L’Oréal is ramping up its e-commerce focus for its professional hair-care brands. Beginning Tuesday, all of L’Oréal’s professional brands will be sold through a L’Oréal-owned site, Hair.com, as a way to drive sales to the category and make it easier for customers to shop for L’Oréal products.
“Consumers didn’t really have an access point where they could have a one-stop shop to access our entire assortment of professional hair-care styling,” said Han Wen, chief digital officer at professional products division for L’Oréal USA. “It put a lot of the burden on the consumer to find the right product for [them].”
Brands in L’Oréal’s professional products division include Pureology, L’Oréal Professionnel, Redken, Kérastase, Matrix, Mizani, Decléor, Shu Uemura and Biolage. Prior to this launch, some brands in the division, including Kérastase, had their own e-commerce websites, but most did not. Those existing e-commerce sites will live on. Most were sold solely through salon partners or retail partners including Ulta. Most brands are also sold on Amazon, with dedicated brand pages on the site.
“There is really no impact in terms of our distribution. We will continue to be sold in all of our salons, and that’s the primary point of sale where people will continue to buy products,” said Wen.
In July, L’Oréal reported a growth in sales for its professional hair-care division for the second quarter. Sales reached €878.8 million (about $963 million), up 2.7% from the same time period last year. Growth in that category has mainly been driven by sales in the U.S. and Asia Pacific, the brand said in its earnings report. However, the professional division is still one of L’Oréal’s slowest growing divisions in the last six months, behind consumer products, L’Oréal Luxe brands (which includes Giorgio Armani and Yves Saint Laurent) and active cosmetics (like La Roche-Posay).
Taking all of the company’s professional products and housing them on one website does have its benefits for L’Oréal, especially in a crowded retail environment.
“Retailers bring eyeballs online and foot traffic in store, but they also bring shelves full of competing products in an environment that the brand doesn’t control. For an established family of brands that has strong brand awareness, there is an appeal to having a direct relationship with the consumer, owning the brand experience and likely increasing the gross margins associated with sales,” said Apu Gupta, CEO and co-founder of social commerce platform Curalate.
However, the company is offering Hair.com customers incentives, which seem to be meant to lure business from Amazon and other wholesale retailers. Among the perks, L’Oréal is offering free samples with every order, free ground shipping for orders over $30 and 15% off first-time purchases for customers who register their email address.
Wen said that in shifting all of its professional brands to Hair.com, it’s not asking existing customers to shop differently. If they are buying Redken products from Ulta or from their local salon, for example, they will likely continue shopping that way, she said.
“Wherever the consumer wants to shop, we want to make sure they are the most informed so that they actually buy the right products,” she said.
The website Hair.com isn’t a new platform for L’Oréal — it has been around since 2017, serving as a content platform for the brand. Over the years, it has been a place for the company to provide new hair style inspiration and product recommendations, both for L’Oréal product and competitor brands. Moving forward, L’Oréal will continue to use Hair.com to push out content to consumers.
To drive traffic, L’Oréal is hosting an event early next week to teach editors and brand ambassadors about the new platform and encourage them to share the launch with their readers and followers.