Tech Bytes from Retail & Tech No 27

The latest tech news to inform and inspire


  • CES 2021. The CES is taking place virtually this week, and for beauty and retail, the key focus at the show is on personalization, sustainability and contactless in-store solutions for testing or payment.

    L’Oréal unveiled a hair washing system that reduces water consumption. The group partnered with Swiss environmental company Gjosa to create the system for salon and home use. It infuses L’Oréal products into the water stream, which is said to make for better absorption, faster rinsing and claims to reduce water usage by 80%. L’Oréal also showcased an at-home personalized lipstick machine for Yves Saint Laurent, which uses the group’s AI Perso technology unveiled last year. The device uses color cartridge sets from YSL’s red, nude, orange and pink shades that can be combined to create thousands of customized shades of the brand’s Velvet Cream Matte Finish lipstick.

    Meanwhile, Amorepacific highlighted its Lip Factory by Color Tailor device, which recommends lip colors through an AI-based mobile app, while the machine’s pigment dispensing system manufactures the product immediately on-site. Amorepacific also presented Formularity, an at-home device that makes a new dose of skincare product for each use and delivers it on a cotton pad. Users choose from three skincare ampoules on the device and the system blends a dose of the selected ampoule in a liquid toner base. It then soaks a pre-inserted cotton pad with the blended formula.

    On the retail side, commerce agency LiveArea unveiled its new in-store solution LiveArea Scan & Go, which allows users to scan products and pay on their smartphone, without having to download an app.


  • BNPL on the up. The ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ trend continues to gather steam. Buy now, pay later provider Afterpay said its US customers’ average basket size grew 30% in the three months ended December 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Traffic to the fintech company’s brand partners was also strong, with Afterpay stating that it saw a 145% year-over-year increase in referrals to global merchants from its Shop Directory. The company says demand for its in-store solutions continues to grow and that more than two million customers have set up the Afterpay Card to shop in person since fall last year. The total number of customers that have signed up to Afterpay in the US now exceeds 13 million and the total number of global retail partners is nearly 64,000.


  • More bans for Chinese apps. US president Donald Trump issued an executive order last week banning eight Chinese payment apps, including Alipay, WeChat Pay and Tencent QQ. The ban, to take effect in 45 days, claims the apps threaten US national security. In August last year,  the US government said Chinese-owned TikTok would be banned, citing similar security concerns.


  • Shopping around. Consumers are using ever more retail channels and devices to shop, and switch between them often, according to financial news publisher The company states that 90% of customers in the US switch between devices during the same day. Customers today use an average of six touchpoints for shopping, including physical shops, online stores, smartphones, PCs and tablets, says the publisher. It adds that while more consumers are turning to shopping online, they are also looking to picking up goods in store to avoid shipping fees. Additionally, customers expect physical store inventory information to be available online, and almost 98% of shoppers are frustrated if they have to reiterate demands to customer care when they switch from one channel to another.


  • Nykaa to go public. Indian online beauty retailer Nykaa E-Retail is planning an initial public offering (IPO) that would value the company at least $3bn. Nykaa was founded in 2012 and sells 1,500 brands across make-up, skincare, haircare and wellness. The retailer has 68 stores across India with two formats: Nykaa Luxe and Nykaa On Trend. The retailer’s website and app generate 60 million visits per month, of which 80% are repeat customers, the company says.


  • Beauty Tech Live. BW Confidential is pleased to announce that Lubomira Rochet, L’Oréal Chief Digital Officer, is to be a speaker at the new Beauty Tech Live virtual event set to take place from April 12-16, 2021. Rochet has been Chief Digital Officer of the L’Oréal Group since March 2014 and is a member of the group’s Executive Committee. She has been instrumental in the French group’s digital transformation.

    Beauty Tech Live is the first B2B Virtual Expo & Conference that will bring together tech products, solutions and services for the beauty industry in one place. It will also be a forum for executives to share new ideas, inspiration and experiences in the area of beauty tech. The event is organized by BW Confidential in partnership with the Moodie Davitt Virtual Expo Company.