Retail and e-commerce: developments for 2022 from California

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Odile Roujol (FAB Ventures) and Richard Menneveux (French Web / Decode Media), have known each other for a long time. They regularly share their insights into the Silicon Valley news, one of the technological hearts of the international ecosystem. Richard took advantage of the fact that Odile has been living in California for 6 years to ask her to open the New Standards Retail conference series launched by the French Web in May. For every brand and retail innovation we see emerging, Richard asked Odile, “Is this a trend you see emerging? »

Odile Roujol is the founder of FaB Fashion and BeautyTech, the world’s first Fashion & Beauty Tech community, with 10,000 founders and investors, united in 15 chapters in the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia ( Apply on a quarterly newsletter – free!). Odile is also the founder of the FAB Ventures fund, which supports D2C startups at an early stage in fashion and beauty..


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Richard Menneveux : Will stores become places of events, entertainment, with new spaces, unlike traditional stores and their departments, which cannot accept these more solemn events. Do you see that appearing?

Odile Roujol : One trend I see comes from independent boutiques. They have an online community that communicates online, and is also located in a physical store.

In Los Angeles, there are big malls like Westfield Century City, which mixes indoor and outdoor, with brands of all sizes, Amazon and Tesla with smaller stores.

But there are also a lot of small independent shops, for example on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, in Venice, where I live. These stores have an online community that exchanges and shares content about areas of expertise and that meet in-store for a real-world experience, with a vendor who will encourage demonstration further.

Yesterday I visited Reve, in San Francisco, a small beauty startup that responds quickly. After a 30-minute diagnosis during which the person measures your skin, its propensity to acne, its oxygenation, etc. , the product is tailored for you.

We are therefore witnessing extensive personalization, whether in experience, in products or services, but with the addition of a community that knows itself in the digital and is in the physical experience.

Photo: Alexander Gamanyuk at Unplash
Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Hotel Venice, California

  • An independent trade established around a community has an advantage: action
  • The physical store serves as a physical gathering place for the online community
  • In-store, product demonstration goes further (e.g. 30-minute diagnosis versus online quiz of a few minutes)
LOYALTY In 2021 ?

Richard Menneveux : How to retain customers who first ordered from a brand or brand because of the Covid-19 context in the post-pandemic period?

Odile Roujol : The whole question, for a startup, is to know how from 100 customers to 1000 customers, then up to 10,000, up to 100,000 customers…

That’s a data problem. I often take an example Curology, this online dermatological brand, co-founded by David Lortscher, because it is very revealing. Curology combines technology and human touch to create incredibly effective personalized formulations for acne problems that can’t be found anywhere else, at an affordable price and delivered to your doorstep, as long as you enjoy an ultrapersonalized experience – until it gets its name on the bottle .

They have half a million customers and have gathered close $ 20 million with cult WCs. Visitors to the site fill out an online quiz and Curology thus receives a very diverse amount of information about the practice of their clients, their sports, their sleep. It’s not just skin data, we’re here on a much more holistic dimension of a person, to understand their centers of interest and those who are the causes, or make them want to solve a skin problem. Another strength is the ability to prescribe a higher concentration of ingredients than at a drugstore-type outlet.

Another example: I invest in STIX (“Make confident decisions about your health with Stix ”.) The co-founders started with pregnancy tests, delivered to their home address, discreetly because they don’t want to meet their mother or ex-boyfriend at the pharmacy. Then they fell into infertility, and now into urinary tract infections. It’s not exactly glamorous, but it’s a shameful topic, and receiving his products at home avoids going to the pharmacy.

The data they collect allows them to understand their clients. For example, I personally thought that you buy a pregnancy test when you want to get pregnant, and the opposite is true: young women buy a test to make sure they are not pregnant. The data allows the founders to be very refined and to have the right tone of voice – quite witty, light, moreover, you can see that if you go to their instagram account, It also allows them to turn into sales and create loyalty, because they know how to talk to these young women.

  • Loyalty is a data problem
  • The data collected goes beyond purchase history, customer knowledge in the traditional sense, and online browsing.
  • The brand must strive to have a holistic view of the person. The data will encourage communication by making it closer and more authentic, which will promote conversion.

Richard Menneveux : What is the success of the model Buy now, pay later nousaid about retail?

Odile Roujol: Payment innovations, such as the BNPL, are increasingly integrated into the retail value chain. Example with LÜK, one of the companies I invested in, founded in 2017 by Zack Parker. LÜK is a platform for connecting the advertising sector (fashion, beauty, advertising, etc.) and talent. LÜK has brought together top talent agencies in one place so clients can easily book models, photographers, stylists, hairdressers and make-up artists for photo / video shootings.

And today, LÜK is positioning itself as an industry-wide payment platform by incorporating claims from more than 150 talent agencies into its network.

Editor’s Note: Zack Parker is the branch leader of the FAB community in Los Angeles. Read our interview on the French web (March 2020).

Even if we are not just talking about retail, we think that the American model is a bit blocked on that topic. Payment will be a problem for both consumer brands, which in addition to security must think about being flawless in logic, which we find in China and which we have not yet seen in the United States, from large platforms such as Facebook, Amazon or Google. I see all my friends leaving Paypal to join Facebook… Everyone is thinking, drawing inspiration from the Chinese model, on how to make the connection easier.

Will we be able to create in the United States what Alibaba did with Ali Pay (2004) and Tencent with WeChat Pay (2014)? Will we be able to make a future American Pinduoduo? All VCs dream about it here in the United States!

Credit: LUK. – “LÜK is positioning itself as a payment platform for the whole sector by including claims of more than 150 talent agencies in its network. »

look on the French web interview with Eric Petitfils, Sales Director France in Klarna

  • BNPL is much more than a payment option
  • It is an element that facilitates the relationship between the buyer and the seller
  • Payment is a major issue for brands and platforms
  • Players like LÜK that bring together buyers and sellers will be big winners in their sector.

Richard Menneveux: Do you notice innovations in post-purchase (phase between order payment and delivery)?

Odile Roujol : The rate of return is very high, with a monstrous impact, when we talk about transport. In California, we see a lot of brands and platforms positioning themselves on NO WASTE.

Many people still think that it is an epiphenomenon, but it is far from true.

Produce only from the moment the customer purchased the product and handle refunds. Many companies are starting to offer inventory management so that it does not end up in a landfill.

Maybe it’s unique to California, with its forest fires and the lack of water that’s talked about a lot?

But I think there is a whole section of the population in the United States aware of the impact of returning to the planet.

  • Rise NO WASTE
  • In addition to the issue of loyalty and additional traffic, post-shopping is a topic that will worry more and more consumers who are vigilant about the issue of returns, waste sources and waste.

Richard Menneveux: What trend do you see appearing in Live Stream Shopping ?

Odile Roujol : The United States is lagging behind Asia in Live Video Shopping and all major platforms are trying to “break through” this topic.

Among small brands I have an example K18 hair in the segment of dyed hair protection at a time when women often dyed at home during the Covid period and want to change color, especially among Generation Z. They generate more than 20 million turnover and are already in 141 countries including China.

The brand broadcasts quite impressive videos with hairdressers demonstrating live before / after.

K18 offers 3 levels: the first level “One to Many” which offers live webinars; higher level, “one to several” a little more selective and personalized. And finally the VIP level for “one on one” consultations and services.

Many platforms are created this way: the base, which is just a product, then the layers of subscriber services, which at each level offer live streaming sessions, more or less individualized depending on the level (One to many, One to -Little and one to one).

Credit: K18 hair
  • Because Live Video Shopping can take a variety of formats, brands are using it to reasonably create an increasing level of individualization.

Richard Menneveux: How will influencer marketing develop after a pandemic?

Odile Roujol : Marketing impact follows the same trend as in China. On the one hand, there are KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) who are the real stars of e-commerce live-streaming. They are great accelerators and create virality. On the other hand, there are micro-influencers who have a much smaller but very loyal community. These micro-influencers create conversion and loyalty.


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