Like all industries, the beauty sector has been forced to make some significant changes in the wake of the global pandemic. As an industry which once focused largely on face-to-face interactions, in-person consultations and the physical beauty counter, shifting services online had to be done swiftly and innovatively. 


It goes without saying that beauty brands delivered. According to Lubomira Rochet, Chief Digital Officer at L’Oréal, the sector achieved in eight weeks what would have otherwise taken three years to achieve. Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, the global cosmetic skincare industry is projected to be worth $189.3 billion by 2025, growing at a rate of 5% annually


So, what steps has the global beauty industry taken to successfully transform the way that consumers take care of their skin at home? 


While the high street shopping experience has changed considerably over previous years, the physical beauty counter remains a department store staple. Giving consumers the opportunity to browse brands, swatch products, and gain intel on the best formulations for their unique skincare needs, the in-person experience has provided a solid foundation for consumers to expand their beauty knowledge and for brands to build long-term relationships with their clients.

When Covid-19 restrictions took hold, it was up to beauty brands to shift their product offerings online, while still maintaining the same level of service and expertise. This involved taking an innovative approach to new technologies, tailoring their product offerings, and ensuring that personalisation was at the core of every new customer interaction. For this, an omnichannel approach was required.



Now that the most influential retail avenue – the physical store – has been put on hold, it is vital that beauty brands focus their efforts on expanding and accelerating their other channels and making sure they seamlessly connect together. This could mean expanding their online product offering, integrating social media channels into online stores, or investing in new technologies such as apps and devices.

An omnichannel approach creates visibility through multiple channels, integrating various methods of shopping and thus, maximising consumer touchpoints. It’s about making the process as easy as it can possibly be for consumers; limiting time to shift between apps, websites and social media accounts and allowing them to view, compare and buy in just a few simple clicks.


One way that brands can effectively embrace the omnichannel experience is by harnessing the technologies we use every day. We have become even more reliant on our mobile phones since the global pandemic struck, giving beauty brands a prime opportunity to get creative with the ways they interact with us.

A first step would be optimising websites for use on mobile phones, to ensure formatting isn’t lost and that load times are just as effective as laptop and PC. A second would be integrating online product offerings with social media channels, allowing consumers to simply click or swipe up from a product in an advert to the final purchase screen on the company’s website.

Brands can also go one step further and invest in innovative new technologies to elevate their customer experience. This can include everything from apps – which mobilise capabilities such as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) – to handheld devices and online consultation platforms.


Digital applications (apps) have become an increasingly important channel used by brands to connect with their consumers in new ways. For beauty brands, apps traditionally consist of an online shop, display offers and promotions and recommend products based on search history and questionnaires. However, more recently, apps are being used to support customers on their skincare journeys, helping them to comply with skincare regimes by including reminder alerts, tracking regular use of products and providing step-by-step guides for everyday skincare.


To take this personalisation one step further, beauty brands are beginning to harness the powers of AI and VR. Using these technologies, developers can build facial recognition features into apps which scan the customers skin, signpost possible problems, and recommend products from the brand’s suite of products. This interactive approach involves the consumer in their skincare journey, helping them to understand their individual skincare needs and purchase products which are more likely to work for them.

The virtual store

To ensure that the personal touch is not lost in embracing online services, beauty brands have begun to create virtual beauty counters where consumers can explore the brand’s product offering from their phone. Consumers can shop products, view virtual tips and tutorials and even set up a virtual consultation with a brand expert. Gaining trusted advice on the products which are just right for them, learning more about their individual skincare requirements and discovering how to create an optimal regime at home, this new beauty counter is proving to be a sure-fire route to long-term brand loyalty.


While there has been promising uptake of such technologies, variables such as lighting, and camera quality can affect the accuracy of results at home. To effectively determine an individual’s specific skincare needs, it will soon be possible for brands to employ lab-standard technology in their devices, taking advantage of product breakthroughs in science and engineering.

These handheld devices use high quality, objective data to analyse the client’s skin in real time, taking into account variables such as environment, age, and gender, recommending tailored products and helping the consumer to achieve optimal results from their regime. This includes dispensing just the right amount of product which is required and tracking daily skincare changes within a corresponding app.

This is a developing area in the field, one which is expected to thrive in 2021 as brands continue to overcome the closure of the physical beauty counter and find more innovative and effective ways to support the consumer at home.


Above all, each of these steps – embracing the omnichannel approach, expanding the virtual beauty counter, and investing in new applications and technologies – help brands to make their service as personalised as it can be for the consumer. In a time of great uncertainty, shifting boundaries and changing priorities, consumers are seeking brands which put their needs first, and are willing to pay more for those that do so. A ‘one size fits all’ approach no longer works, but by investing in the right technologies now, beauty brands can effectively support the consumer in their individual skincare journey, transforming the way they take care of their skin at home.