Matthew Miller
Jun 9, 2020

Evidence suggests ecommerce uptick will be permanent: L'Oreal

Ecommerce sales are not fading even in markets that have passed through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to L'Oreal's chief digital officer.

L-R: Stephan Loerke, Lubomira Rochet
L-R: Stephan Loerke, Lubomira Rochet

L'Oreal's stats suggest that shopping through ecommerce channels is not returning to pre-pandemic levels even in markets that are relaxing distancing restrictions and allowing physical shops to reopen. 

"Those habits stayed," Lubomira Rochet, chief digital officer at L'Oreal, said in a pre-recorded conversation with Stephan Loerke, chief executive of the World Federation of Advertisers, which aired this morning during Advertising Week JAPAC

"One particular statistic I found interesting is that the differential ratio in terms of usage of digital, especially ecommerce, between the youngest generation and the older generation, decreased by 20 points," Rochet added. "It means that it also brought new demographics to the table—people who now think that ecommerce is the new normal."

Rochet advised brands to spend time in China and Asia because this region is "the laboratory" where new usage patterns, new behaviours are new ecosystems are being invented as we speak. For example she alluded to increased use of livestreaming and social commerce on China's ecommerce platforms. "I think that as ecommerce disrupted offline retail, social commerce and livestreaming will disrupt ecommerce," she said.

Amid such constant change, the marketer must be "a transformer" in order to adapt to everything that comes his or her way, Rochet added. "Transformation and change used to be this uncomfortable but necessary moment between two very stable phases," she said. "Today, I think it is the stable phase, and the only stable phase we will know is change and transformation. So the ability to transform, at scale, big organisations, and big marketing organisations, will I think, be very important in the future."

In such an environment, Rochet asserted that empathy with consumers is a critical touchstone. "If you don't understand the psychological mood, what people expect, if you miss the point, then you have the wrong tone of voice, which is something that you cannot afford," she said. 

"It's so important to be close to your consumers, to start from a position of love, from empathy. It's really something that will that will help us have the right tone of voice, come up with the right products, with the right messaging, be where they are, and talk to them the way they want to be talked to and engage with them in meaningful ways."

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