L’Oreal UK is shifting some of its search budget to Amazon
As brands circle Amazon’s advertising business, L’Oréal is eyeing its fast-growing search business in a bid to capitalize on the online retailer’s emergence as the preferred entry for internet shopping.
Thirty-eight percent of all beauty searches start on Amazon, according to Nick Buckley, L’Oréal’s digital director in the U.K. But rather than see the shift in search queries as a way to drive sales, the cosmetics giant wants to turn the online behemoth into a richer source of inspiration, such as identifying customer trends. Consequently, the business is pouring more of its search budget in the U.K. into Amazon.
As a percentage of L’Oréal’s total search budgets in the U.K., Amazon’s share is still in the single digits. But as the volume of searches increases, L’Oréal will “also look to increase in line with this, so anticipate this spend to grow,” said Buckley. For the beauty terms and searches the cosmetics company’s makeup brands are keen on, it is “buying up all the inventory on the platform,” Buckley revealed. He added: “As we start buying keywords in other categories [skin care and luxury goods], this will naturally increase the scale.”
This is because Amazon is increasingly the starting point for many people searching for L’Oréal’s products online. But just because consumers start on the site, it doesn’t mean they ultimately buy from Amazon, said Buckley. Instead, those shoppers often research and compare products on platforms and across other retailers.
“We’re seeing people initially go to Amazon to find out information about a product before then jumping outside of that to YouTube, where they can see how to apply those products,” Buckley said. “Then, they’re moving on to Google to compare that same product with others. [Amazon is] an e-commerce platform, but we believe it’s more than that.”
Part of Amazon’s allure to L’Oréal stems from the voice searches via Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. The cosmetics business predicts that a fifth of total search will occur vocally in the next 18 months. While no major services are planned, Buckley and his team are watching Alexa as well as the likes of Apple’s Siri closely.
“Alexa is really interesting for us because it’s a huge opportunity that will fundamentally change the whole search environment,” Buckley said. “We’re spending a lot of time at the moment in terms of how we react to that. We haven’t got all the answers yet, but we’re looking into it.”
Commerce will still play a big part in L’Oréal’s upcoming investments on Amazon even if it is now admittedly overindexing on its ads. Like other businesses such as Nike, L’Oréal’s relationship with the sell-side of the business is that of a frenemy, and as such, has made it tread carefully. The company’s trepidation showed on its earnings call last week when CEO Jean-Paul Agon declined to comment on Amazon’s rumored move into cosmetics.
L’Oréal said its e-commerce sales grew 29.5 percent in the first half of the year and now represent 7 percent of total sales. But given that it wants 20 percent of its total revenue to come from e-commerce, working so closely with a retailer that could eventually become a rival is a precarious means to an end.
However, L’Oréal would argue that setting up “shops” on Amazon would balloon its presence and therefore push it to its sales target far quicker than if it had tried to resist selling directly to shoppers on Amazon. The cosmetics business launched an online store for its Men Expert line on Amazon at the turn of the year and plans to launch others in the coming months, building on momentum gained so far in 2017.
‘People have had permission to experiment’: Pandemic expedites rethink on 9-to-5 work structures
Starting out as a short-term fix to weather the coronavirus storm, employers are seeing work hours outside the traditional 9-to-5 week as a new normal.
‘A digital Madison Square Garden’: How Complex reimagined the sponsorship opportunities for ComplexLand
The online event, which will combine music, conversation, gaming and shopping in an online world, will have 60 sponsors.
‘They wanted to unload it bad’: Why HuffPost made sense for BuzzFeed – and Verizon Media Group
BuzzFeed's acquisition of HuffPost will give it access to an older, more affluent cohort, potentially bolstering its news and commerce businesses.
SponsoredA buyer’s guide to new CTV terminology
by Austin Scott, Head of EMEA Video Market Development at Xandr There has been a seismic shift in the way audiences consume content. The average U.S. home owns 11 connected devices. More than 40 percent of consumers use connected TV (CTV) devices to stream content daily, and 77 percent of households are considered CTV households. […]
‘A start-up again’: New Quartz owner Zach Seward’s plan for longevity includes revenue innovation and reader support
Seward would not disclose current financials, but the upswing in ad revenue in third and fourth quarters has him optimistic about the company's position for 2021.
‘People are gonna shop’: Despite second coronavirus wave, consumer confidence ticks up and brakes on ad spend not slammed yet
Better prepared brands and more settled consumers have kept advertising revenues flowing, even as a second coronavirus wave rises.