L’Oreal partners with Google to boost virtual make-up business

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The world’s largest cosmetic company, L’Oreal has partnered with Google, to enable its customer base to try on the products virtually while searching for them, as the French company is widening its online business to recover from the pandemic.

Even though the cosmetic group has shown a considerable increase in sales in its third-quarter as the lockdown and other restrictions were eased around the globe, the company has already accelerated some web initiatives due to pandemic, says Lubomira Rochet, digital chief at L’Oreal.

“There’s been an acceleration in all our partnerships due to COVID-19,” Mr. Rochet stated. In 2018, L’Oreal acquired a Canadian augmented reality specialist firm, ModiFace and the current partnership with Google will be based on the design created by the tech firm.

The popular video-sharing platform YouTube is yet another go-to site for cosmetic lovers who very often search for make-up tutorials online, haircare or skincare videos and considering on this understanding L’Oreal is planning to enter into a partnership with YouTube also.

With the current collaboration, people looking for lipsticks or eye shadows from L’Oreal brand and its subsidiaries including Maybelline, NYX, Lancome or Urban Decay, can try the products virtually when they come across their advertisements on Google or YouTube.

In 2018, L’Oreal had made a ModiFace partnership with social media site Facebook. During the COVID-19 lockdowns the usage of virtual make-up tools increased fivefold and the conversion rate from an advert to purchase was three times higher with the try-on, Mr. Rochet said.

Consumers used the augmented reality experience especially to mimic hair dye colors during coronavirus shutdowns, Mr. Rochet added.

The online sales of cosmetic products, especially in China, have helped to cover up a part of the losses and Mr. Rochet estimates that half of L’Oreal’s sales are likely to come from the web within the next three to seven years, up from around a quarter now.