Maya Mikhailov

Beauty has been slower than many other categories to embrace the mobile mentality, according to Maya Mikhailov, cofounder and chief marketing officer of GPShopper.

“With the exception of Sephora, beauty has been a laggard in the mobile curve,” she said. That’s about to change, according to Mikhailov. Maximizing mobile is a component of three trends she identified that will impact beauty retailers in 2018:

The Merging of Music and Lifestyle Trends With Personal Care

Music and beauty have a lot in common, as exemplified by makeup artist Pat McGrath’s use of Spotify to launch her own brand. “McGrath is one of the makeup artists who pioneered social media. Using Spotify as a popular mobile service with a famous makeup artist [her products are sold on Spotify’s Maggie Lindemann shop] serves to be a powerful combination of music, social and merchandise,” Mikhailov said. “There are more opportunities for future musicians to work with makeup brands.”

That holds true for continued tie-ins with festivals, she suggested, as younger consumers earmark more of their dollars for experiences such as Coachella. “There are a lot of brands there, but not quite as many beauty products,” Mikhailov said of festivals. “Brands would be wise to figure how they can leverage that sort of energy and spend to associate themselves with it.”

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Look to the Microinfluencers

Beauty enthusiasts, in particular, have embraced the power of social media and that’s reflected in brands surging such as Kylie Cosmetics and Fenty Beauty. But that’s just scratching the surface, said Mikhailov, who expects next year will bring more content-providers with smaller, but more engaged followers, who will co-create beauty products. “Beauty brands are no longer selling aspiration. Now more successful brands are flipping the script and they’re co-creating with their audiences. Create with your audience rather than just for your audience.” She also called for beauty brands to do more with video. “Not enough is being done with that type of content.”

Tapping Technology

There are inklings of a greater use of technology in beauty bubbling to the surface this holiday season. MAC installed augmented reality mirrors in stores and Macy’s added 49 more magic mirrors, following success of its first installation in Herald Square. NYX Professional Makeup is sprinkling some stores with a virtual reality experience. Research from GPShopper found that 86 percent of consumers like experience stores where they can try out products in-store, but buy on mobile or online later — proving that in-store AR activations like those from MAC and Macy’s are what consumers want. Other research uncovered that shoppers are quite open to augmented reality on their own: 58 percent want to use AR to see how certain items might look in a different color before buying, while 44 percent want to use AR to try out clothes or accessories without going into a store. Being able to virtually try on products is especially a unique benefit for cosmetics because shoppers don’t always have the ability to use testers or to wash off makeup in between trials. “AI will help brands and retailers allow consumers to shop smarter. AR will provide more convenience for shoppers such as Sephora’s AR makeup application,” Mikhailov explained.

Her final suggestion is to foster more collaboration between retailers and brands. The retailer traditionally owned all the consumer data, but sharing and working together produces better results. “The best thing retailers can do is work with brands to create a better line of communication with the shopper. That results in a better customer experience.”