How L’Oréal’s Perso solves a particular problem


Cosmetics brand L’Oréal has long been in the forefront of meaningful digital transformation and has now developed Perso, which promises to address a long-standing painpoint in the beauty space by dispensing a customized skincare product.

At the recent CES event in Las Vegas, L’Oréal unveiled the smart device, which is paired with a smartphone app that analyzes a user’s skin; the app can also draw on geo-location data to assess environmental conditions – say, humidity and the pollen count – and a customer’s expressed wants and needs.

Perso ticks a number of boxes in L’Oréal’s internal processes for deciding what tech to progress, including one which looks at problems that are very difficult to solve without the use of tech; in this case there was a compelling datapoint regarding foundation.

“We realized things like 50% of people can’t get the right shade,” explained Guive Balooch, the head of L’Oréal’s technology incubator.

“We’ll never be able to solve that unless we personalize.” (For more details, read WARC’s report: L’Oréal’s personalization formula aims for enhanced consumer utility.)

Prior efforts to resolve this type of issue had seen mixed results. Devices introduced for SkinCeuticals’s facial serum and Lancôme foundation, for instance, required a consumer to visit a physical store to access a personalization device, consult with a sales associate, and then acquire products.

The company also has tested mobile apps that enable people to virtually “try on” certain beauty products to gauge their appropriateness. A common stumbling block? “I think part of the big challenge is that you have way more skintones of people than you will ever have the amount of products you can put on the shelf,” said Balooch.

Creating a device that delivers tailor-made beauty offerings also fed into another L’Oréal objective: better serving a much wider pool of consumers. As Baloch noted, “The people that can’t usually get the right foundation are people with a very light or very dark skin tone.”

He added that the core aim of the new offering is to extend L’Oréal’s consumer relationships far beyond the beauty counter.

“I think it’s about really about inclusivity [and]about managing a new relationship with people through the right services, both digitally and physically, with the system,” he said.

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