Goulin: L’Oréal can “invent the beauty of tomorrow”

As L’Oréal takes part in the China International Consumer Products Expo (Hainan Expo), the beauty giant’s Travel Retail Asia Pacific Managing Director Emmanuel Goulin assesses the growing importance of Hainan to its business today.

He said, “Travel retail has begun to recover largely thanks to Hainan and our participation in the Hainan Expo demonstrates our commitment to further develop business in this strategic region.”

In this interview, we spoke with Goulin who outlined the key features of L’Oréal’s “purpose-driven” space at the Hainan Expo.

He also highlighted the company’s commitment towards sustainability and how this mission will be brought to life through its ecologically-designed booth and high-profile Biotherm x Coco Capitán partnership.

Goulin also shared his thoughts on how data and innovation will help maintain L’Oréal’s competitive edge in Hainan’s dynamic marketplace.

“Our transformation to becoming a digital and data-driven company gives us a cutting edge in the travel retail beauty channel,” he said. “Today, Chinese consumers are ultra-connected, and with the digital acceleration brought by the pandemic, we need to leverage on data and innovations to give consumers personalised services at every touchpoint of their travelling journey.”

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The Moodie Davitt Report: How did your partnership with the China International Consumer Products Expo come to be? What role will the Expo play in terms of L’Oréal Travel Retail’s Hainan and wider Chinese presence?

Emmanuel Goulin: We are extremely pleased to be one of the major partners in the first edition of the Hainan Expo. The expo underlines the important message in building Hainan into an international tourism and consumption centre.

Travel retail has begun to recover largely thanks to Hainan and our participation in the Hainan Expo demonstrates our commitment to further develop business in this strategic region.

What statement does your Expo presence make in terms of the importance of China, and particularly Hainan, to L’Oréal Travel Retail’s business today?

Mainland China is a strategic market where our group has started the year with remarkable growth as stated in the 2021 Q1 results published last week.

With our size in China overall and in Hainan in particular, we are convinced that everything we do can have a meaningful impact and we want to invent the beauty of tomorrow.

We showcase a purpose-driven space through our powerful portfolio of 16 beauty brands, an ecologically designed pavilion, a purposeful launch of the Biotherm X Coco Capitán collaboration and a seamless digitalised traveller shopping journey.

A positive transformation: L’Oréal’s purpose-driven pavilion showcases innovation, sustainability and beauty

Goulin says that data and innovation are the keys to staying competitive in Hainan

L’Oréal’s presence at the China International Consumer Products Expo has been described as a ‘purpose-driven space.’ What does that mean? Could you tell us more about your stand’s sustainability credentials?

L’Oréal is a global leader with strong values; it makes me very proud that we put eco-friendly design at the heart of our business model.

As much as possible, our pavilion is constructed with more sustainable materials, such as FSC-certified wood, recycled metal and water-based paint.

We rent and reuse fixtures and displays from previous events in China. Last and most importantly, by adapting a screw system and avoiding using glue, the pavilion is designed to be separable for end-of-life recycling.

The booth features many circular economy practices. Brands such as Lancôme are showcased with fixtures that are mostly reused from previous events in Hainan.

What beauty tech and other innovations can Expo visitors see from L’Oréal Travel Retail at the Hainan Expo?

Our digital prowess enables us to make beauty even more personalised and connected in travel retail. YSL and Armani are showcasing their makeup virtual try-on technologies powered by ModiFace, where visitors can realistically create and compare a beauty look with several products with the support of artificial intelligence.

The pavilion embraces a digitally-driven shopping journey, where purchases can be made through a scan of a QR code, directing visitors to CDFG’s pre-order website.

L’Oréal partnered with One Planet Foundation to help tackle marine litter at Wuzhizhou Island off the coast of Hainan

A fully immersive 360-degree room also educates visitors on Biotherm’s ocean preservation initiatives in L’Oréal’s pavilion

Could you also tell us more about the Biotherm x Coco Capitán collaboration?

We are proud to celebrate the occasion with strong value through the exclusive launch of Biotherm x Coco Capitán. Through our partnership with renowned multi-media artist Coco Capitán, we want to raise awareness about how climate change is threatening our blue lung, the world’s oceans.

Going beyond this launch, we also partnered with One Planet Foundation for a beach clean-up in Hainan’s Wuzhizhou Island on 22 April.

At the pavilion, the Biotherm x Coco Capitán immersive room is one of the key highlights. Through a 360-degree visual experience, visitors will be able to interact on an LED wall to discover Biotherm’s long-standing sustainability commitments.

With Hainan’s offshore duty free business consistently serving as the bright light of the travel industry throughout the crisis, do you see L’Oréal Travel Retail placing even greater focus on the region?

Throughout the pandemic, Hainan has shown strong recovery. In 2020, 65 million Chinese tourists visited Hainan and it is continuing to grow and made very attractive with 59 Hainan visa-free countries.

With over ten years of expertise in the Hainan travel retail channel coupled with our position as the number one beauty group in the domestic market, the ambition is to further expand our brand portfolio and to launch exciting brands such as Valentino soon to Hainan.

The purpose-driven pavilion is dedicated to bring beauty for all travellers

How does L’Oréal Travel Retail set itself apart amidst a highly-competitive beauty landscape in Hainan?

Our transformation to becoming a digital and data-driven company gives us a cutting edge in the travel retail beauty channel. Today, Chinese consumers are ultra-connected, and with the digital acceleration brought by the pandemic, we need to leverage on data and innovations to give consumers personalised services at every touchpoint of their journey.

To understand what travellers are looking for, turning data into valuable information is the key to success. We have long been adapting to ecommerce and digital marketing, and ModiFace which enables virtual try on, is a big competitive advantage for us.

Footnote (1): Every fortnight The Moodie Davitt Report publishes Hainan Curated, in association with Foreo, a selection of all recent stories from the offshore duty free sector in Hainan province.

Click here to view all back issues. Please email Sinead@MoodieDavittReport.com to subscribe.

Footnote (2): Together with our strategic partner in Hainan, Hainan Hinews Media Co, The Moodie Davitt Report is providing live daily coverage of the Expo. As reported, The Moodie Davitt Report and Hainan Hinews Media Co have struck a far-reaching win/win strategic cooperation agreement to boost mutual coverage of Hainan’s booming offshore duty free sector and the Free Trade Port development