L’Oréal Travel Retail Active Cosmetics & Professional Products Divisions General Manager Anne-Laure Lecerf talks about the growing opportunities in haircare and why Kérastase is just the brand to leverage these opportunities in travel retail.
Within highly competitive perfumes & cosmetics category, haircare may still be considered a niche to most. In recent years though, this small but growing category has recorded impressive double digit growth in the channel even amidst the headwinds of COVID-19.
Kérastase — which made its global travel retail debut in 2014 — has successfully transposed its brand equity as the world’s leading luxury professional brand into the channel, growing its network to 70 shops in eight short years and enjoying triple-digit growth in 2022.
Thanks to its reputation in the salon professional world, Kérastase has an important role to play in growing the haircare category in travel retail. Lecerf explains: “Kérastase is the world’s leading luxury haircare brand for over 55 years with a well-deserved reputation in pioneering the future of haircare. The brand joined L’Oréal Travel Retail in 2014 and now we have 70 shops all around the world tailored for the demands of the travelling consumer
“We aim to always to offer a cutting-edge, luxurious, professional and personalised shopping experiences to all travellers. Kérastase, with its very differentiated professional approach, its luxury retail environments and its relationship with real haircare experts, has plenty of potential to generate even more interest in haircare, recruit new customers and invite others to discover this channel for the first time.”
In terms of recruitment, Kérastase has an important role to play, a function that is largely connected to the salon professional and beauty tech services that it offers in-store. “The Kérastase shopping experience starts with a hair diagnosis, which is crucial to recruiting new people to the channel” Lecerf explains.
“Whenever we do a diagnosis, we increase conversion by +30%. Also, 49% of people who come to a shop to buy Kérastase are new to travel retail, which means that we are recruiting new customers into the channel too. People are amazed to see the brand in travel retail, and then when they enter the store the power of the specialist really helps conversion.”
Beauty technology is an integral part in Kérastase’s salon professional services. Its latest Kérascan innovation is a consultation tool that gives shoppers an in-depth hair diagnosis from scalp to ends. This device, alongside other innovations, underpin L’Oréal Travel Retail’s wider mission to become the ‘Unicornasaurus Rex’ or travel retail. A term coined by L’Oréal Travel Retail President Vincent Boinay to define the company’s mission to become a leader in beauty tech.
“Kérastase is innovating and revolutionising its in-store approach to become more innovative and more digitally driven. In our stores, we don’t only offer products but rather a full service that starts with a revolutionary Kérascan diagnosis, powered by artificial intelligence. In 2023, the Kérascan diagnosis will be rolled out both online and in travel retail stores to give travellers a full salon experience, powered by an advanced digital tool that is used by hairdressers. Once shoppers discover the right haircare solution for their specific hair needs, they are then invited to choose a specific travel retail set that contains a full routine of bespoke products. It is like visiting a salon while waiting for your flight.”
Beyond the allure of beauty tech, Lecerf stresses that Kérastase has so much to offer in the travel retail space. “The power of Kérastase lies in its versality,” she explains. “Kérastase is a well-respected professional brand with a strong luxury in-store experience and a very attractive gifting offer. The brand also offers convenience and efficiency by providing all travellers with best performing, personalised solutions to make them look and feel their best throughout their journey.
“The brand has a special convenience appeal too, especially if travellers forget to pack their favourite Kérastase product,” she adds. “There are many reasons for travellers to choose Kérastase. Our retailers know it too as they are convinced and totally aligned with what Kérastase has to offer in terms of values and solutions.”
Lecerf adds, “I think that Kérastase’s brand universe resonates with most travellers. As travel retail is an image catalyser and an international showcase for our brands — with great brands expressions and experiences — I think that travellers are quite happy to discover Kérastase in this channel. As the number one luxury professional haircare brand, Kérastase is also a true sales driver, reaching travellers from diverse backgrounds.
You dare, we care
Known as a haircare pioneer, all of Kérastase’s brand activities and innovations are centred around its ‘You Dare We Care’ ethos. Commenting on the brand’s mission of care, Lecerf says: “Kérastase is all about confidence and self-expression as we believe beauty has no frontiers, no limits and no preconceived ideals.
“We empower our consumers to be who they want to be by offering a large selection of high performance, personalised, luxurious haircare solutions powered by science for all types of hair, ages, ethnicities and styles. We are here to support everyone in their haircare journey.”
This mission of care extends to its sustainability activities too. Since 2013, the brand has been transforming its packaging, formulations and ramping up CSR activities in line with the Groupe’s wider ‘L’Oréal for the Future’ Environmental, Social & Governance programme.
“We care for hair by offering the best products with the safest, most effective formulas. Since 2013, we’ve shown that we care for the planet and its people by implementing positive, sustainable changes throughout our business to create a more diverse, inclusive and responsible future. Now, sustainability is well integrated in everything we do.
“We are optimising our packaging with recyclable and refillable bottles and reducing the intensity and weight of our packaging. We have been reformulating our products with bio-based/biodegradable ingredients from sustainable sources. We are also working with carbon neutral factories to minimise our emissions. We’re aiming for 100% eco-design across our retail expressions.”
“The desire for beauty has existed since the beginning of humanity, it is a universal aspiration across time, countries, cultures. Yet, at L’Oréal we know that beauty is more than just looking good. It gives us confidence about who we are, who we want to be and about the relationships we build with one other. Each and every brand in L’Oréal Groupe embraces and celebrates all expressions of beauty with all its diversity.
“Within this frame, Kérastase has launched the Power Talks programme which seeks to fight against the Confidence Gap. The Confidence gap is a very important issue in the world where one in two women rate themselves less confident than men. Through Power Talks, we are supporting female mentoring programmes that help young women realise their potential and build the dream life that they desire. Kérastase is working with non-profit organisations and experts to help them on this journey.”
The global haircare category grew by +22% in 2022, and within that category, Kérastase enjoyed triple-digit travel retail growth in the same year. Lecerf is confident that this upward trajectory will continue for haircare, driven by salon professional brands such as Kérastase. “Powered by advanced research and a spirit that challenges convention, Kérastase is well-known as the brand that invented care for hair. As a love brand, Kérastase is a key contributor to sales and growth.
“We have outstanding formulas caring for all hair types for both men and women. This, combined with efficacy and professional advice, is exactly what haircare consumers are looking for. This is why I’m positive about the future of Kérastase and the category as a whole.”
With an eye towards the future, Lecerf concludes: “Our common ambition at L’Oréal Travel Retail is to provide beauty for all travellers. With this common passion, we will continue serving travellers with our luxury services, beauty technology, digital innovation and personalised haircare advice which will accompany them throughout their journeys.
“We are expanding this exceptional brand to target even more nationalities, while simultaneously caring for our resource-limited planet and working to decrease our environmental footprint together with our retailers, consumers and other industry stakeholders.”
Spotlight Series - April 2023