L’Oréal is using “reverse innovation” in new and emerging markets, which are key in the quest of doubling its consumer base. It’s an example of the newfangled strategies beauty companies are implementing to juice up business in a competitive landscape rife with mature markets.
According to Laurent Attal, Executive Vice President, Research and Innovation, L’Oréal: “Reverse innovation involves beauty products being developed locally for a particular region after information about its denizens is culled in and then the products possibly rolling out worldwide. We are going to accelerate our investments, our implantations in emerging markets. The combination of an intimate knowledge of the structure of skin, its mechanisms and at the same time consumer habits is the element absolutely strategic and fundamental in the conquest of these markets.”
Local research already carried out in Asia, for instance, caused L’Oréal to focus on conceiving treatment masks and a lip balm with a glossy finish, well suited to tastes of the population there.
Another way L’Oréal caters to cash-poor consumers in markets, such as, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Egypt is by offering products in accessible sachet sizes. In India, for example, a 7ml sachet of Garnier Fructis Shampoo & Oil comes with a price tag of Rs3 or $0.06 at current exchange.