Mixing up the perfect digital formula for beauty brand L'Occitane

“It all began in the markets of Provence. With nothing but an alembic, a small truck and a solid knowledge of plants…” is L’Occitane’s humble origin story. Since then, the brand has grown to sell luxurious skincare and beauty products in stores across the globe.

But as digital channels became more important for consumers, it was harder for L’Occitane to reach and identify their best customers online—and more importantly, to allocate their marketing spend in the right places. A trusted partner for 10 years, L’Occitane knew Epsilon Digital and our Retail Media Network could help them better reach customers digitally.

Nailing down the formula

The beauty brand’s focus centered around customer acquisition, retention and reactivation—something top of mind for all marketers, especially coming out of a pandemic. “To meet these goals, we needed the right partner to help us better understand customer behavior across the web and to deliver the right message to our audience,” Anahita Besson, Director of Online Marketing at L’Occitane explains. “Not to mention, with COVID-19 forcing store closures in early 2020, it became even more important for us to establish a strong cadence of 1:1 digital communication with our best customers.”

Here's how Epsilon helped the beauty brand achieve a robust, actionable view of their customers and prospects, while providing end-to-end campaign execution (during COVID, and beyond): 

Reactivating lapsed customers with irresistible offers 

The first move was to reactivate lapsed customers who had not purchased L’Occitane products in the past 13 months. Using Epsilon’s industry-leading identity solution with 200 million+ people-based profiles, we were able to accurately identify lapsed customers online.

We then went a step further by leveraging AI models to determine which lapsed customers looked most like L’Occitane’s best customers and were likely to purchase again. After defining an audience, the team developed a unique 1:1 messaging strategy anchored in fresh lifestyle messaging that focused on best-selling skincare products and a “welcome back” offer for $20 off their next purchase.

L’Occitane valued our ability to deploy unique messaging when targeting these lapsed customers in a personalized, strategic and intentional way. Anahita explains, “Epsilon’s targeting capabilities allow us to model off the right audience, which improves our chances for conversion. It was innovative on our side from a communication standpoint—we can push the right messages to the right people.” 


Driving customers to the right stores

Next, we set our sights on retaining current customers, which was especially top of mind due to COVID-19. It was important for them to remain in constant communication with customers— whether it be to inform them of store closures, reopenings, or updates on safety measures—which was hard to do, as retailers had limited face-to-face contact with their customers. Since in-store purchases made up about 70% of their overall sales, it’s no surprise L’Occitane’s strategy had previously centered around the brick-and-mortar experience.

But with retail stores closed, the new reality was ECommerce. “The goal was to figure out how to move from a retail experience to an ECommerce one, and nail down a communication strategy for that,” Anahita says. “How do we shift behavior, and reassure customers that we’ve created a safe environment for them?”

In order to update customers and urge them to continue supporting L’Occitane once stores began to reopen, we used our Location Driver digital media product to identify valuable individuals who lived near selected storefronts.

Then, we delivered personalized messages that promoted nearby stores and informed customers on safety measures and new services like contactless pick-up. “We did capitalize on retail customers that were in the vicinity of the retail location, but we successfully increased awareness for in-store while also driving multichannel behaviors,” Anahita explains.

With Epsilon PeopleCloud’s sophisticated measurement, L’Occitane was able to see store-level return on ad spend (ROAS), and understand which stores were driving the most sales. They could directly tie online activity to in-store purchases, which was a huge win for the brand.

Attracting new customers with holiday-themed SKUs 

And while reactivating lapsed customers was important, the brand wanted to acquire new customers as well. L’Occitane’s holiday-themed offerings are always a hit, so we leveraged our Retail Media Network offsite ads to personalize messaging at the SKU-level to reach buyers and prospects with a likely propensity to purchase holiday-themed products.

In order to target the right people, we created a look-alike audience from a batch of customers who purchased select L'Occitane holiday SKUs (like Father’s Day and Mother’s Daythemed products). The campaign came to fruition through lifestyle and product-based creative, focused on the upcoming holiday, attracting new customers to the brand while driving repeat purchases.

“Epsilon’s targeting capabilities allow us to model off the right audience, which improves our chances for conversion. It was innovative on our side from a communication standpoint—we can push the right messages to the right people.”

-Anahita Besson, Director of Online Marketing, L'Occitane

Pretty impressive results 

Epsilon was able to provide significant results for each of L’Occitane’s business objectives.

Our reactivation campaign reached 5.6 million unique customers that had not made a purchase over the past 13 months, which resulted in over $3 million in messaged revenue. We reactivated 46,000 customers, and by tailoring our message specifically to past buyers, the Cost Per Re-Activation was $4.50 ($10 lower than the average Cost Per Acquisition, exceeding benchmarks).

Retaining existing customers certainly had its set of challenges because of COVID-19. However, our strategy of focusing messages around those who live near L’Occitane retail stores paid off: across 22 targeted stores, we delivered 94 million impressions, nearly 9,000 conversions and $760,000 in revenue.

The holiday campaigns, using our Retail Media Network offsite ads to attract new customers, found a similar level of success, reaching 1.9 million unique individuals by using 92 holiday-themed SKUs. At the individual level, each SKU had a Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) of $21:1.

In summary Anahita says, “The integrated approach we have with Epsilon—the attention to detail—helps us truly understand performance…that is not something we had before.”

If you're interested in learning more about our Retail Media Network offering, download our new guide: Three strategies for a successful retail media network strategy.