Mobile apps are offering a strong marketing platform for beauty players like L’Oreal, whose virtual mirror has proved successful among consumers looking to ‘try out’ the brand’s cosmetics.
The app first launched last year in Paris has since expanded across Europe, the US and Asia; now giving shoppers in Hong Kong the opportunity to mix and match make-up looks by scanning bar codes at tills.
According to L'Oreal reps, 'Makeup Genius' has racked up 9 million downloads globally, which breaks down as "one download every 4.2 minutes" via a virtual reality experience that helps to personalise products.
“By combining our knowledge of consumers and the science of colours with technologies for monitoring facial expressions, we have been able to produce an extremely realistic colour-rendering in real time using just an iPhone camera," says Guive Balooch at L’Oreal Research and Innovation.
In markets like France and China, the app already facilitates online purchases but has yet to offer this service in Hong Kong.
Mobile apps: opportunity or risk for beauty brands?
With apps that center on beauty products now hitting consumers’ screens thick and fast, Cosmetics Design wonders if the swiftly evolving mobile space poses an opportunity for brands, or a risk.
The answer seems to be a bit of both: as digital’s huge potential for branding and retail means it continues to dominate the beauty agenda.
Some apps exist independent of brands, which can limit the control that beauty companies can hold over their own products’ representation.
Take for example, ‘Stash’, which allows users to view recommendations for new products to try on the basis of their existing collection, while another - the ‘ThinkDirty’ mobile platform - warns consumers off products which it deems potentially unsafe.
The rise of such apps confirms the need for brands to stay on their toes in this quickly adapting digital retail and marketing space.