Beauty’s a unique industry. On one hand, it’s dominated by classic brands that have survived through decades of change (L’Oreal was founded in 1909). On the other hand, the market is so big and growing so quickly, that there’s still room for niche beauty brands to disrupt the scene and find their following. Case in point: the rise of Glossier, a brand that came out of popular beauty blog Into the Gloss in 2014 and tracked to increase revenue by 600% in 2016. And they’re doing it while remaining committed to mobile and app innovation. Luckily, brands in any industry can take away some key points for their own strategy.
Wunderkind beauty brand Glossier launched in 2014.
The beauty industry’s commitment to mobile comes down to the same reasoning that drives mobile innovation across any other industry; it’s where their customers are. Beauty brands and influencers generate huge amounts of content, which is eagerly consumed by an audience who wants to buy.
The data proves it:
Ignoring significant data points like these--the ones that underline how mobile is a critical piece of how this audience interacts with and researches purchases--would mean missing out on building a relationship with the some of the beauty industry’s most active buyers and consumers.
Mobile’s strengths--visual content, community, location-based--align well with how younger generations of beauty consumers like to buy. The image and video focus of apps like Instagram and Snapchat align with the beauty’s necessary visual emphasis in marketing. These apps also lend themselves well to building community, which is important to users who value reviews and recommendations before buying. 79% of beauty buyers use their phones to check reviews while in-store.
79% of beauty buyers use their phones to check reviews in-store.
Beauty brands have embraced chatbots through their own apps and large-scale apps like Facebook Messenger. Dior recently launched Dior Insider, which uses Messenger to deliver premium content. More importantly, Dior Insider is aligned across channels; and users are encouraged to continue their experience with the brand by visiting a Dior counter in-person.
In particular, beauty brands are seeing the value in augmented reality. Trying makeup is a long-held piece of the beauty buying journey, but thanks to the web, users are exposed to and interact with way more brands than they can access in person. Augmented reality brings the experience of trying makeup to mobile, expands brands’ buying audience.
Industry leader L’Oreal has long been committed to AR in their marketing, too, partnering with AR firm ModiFace back in the summer of 2016. Since then, the flagship brand and a number of its subsidiaries have launched multiple AR apps, like L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius app and YouCam Makeup.
Sephora has also gotten into the AR game, recently adding a new augmented reality-focused app to its suite. The app focuses on the kind of tutorial-type content that’s popular with beauty lovers on YouTube.
Like Dior, Sephora has embraced mobile apps in their increasing emphasis on omni-channel marketing strategy. It’s not uncommon to find iPads in Sephora as part of the retailer’s 2016 Beauty Tip Workshop launch, which let Sephora provide a personalized, hybrid mobile/in-person shopping experience.
Says Sephora digital vice president Mary Beth Laughton:
“We want to be where our clients are, and they are on their phones for all types of uses, including learning and shopping. We knew early on that there’s a connection for her; she doesn’t need to choose between a Sephora store or mobile. Both complement each other and all the tools we’ve built support that theory.”
In such a broad space,you can understand how a user could feel overwhelmed by the sheer depth of content and products available. A potential solution for beauty brands is chatbots, which beauty brands are using to further personalize and target their user experience. CoverGirl blended the social influencer and chatbot sphere by creating a bot around the persona of teen dancer and actress Kalani Hilliker. Via popular messaging app Kik, users can ask the the Kalani bot questions about CoverGirl products, and receive coupons and recommendations.
In a competitive beauty market, mobile apps serve brands by helping them deliver a personalized experience that feels luxurious--no matter the price point of the actual products. It’s what mobile users have come to expect in an omni-channel world, and it’s a way for brands to build the relationships and user connections that are essential to standing out in a crowded space.
As head of Glossier Emily Weiss told Buzzfeed, “Luxury today is getting what you want, how you want it, when you want it, getting a very personalized experience.” With mobile, brands are better positioned than ever to do exactly that.
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