L'Oreal USA Moves to Make All Types of Ads -- Online and Off -- 'Shoppable'

Deal with Powa Could Allow Direct-Response Tags on All Ads, Promotions

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Marie Gulin-Merle, CMO of L'Oreal USA
Marie Gulin-Merle, CMO of L'Oreal USA

L'Oreal USA has reached a deal with Powa Technologies that could allow the beauty giant to essentially tag any of its advertising, promotions or in-store materials to allow for instant e-commmerce purchases of the featured products.

L'Oreal said in a statement that the PowaTag technology can "transform any consumer touch point, from print and TV advertising to e-commerce, retail stores and social media into a platform for mobile transactions, promotions and more on person's smartphone."

PowaTag provides 2-D barcodes that consumers can scan with an app to order products quickly.

The company declined to get into precise details on exactly how and when the technology will be deployed. But L'Oreal appears to be the first of the giant beauty players to try adding a direct-response sales elements to all of its advertising, online and off.

"L'Oreal has led the beauty industry for more than 100 years because of our unrelenting drive to innovate for our customers," said Marie Gulin-Merle, chief marketing officer of L'Oreal USA, in the statement. The partnership is meant to merge the online and offline worlds of its customers and make mobile shopping easier, she said.

Like other beauty players, L'Oreal has placed an increasing focus on e-commerce in recent years for its prestige and mass brands alike, as well as starting e-commerce-only brands such as Em by Michelle Phan.

E-commerce has been one of the fastest-growing channels for the business, alongside such retailers as Sephora and Ulta, but analyst estimates still peg it at between low single-digit to low double-digit percentages of industry sales.

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