting livestreams] into KOLs. They learn how to promote a brand’s products and present it well in livestream.”

With the help of strong product knowledge for front line staff, she said she foresees that “in the future when I travel, I will be able to have the right service, from people that would be able to answer my questions about products, and provide me with the experience that I deserve as a traveller.” Cody Chan delivered insights on behalf of iClick Interactive, whose digital platform iAudience, provides brand clients with data on the characteristics of 940 million Chinese consumers, covering 98% of the country’s netizens. Leveraging such insights, Chan explained, helps brands to better understand the specialist nature of the Chinese market, enabling them to shape content and hit the right digital touchpoints to communicate with native consumers, including when they travel. He said: “Trying to market a product in China can be difficult for brands, because of the media landscape, the cultural differences to Western countries, and maybe the policies as well.” Chan said iClick has a specialist business unit dedicated to overseas and travel retail clients to assist in this regard, which uses iAudience data to help drive footfall to stores, target consumers using ecommerce and use the right media to reach them.

Chan noted the scale of the opportunity for beauty brands in China, revealing that there are more than 300 million females in the country aged between 20 and 50. He said: “Many of us see the opportunities, but at the same time the market has a lot of challenges as well. It is basically our role to resolve their [the brand’s] challenges. For example, you may know the number females in China, but how do we locate them? How are we able to identify them?” Chan continued: “What if I only want to target 20-30 year olds? How about 30-40? So, these are all the questions that brands want answers to and they also want to see what kind of [digital] platform should they use in China. It really depends on the client situation and what their needs are. There is absolutely no one size fits all solution. “We use insights and knowledge that we capture from iAudience, so that we know how to plan for our brands strategically, and how they can use this information to slot into different touchpoints.”

The ‘Chinese Travel Shoppers White Paper 2020’ revealed the latest Chinese market trends and the travel retail outlook for 2020, in association with The Moodie Davitt Report and ClickInsights (issued in October 2020)


The Moodie Davitt eZine Issue 295 | 18 May 2021

The Moodie Davitt eZine is published 15 times per year by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd). © All material is copyright and cannot be reproduced without the permission of the Publisher. To find out more visit and to subscribe, please e-mail

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