Coty Inc. is getting ready — with Amazon’s Alexa.
The beauty conglomerate has developed a skill specifically for the Amazon Echo Show — the version of the company’s voice-activated service that includes a video screen — called Let’s Get Ready. The program will be deployed in the U.K. Wednesday and offers consumers a way to not only shop across several Coty consumer brands (Rimmel, Max Factor, Bourjois, Sally Hansen and Clairol), but to learn different beauty looks.
“What we like to think is that this will show the consumer the value of certain products in the portfolio and help them get what they want, which leads to shopping,” said Fred Gerantabee, Coty’s vice president of digital innovation.
To start, users say: “Alexa, let’s get ready.” Then, the program walks a potential shopper through either beauty trends — like the unicorn look or matte lips — or suggests looks based on events in the user’s life. Let’s Get Ready can also draw data directly to Facebook (when linked), so it can potentially match a party to a smoky eye, for example. Once a look is selected, the program walks users through application steps — pausing after each new direction — and users can elect for the products to be added to their Amazon cart.
Coty is the first beauty company to create a program specifically for the Show device.
The development came out of Coty’s approach to digital, according to Fred Gerantabee, vice president of digital innovation. The idea is to align with divisions and management for research on consumer needs, and then design digital offerings based on meeting those needs.
“What are the problems we’re trying to solve for each consumer, and how do we solve that using the technology that’s available?” Gerantabee said to describe Coty’s approach to digital. “One of the things we very much wanted to do is use lifestyle-related signals — looks, events — things that we know are really important to her.”
“What we loved about the voice environment and Amazon Alexa in particular is the device itself is very personal, but it’s situated in a unique way to say mobile phones — it’s sort of this household hub where it’s weaving together all these important things about her daily routine,” Gerantabee said.
“The consumer division was a natural fit because it contains mass color cosmetics, hair color, nail polish and so on,” Gerantabee said. “Those are things that are very much akin to something she’s going to be doing herself at home.”
The consumer division-focused initiative comes at a time when Coty is working to grow sales in that segment, which have slumped. Other initiatives include the rebrand of Cover Girl, which Coty bought from P&G in 2016, and a launch at Sally Hansen that focuses on nail care.
For now, Let’s Get Ready is launching in the U.K. But the possibility of expanding and building on the concept is likely, Gerantabee noted. The data gleaned from Let’s Get Ready will be shared internally at Coty.
To create the program, Coty’s digital team partnered with Beamly — an agency the company acquired a few years ago — for social listening and data mining related to the production of the skill.
“Digital innovation with a focus on voice and virtual assistants is a key part of our digital strategy as we aim to bring consumers frictionless beauty experiences,” said Jason Forbes, Coty chief digital and media officer.