The best strategies for turning beauty apps into consumer spend

By Simon Pitman contact

- Last updated on GMT

The best strategies for turning beauty apps into consumer spend

Related tags: Beauty apps, Cosmetics, Kline

Beauty apps are not new, but as a wave of updated designs and technologies comes into play, the time to for cosmetic companies to invest in the technology seems to be now.

A new study published by Kline Group – Going Digital: Who’s Who in the World of Digital Apps - has pointed out the fact that beauty apps continue to be underutilized by US cosmetics players, suggesting plenty of opportunity, which Cosmetics Design has previously reported on​.

But how do you get the app design just right? What is the right formula to interact with consumers at the right level, to engage with them and to convey the best sense of how a range of cosmetics, especially color cosmetics, will suit different consumer tastes and appearances? Kline explored 65 beauty apps to determine which apps are the most downloaded globally and highly rated by consumers, to bring insights to marketers regarding what types of apps are relevant and necessary to perpetuate brand loyalty, and consequently, further grow brand sales.

In addition to brand/company and retailer apps, the Kline report considered four types of beauty apps available in the market in 2015 – assessment, beauty-on-demand, community, and inspirational and virtual makeover apps, although many of the apps are said to cross over into several of those areas.

The report considered apps in each category, assessing them according to their functionality and effectiveness.

Brand and company app category

Perhaps most interesting are evaluations of the brand and company app category, where the Kline researchers looked at Makeup Genius, Mary Kay Virtual Makeover, NYX Cosmetics Mobile, OPI and Steal The Look Make Up.

Makeup Genius, which is designed for L’Oreal products, was highlighted because it allows consumers to use their mobile device like a mirror to try on L’Oreal  products.

Mary Kay Virtual Makeover is similar to the Makeup Genius app, allowing users to try on Mary Kay foundation, blush, eye makeup and lipstick.

Both apps allow users to save looks, upload their photos to social media, and also allow product purchases right through the app.

The NYX and OPI apps

NYX and OPI apps are also brand and company apps highlighted for unique features. The NYX Cosmetics Mobile app was recognized because it engages the user through content such as a Best Sellers and a New Product section, as well as tutorial videos, an advice section, and a Try It On section.

Nail care specialist OPI got recognized for tapping into the multicultural trend, thanks to a design that makes the app customizable to suit different skin tones.

Assessment apps are about choice

In the assessment apps category, the researchers looked at Beautiful Me and Plum Perfect.  Both are included under the assessment umbrella of apps, because the apps act as salespeople, recommending products suitable for the user based off of unique business models.

The Kline team recognized Beautiful Me, which looks at a string of Facebook photos, rather than just one to take an in-depth look at individuals’ skin health and appearance. The Kline report notes that as consumers are jointly turning to the experiential over possessions, together with the continued transition towards mobile devices, beauty apps with the right kind of functionality and personalization are expected to resonate a primary means of making color cosmetic buying decisions.

Virtual apps and what the future holds

In the virtual makeover app category the report looked at Hair Color Studio, MakeUp, Perfect 365, TryItOn, Virtual Nail Salon and YouCamMakeup, noting that the success of these had relied on designs that allowed users to easily load up photos, apply different products and then share them with friends.

The report emphasizes the fact that remaining on top of the technology game is essential to remaining current in the fast moving apps arena, providing users with a quick, easy and highly functional means of testing new products virtually. 

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