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Panellists on stage at the CEW Beauty Tech Summit




16 June 2022

CEW Beauty Tech Summit: a discussion on the beauty consumer's journey

Last week, CEW UK held its first Beauty Tech Summit to support brands in the beauty sector on their digital transformation journey. With THG Ingenuity among its headline partners, the event took place at the Royal Institution of Great Britain in London and brought together speakers and attendees from leading tech and beauty businesses to discuss topics ranging from using augmented reality (AR) tools to solving supply chain issues with tech. 

Hosted by THG Fluently CEO, Quentin Naylor MBE, THG Ingenuity led a panel with senior members of our team and clients to discuss ‘From first click to final mile: a beauty consumer’s journey’. Our panelists were:  

-Adam Minto, Revolution Beauty CEO and Founder  
-Anjun Murari, Molton Brown VP of Global Sales Channels and Strategic Development  
-Hannah Pym, CEO of THG Ingenuity Studios and Commerce  
-Herculano Rodrigues, COO of THG Ingenuity Commerce  

The panelists discussed issues surrounding the challenges of delivering an ecommerce strategy in the beauty space, differentiation, internationalization and the complexity of the full online shopping journey. 

Below, we summarize their key takeaways:  


The audience were asked who had launched a website, to which many hands were raised. Yet a significant number of these were lowered when then asked who had considered the task to be easy. Indeed, launching a website can be easy, but when it comes to sustaining the success of that site, the difficulty levels are raised, Herculano explained. 

THG Ingenuity's Hannah Pym speaking at CEW

Hannah Pym, CEO, THG Ingenuity Studios and Commerce

When asked about what brands need to consider when looking to win online, Hannah highlighted the complexity of a DTC operation, with the need to have timely deliveries and localized infrastructure and distribution, noting that it is much more than "just a website — it’s about bringing all the different elements together seamlessly to delight the end user." Anjun noted how customers may try their products at airports or hotels but wait until they go online to complete a purchase, so the omnichannel experience is crucial. "You really have to think about how you are engaging with customers 360", he added. 

Our discussion also turned to how the rise of Gen Z as a key consumer group was contributing to shaping strategy. Adam Minto reflected on how this demographic’s expectations are "light years different" to any other consumer’s. However, he noted: "Please don't obsess about it, because every year there'll be another generation. Just maintain your relevance." "Don't obsess about a generation. Obsess about your customer every day; launch products to gather more information and ensure you are relevant to your customer all the time." Talking about online channels, he underscored that ecommerce is not just a selling channel; on the contrary, it is "the [digital] home of your brand, like your social media channels are," remarking on how they should inform a brand about its consumers and offer information about where to place products. "My best advice," he added, "is be where your consumers are." 


Consumers are everywhere, so how do you handle the first click to final mile journey when going international? 

Logistics are key to smooth international operations, as Hannah noted, including fulfilment, in-market distribution centers and localized payment methods. Using local couriers with competitive shipping times saw an increase in customer lifetime value of 28% and a 78% reduction in fulfilment costs, according to THG Ingenuity data, based on results across its US fulfilment network. An international journey means looking at the nuances of a brand and finding what the right articulation of it is in a new territory. "We help brands to understand that it's not as simple as a blanket website and keeping the same approach, so really adapting the brand strategy and thinking about content in that regard" is key. 

Quentin remarked on the importance of getting local compliance right as one of the key challenges when expanding to new markets, with Herculano explaining that compliance is usually the first challenge that comes up. Another challenging aspect is customer acquisition channels. "If you go to APAC it is going to be a much different channel in terms of how you reach your consumers: for example, if you're not on WeChat in China, you're not relevant, so it's always about thinking about what channels are right for which market," he explained. It's about being relevant and understanding which channels your consumers are using and being there. If a brand can't do it on its own, finding a partner who understands local nuances is vital. 

Anjun highlighted how crucial it is to pick an experienced partner that can offer guidance through some of these challenges and underscored the effectiveness of working with a partner like THG Ingenuity, that has expertise across the 52 different markets where Molton Brown distributes its products and can help to navigate them with confidence. 

When it came to discussing how to implement an omnichannel voice and approach when you have a wide global reach, Adam said: "We are physically in 63 countries, and I was determined to make sure that the brand was relevant for many different languages and cultures," but "also transfer it to what Hannah was talking about earlier on: you have to respect your customer, so you have to localize — not just the language, but also the delivery." "What I'm obsessed with right now,’ he continued ‘is making sure we localize as much as possible, and that we are delivering to that customer experience." Customers who might have seen a Revolution Beauty product in a retailer might decide to buy it directly from the brand, and they will expect to get it in a couple of days, not seven, he explained. "So yes, localization is key. If you are going to take your brand global, you have to take it seriously and have a plan. Or you don't and stay local in your market. Going in between is going to be tough."

THG Ingenuity's Herculano Rodrigues and Molton Brown's Anjun Murari speaking at CEW

Anjun Murari, VP of Global Sales Channels and Strategic Development, Molton Brown, and Herculano Rodrigues, COO, THG Ingenuity Commerce


With personalization becoming an increasingly key area for many marketing teams, Anjun discussed the topic of personalization versus scale, noting that "it’s a very complex area". 

For Herculano, product personalization is at a stage that is still considered niche, but it will "move to a place over 3-4 years where we will see mass personalization at scale, beyond a marketing initiative." He gave the example of a company in Thailand, which seven years ago was already working on a technology that can 'implant' a product onto a Netflix show. "The actors would be holding a green bottle and that bottle would change depending on where the consumer is, and then they would have the potential for instant shopping," he explained. "That, for me, is true personalization. I think it's only the start of it." 

Hannah commented on THG Ingenuity's personalization work with Quality Street, pointing out that "the increase in AOV and perceived value through doing it [personalization] and the ability to acquire new customers right now through personalization is massive." "I think for us the value can be seen in the ability to command a much higher selling price," she said. 

Revolution Beauty's Adam Minto and THG Ingenuity's Herculano Rodrigues speaking at CEW

 Herculano Rodrigues, COO, THG Ingenuity Commerce, and Adam Minto, CEO and Founder, Revolution Beauty

Finally, the panelists shared their thoughts on what will be biggest opportunity in beauty commerce over the next 24 months. 

For Adam, it’s being where the customer is and using localization. "You don't have to go global, but if you're going global respect your consumer — know that they are going to want it the same way as a local company and they are going to want to get content in their language, and in their accent," he said. 

Hannah spoke about channel diversification. "When we speak with partners, it's kind of binary: is it online, is it brick and mortar? It's both," she said, adding that "it’s also about social commerce, live selling, marketplaces, and thinking about that full mix of channels."

Lastly, Anjun remarked on how important it is to be authentic and ensure "all decisions are customer focused." "Over time, the brands that will be successful will be authentic and genuine brands that do not follow trends and that do things authentically," he concluded. 

A big thank you to all the panelists and our moderator!  

If you’d like to learn more about THG Ingenuity’s unique approach to ecommerce from first click to final mile, get in touch with us today. 

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