L’Oréal targets Google hire to continue digital push


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L’Oréal targets Google hire to continue digital push

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L’Oréal is continuing to target the digital arena and is looking to online to continue to drive growth following a year in which it has invested heavily in the sector and e-commerce sales have been impressive.

Over the last three years the French firm has been building its digital team with a host of experts as it looks to gain a strong competitive advantage​, including the hire of Lubomira Rochet as Chief Digital Officer, as well as more than 1000 new staff to help boost its online presence.

Digital spend has also been increasing, with 25% of the company’s media spend being dedicated to digital, and now the beauty behemoth has announced it will also look to appoint Google guru Eileen Naughton to boost web sales further.

The proposal to hire Naughton, who is currently Vice-President and Managing Director, UK and Ireland, at Google, will be put to the L’Oréal Annual General Meeting on April 20, 2016; and her arrival would bring the percentage of women on the Board to 46.6%.

"It's very important to have someone who can help the group navigate the digital world,"​ says L'Oreal chairman and CEO, Jean-Paul Agon, in an earnings news conference. "We chose her because she's a great lady, very perspicacious, with great experience.”

"I don't know whether ​[internet giants] will one day be our competitors, but for now they're excellent partners.”

E-commerce success

Following the announcement of its annual results, L’Oréal says that its e-commerce sales, achieved on its brands' own websites and estimated sales through retailers, reached €1.3 billion, reflecting very rapid growth of 38%, and accounted for more than 5% of the Group’s sales.

It also says that e-commerce is enjoying strong growth across all zones, particularly in Luxury where it has helped the division outperform the market.

The company will hope that the arrival of Naughton can propel it forward even more having made it a key focus in the last year to capitalise on growth by upping its media spend compared to last year (15.7% in 2014).

This focus has already seen Lubomira Rochet appointed as Chief Digital Officer to boost e-commerce, data technologies and interaction with consumers, as the Group aims to achieve its target of acquiring a billion new consumers, with millennials and ‘connected consumers’ the main focus.

“Beauty and digital is really a perfect match. What digital allows us to do is really to reach consumers we did not reach before like the millennials – those young, smart, connected consumers – and sell our products to consumers we did not sell to before, especially in the developing world,”​ Rochet said after last year’s results.

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