Estee Lauder embraces tech innovation for beauty
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Estee Lauder embraces tech innovation for beauty

Cosmetics giant Estee Lauder is looking to innovate its way to the top. The makeup market-leader is fending off upstart start-ups left, right, and centre – young brands that appeal to similarly young consumers. And, to keep itself front and centre, Estee is adopting the kinds of tech more commonly associated with Silicon Valley than Paris or Milan. That tech includes artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, and 3D printing.

Estee Lauder’s share price has appreciated by 25% so far this year

22 03 estee

Source: Yahoo Finance

The company’s chief information officer, Michael Smith, said that tech is a “key component” of Estee’s growth plan going forward, and told the Wall Street Journal that the company’s consumers “are expecting experiences that really merge prestige beauty and technology.” What’s driving this initiative is the involvement of the company’s information technology (IT) teams, with one such team (based in Queens) operating an “innovation lab” which hosts “design-thinking sessions”.

Kimberly Saxton, Estee’s vice president of global IT operations and strategy, described the main task that underpins all this innovation: “There’s many products that are effective out there. How do you differentiate and create that sort of love and that really intense following? It’s part of wrapping the product in additional experiences.”

The fruits of this labour – which is still in its earliest phase – include innovations like a facial scan that can analyse users’ skin and make cosmetics recommendations, and a “makeup matcher” which lets users upload photos of a makeup look they want to emulate so that an AI can make relevant product recommendations. Talks about 3D printing of products in-store, as a way to reduce carbon footprints, are ongoing.

Disclosure

Dominion holds Estee Lauder in its Global Trends Luxury Fund.


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