All change at Charlotte Tilbury: new owner, and fresh focus on data and BI

Make-up and skincare brand Charlotte Tilbury, which was sold by its eponymous founder to Spanish fashion and fragrance group Puig in June, is putting a greater focus on data science and business intelligence (BI) as it looks to adapt to new consumer behaviour.

The brand has deployed Looker and BigQuery, part of Google Cloud’s BI, analytics and data warehousing toolset, to help support the business as it experiences more spikes in online shopping as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The investment in new technology has helped the organisation react more quickly to real-time events, with Dr Andreas Gertsch Grover, director of data at Charlotte Tilbury, saying the tools give the brand “faster access to reliable, real-time insights that provide informed decision-making, and build trust at this uncertain time”.

“It’s an incredibly challenging time for retailers around the world,” he notes.

“Now, more than ever, we need to focus, adjust, and invest in technology that will help us navigate the current climate by creating consistently excellent customer experiences across all channels.”

While the initial Looker deployment was focused on eCommerce, all Charlotte Tilbury teams are now using it, including staff in stores, meaning employees have access to stock-shortage notifications and order-volume fluctuations across different geographies.

Charlotte Tilbury has 550 physical points of distribution worldwide including department stores and travel retail sites in countries such as the UK, Canada, Germany, Spain, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the US. It also runs 11 standalone stores globally.

The brand gradually introduced the Google technology across its organisation, replacing the eCommerce reporting tools first as part of a re-platforming process.

After that, the business opted to roll out the data analytics software to the places it felt it could create value quickest. The supply chain, finance, tech, customer care, and marketing teams are all now using Looker.

Andreas Gertsch Grover, director of data at Charlotte Tilbury, tells Essential Retail the roll-out of the technology across departments helped break down some silos.

“One big advantage of a data team is to manage data sources and definitions coherently across the company,” he says.

“The roll-out of the Looker platform and with it the harmonisation of metrics definitions has improved the collaboration and communication across the teams tremendously. This is especially true for any omnichannel approach, where you want to use knowledge from one channel within another one.”

He adds: “Another example is improving customer experience by bringing supply chain and customer care closer together through shared and commonly understood data and metrics.”

Data as a digital influence

With such a focus placed on data now, Charlotte Tilbury is building a team to cover every base.

That team is divided into four sub-groups, according to Gertsch Grover. They are BI, analytics, data science, and data engineering, with roles within those areas ranging from BI developer, analysts, data scientists and data engineers.

The brand is currently hiring, and Gertsch Grover says the data team will be 12 people strong once completed. 

John O’Keeffe, director of Looker EMEA sales at Google Cloud, noted: “Retailers looking to innovate and empower should be using data as a digital influence across the whole business to better understand and cater to customers.”

Following Puig taking a majority share in Charlotte Tilbury in a deal completed for an undisclosed fee, the founder continues as chair, president & chief creative officer of the company. Demetra Pinsent remains as CEO, but BDT Capital Partners, a merchant bank, now holds a minority stake in the organisation.

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