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L’Oréal created SalonCentric, the premier distributor of salon professional products in the US. SalonCentric operates more than 580 physical stores in 48 US states, has more than 400 salon business partners, and serves as one of the largest online business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce platforms in the professional beauty industry. However, L’Oréal saw an opportunity for a broader marketplace with a wider range of products that salon owners and stylists need to run and grow their businesses. This led to the development of the SalonCentric Marketplace, an online only source for an expanded assortment of items from a range of sellers, providing a one-stop-shop for salon owners and stylists to get everything they need for their salon.
The SalonCentric Marketplace looked to achieve two objectives:
To build on the long-term partnership established between salon professionals and SalonCentric, providing convenient access to a wider selection of products and services, such as salon equipment, shears, salon supplies, appliances like coffee makers, business software and more.
To support L’Oréal to expand its business growth opportunities.
The key challenge was to keep SalonCentric out of fund flows for third-party seller settlements on the company’s ecommerce platform. Money transmission is a highly regulated activity both by individual states and the US federal government. L’Oréal does not have the expertise to manage this type of activity successfully and has no interest in developing it.
“It is simply not part of the core activity of L’Oréal,” explains Marc Parenteau, VP Treasurer.
SalonCentric has a complex structure that includes Salesforce commerce for order capture, SAP for inventory management and invoice management, and Mirakl for third-party catalogue, pricing, and order management. To overcome the challenges of setting up this new marketplace, stakeholders from across the organisation came together. The marketplace team was tasked with implementing and supporting it, and managing it in concert with the legal team and the third-party sellers being onboarded on the marketplace. The IT team was also instrumental in managing the complbexities of the systems involved and integrating them with the bank. Treasury acted as facilitators, working with long-time banking partner, J.P. Morgan to ensure a seamless launch in today’s fast-evolving payments environment.
Best practice and innovation
This innovative initiative is a full end-to-end solution for the new SalonCentric Marketplace. The ecommerce site uses J.P. Morgan’s Merchant Services platform to receive funds from customers who have registered with this closed-access marketplace. Following purchase, funds are settled into a sponsored account that keeps SalonCentric out of the funds flow.
“We expect to have 100 sellers onboarded to the new marketplace by year end, and the expectation is that it will grow to 700 at the end of five years,” says Parenteau.