Cover Girl is launching its first makeup app, BeautyU, into the burgeoning beauty app market. But what distinguishes BeautyU is that in addition to augmented reality, there is a profiling feature to add personalization to recommendations.
Although estimated worldwide mobile app revenue is projected to reach $77 billion in 2017, according to Go-Globe, there is still a gap in the mass beauty brand business. Beauty brands are looking to apps to crack the barrier posed by the fact cosmetics can’t be tried on in mass market doors.
“One of our goals is to make makeup easier [to use]. We all love makeup but don’t always know what is right for us,” said Esi Eggleston Bracey, executive vice president, Global Cosmetics at Procter & Gamble Co. “We also want to make it easier to shop. When you know what you want, it makes it easier to buy. We don’t push, we pull.”
That premise is one reason Eggleston Bracey believes apps can drive sales both online and in physical stores. “When you give consumers a recipe and guide them to what to purchase, it makes a big difference. We’ve seen that with ‘get the look’ programs. The more women use the app, the smarter it gets, offering personalized tips and tricks. This leads to greater engagement with our brand, which encourages sales.” In addition to exposing users to products they can seek in stores, BeautyU offers a click-to-buy function.
Among the features of BeautyU is a face scan to help identify individual facial features. “It really helps us get to know [the user] by understanding all of their features. The facial scan reads your face shape, specific features, and skin tone, so the recommendations are unique to you.” The magic mirror technology creates an augmented reality for virtual try on of products and looks with face tracking capabilities to follow movements. Photos virtually wearing the looks can be saved and shared.
But what one buyer noted that helps BeautyU stand out in the new wave of apps is the diagnostic tool. A series of questions narrows down suggestions so each look or product is customized for that user. The prompts range from “What’s your favorite makeup mantra?” to “What’s your perfect date.” The app also uses the brand’s ambassadors including Katy Perry, Ellen DeGeneres, Becky G. and Janelle Monae to help users identify with looks. “We want to give a clear road map of what to buy,” Eggleston Bracey added.
Additionally BeautyU offers a range of options based on the user’s features and profile. “We try to not give just one recommendation,” Eggleston Bracey said.
Acknowledging there are many choices, she said the timing was right for Cover Girl to enter the fray. “In the digital age, downloading apps to help us with problems we have has become part of life. With the demand for personalization, we offer a true point of difference.”
With little fanfare — marketing behind the campaign goes full throttle this summer — BeautyU already has exceeded 17,000 downloads since March. The app was featured in a program at Walgreens called Masters in Makeup with callouts for the app on displays along with video screens showing how-tos.
Eggleston Bracey believes most use will be in the privacy of homes in preparation for shopping, but women can click on the app to scan products in stores and receive more information.
One of her favorite components of the app creation was input from two students from the Girls Who Code partnership with CoverGirl. The young women were flown to Berlin to assist in creating the app. “Girls rock. They can do anything. We want to break gender barriers,” Eggleston Bracey said. “It was great to have their input.”