L’Oréal Professional Products Division invited key brand representatives to deep dive into the industry landscape come 2030, and in response, the invigorated digital language defining all LPPD brands, their people and products, tomorrow and beyond.

Over 170 representatives of Redken, Kerastase, L’Oreal Professionnel, Matrix, Pureology and Shu Uemura descended upon balmy Port Douglas recently, a welcome return to the conference circuit albeit with a little more confronting curriculum for some.

“We are going to present you with some facts about what’s going on in our market – and some of them might be hard to hear,” started LPPD Sales Director, Lara Wooley.

“We’ll share insights around the beauty consumer, how her needs are evolving and what she expects of us.  We will provide you with a hypothetical vision of what our future might look like. You might like the sound of it or, it might make you uncomfortable. And we will bring you speakers who have been selected to provoke thought, seed discussion and inspire action in us.”

Lara continued with some alarming facts including survey results showing the rapid (COVID induced) shift toward interacting with customers through digital channels. A fact we’re all relatively aware of, yes. The interesting thing to note being the rates of adoption are now years ahead of where they were pre-COVID, with 53% of customer interactions now online in the Asia Pacific region. A movement that has essentially been sped up by 4 years due to the pandemic.

“Dramatic transformation is not optional. Not just a continual evolution of how we respond digitally, but also how we enhance our service model to support the industry not just survive but to thrive,” says Lara.

This triangle of support is comprised of three core components, e-commerce, B2B commerce (a means to service and communicate salons effectively through the popular PROShop), and the rise of social commerce.

“Social Commerce is a subset of e-commerce, where you’re selling goods and services, through or initiated through, your social media accounts – platforms like Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and whatsapp. Platforms allowing you to drive loyalty and build strong customer relationships through expert advice across products and services,” says Lara.

“The behaviour of transacting via message has rapidly become mainstream amongst consumers and provides you with the opportunity to leverage this insight to attract new customers, ready to spend.”

They promised support, so the Digital Academy is where LPPD salons can head and receive the training required to really activate and elevate this aspect of social commerce … “because there is a clear formula to manage this successfully.”

Visualising it in your mind, from your brains perspective, is the same as doing it! If you can’t see it you won’t do it.

Guest Spaker, Todd Sampson

Of course, with the idea of e-commerce, salon owners can become a little uneasy. The model has, as we are all too aware, migrated consumers from the salon/professional environment and to the likes of Amazon for cheaper products delivered with speed and from the comfort of home … Minus professional prescription and therefore results, mind you.

Guests learned there are currently 20 million consumers in Australia, or let’s call it 10 million women of which an internal estimate arrives at 950,000 currently using LPPD products at home. So, just under 5% of the female population.

“And this is the opportunity … the 9 million women who don’t know us yet.”

“The whole purpose of us putting our brands on these e-commerce sites or own brand sites is to really build awareness of the brands that you stock, especially to a new younger consumer, and specifically women who you don’t know just yet.”

“As brands, it is our responsibility to capture these new consumers through our digital eco system and use that data to understand them, profile them and ultimately convert them into lifetime consumers via the salons, our offline channels … but we can only do this when understand our consumer through her online interactions with us.”

“It’s our obligation to you, and our role as your business partner, to drive the cycle, in order to create a sustainable business model.” said Lara.

A tight discovery strategy was exposed with the promise of geo targeting, search campaigns and online vouchers essentially pushing new consumers into the chair. Of course, traditional e-commerce cannot build the kind of loyalty we know and love of that 45 minutes plus of one-on-one time between hairdresser and guest. That privilege of human touch.

“That’s where you come in with delivery of professional services and continuous engagement through social commerce between visits.”

No industry pillar has been quite so digitally influenced than that of education. And so LPPD tune into the vision for a ‘Netflix of hairdresser education’ – or ACCESS. An always open portal for business owners and staff to tap into the latest trends and education on demand. Think live webinars with global industry luminaries and elite business education. This in addition to the L’Oréal Business School, a curriculum designed to upskill salon owners and managers on business fundamentals across finance, team culture and business development with a strong focus on mindset, accountability and implementation. In 2021 and beyond the curriculum has evolved to include a mix of online interactive and in-person learning experiences with content relevant to the business conditions that salons are currently facing.

And is a conversation around the future even relevant without a strong sense of sustainability? No.

“Did you know, each time we shampoo hair, more than 45 gallons of water are contaminated.  When you multiply that by the number of guests we serve every day, the water waste in the salon industry is outrageous,” started Lara.

“We consider it our responsibility to lead the entire industry in the sustainable salon space and for all of you to be leaders within the salon community, from water efficiency to energy efficiency to sustainable furniture, point of sale material, and reducing and recycling salon waste.”

Enter Gjosa, the Switzerland based geniuses specialising in water preservation – an organization of which L’Oréal are now stakeholders.

“We’re currently working with Gjosa to develop the L’Oreal Water Saver, a new technology that has the potential to reduce water consumption in salons by 79% … In essence what the L’Oreal Water Saver does is infuse the shampoo/conditioner within the water flow from the shower head allowing for less water to be used when rinsing.”

“For our consumer, it is a refreshing sensorial hair spa experience that triggers a sensation of well-being during the backbar service. For salons, it drives substantial savings in water and product usage.  Yes, you will use less product at the basin.”

An elite line-up of speakers were on hand to further drive ideas and innovation: Adventurer, presenter and award winning documentary maker, Todd Sampson, social media strategist, public speaking trainer and author, Jordana Borensztajn, social researcher, business strategist and trend analyst, Eliane Miles, host of award winning podcast Deep Listening, Oscar Trimboli, co-founder and creative director of The Daily Edited, Alyce Tran and the woman who need no introduction, AHC CEO, Sandy Chong. Together providing an invaluable pool of insights ideas and inspiration not only for business growth but self-development in its most raw form, socially and digitally speaking: How do we drive the people and processes around us for max positivity and proactivity, all while maintaining balance and treading lightly on this planet we call home.

Of course, it’s not a hairdressers conference without the expected measure of dining and dancing with a string or soirees held throughout and (more than) adequately whetting the strong appetite for a good time – a little downtime before getting back down to business, and together Creating Beauty that Moves the World.