In the beauty industry, it’s become a truism that shoppers buy at stores, but explore online before they do. Lovelyloot, a virtual self-storage unit for beauty product information, is bridging the divide between the two consumer pursuits.
Launching today, the app contains a database with more than 100,000 beauty products users can sift through to create wish lists for future purchases. It worked directly with brands and stores including Sigma Beauty, Credo, Makeup Geek and The Honest Co. to accumulate details of their products, and also accumulated much on its own from the likes of Nordstrom, Sephora and Target.
“It’s one place to save and remember any beauty product you discover,” said Ida Linden, the Oakland, Calif.-based cofounder and chief executive officer of Lovelyloot. “Most people will use it to keep track of what they spot online. Women spend a lot of time reading magazines and blogs, and looking at Instagram, and it captures what they research so they can act upon it later.”
Certainly, women are sorting through a ton of digital beauty material that most can’t possibly remember when visiting stores. Lovelyloot pointed to statistics revealing that YouTube beauty videos have been viewed 45 billion times, the equivalent of every individual on earth watching a beauty video over six times, 82 percent of women report relying on blog reviews to guide beauty product decisions and 58 percent of beauty consumers said they would rather scour product information on their phones than talk to in-person beauty advisers.
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“If you read one to three magazines and five to 10 blogs a month, and if you spend even 10 minutes a day on Instagram, you are bombarded with thousands and thousands of media impressions every month,” said Linden. “What’s the point of reading all that – and all that time and investment – if you can’t do anything about it?”
Linden speculates the app will have three main audiences: beauty enthusiasts, professional makeup artists or hairstylists, and beauty influencers. The first group will store product information out of sheer curiosity and as prompts for products that pique their interest (custom collections can be generated on the app for gift ideas, skin-care routines or makeup looks, among countless possibilities), while the second and third groups might amass personal product catalogues to share with clients or followers. Lovelyloot allows for texts or e-mails to be sent of the products users compile.
“Say you get your makeup done for a wedding using 30 products, and you loved the way you looked, but you have no way of knowing what 30 products were used. This would allow them [makeup artists] to send you all of the products they used,” said Linden. “It’s a really easy way for pros to communicate with their clients. The same thing goes for beauty bloggers. It can be a way for them to manage their inventories or kits, and to help plan their posts when they want to tell their readers about the products in them.”
Free to download, Lovelyloot will make money by receiving costs per clicks through to brand and retail web sites, percentages of product purchases made on sites consumers are directed to via the app, and advertising within the platform. It’s initially only available on Apple devices, although an Android version is slated to be introduced soon.
“We want to help brands and retailers extend the lives of their impressions,” said Linden, explaining Lovelyloot gathers “data on the back end to help inform brands and retailers when they should do sponsored content. The larger our database becomes, the better the data will get to do more targeted ads than you can do with social media.”
Linden, who has extensive experience in the communications and public relations field, came up for the concept that ultimately became Lovelyloot three years ago. To figure out how to properly execute it, she interviewed and observed hundreds of beauty shoppers and bloggers, and even trailed the Estée Lauder sales force at the Macy’s in San Francisco’s Union Square.
“People were frustrated and overwhelmed by shopping. They couldn’t remember what they saw online when they were ready to shop. They were cobbling together solutions using Evernote or Pinterest, and a lot of social makeup and beauty apps out there. They don’t want another platform where they have to gain followers or share content. People have enough followers,” said Linden. “We struck a balance with something fun that’s simple and useful.”