Clinique has gone digital.
This story first appeared in the February 25, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The brand, which made its debut in 1968 with a hand-operated diagnostic slide device, has joined the iPad generation.
The new device, called the iPad Skin Diagnostic Tool, will be installed in new counter configurations, which ultimately will include new product testers for foundation and color cosmetics and a new smart-screen scanner that provides product information and even reviews from other consumers. “By integrating digital technologies into the shopping experience, we are offering the consumer a stimulating and socially modern way to connect with the brand,” stated Lynne Greene, global brand president of Clinique, Origins and Ojon at the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.
The first digital advance out of the gate is the iPad device. By answering questions about individual skin conditions, the iPad analyzer is designed to produce a personal analysis for a consumers, providing 180,000 possible product recommendations. Clinique is planning to roll out the iPad devices to 1,300 doors globally by the end of the year, starting in North America.
Further down the development road is the Clinique Smart Bar, which is now being tested at the new company counter in the 59th Street flagship of Bloomingdale’s. Clinique touts it as the first instance of a beauty brand using the Microsoft Surface technology in-store. It has an oversize touch screen that is embedded in a countertop and is sensitive enough to respond when products are waved overhead. Information about a product pops onto the screen and customer-written reviews and how-to videos are available. A customer can collect images of products in a virtual browsing basket that can be printed on their Facebook wall or the information can be e-mailed to their computer. Product barcodes can be printed out in-store for an express checkout at the register. Another digital aid in Clinique’s lineup is a TAAZ virtual makeup mirror, installed on the brand’s Web site, for a simulated real-life product demonstration on a picture of a customer’s face.
The iPad device has been rolled out to a handful of pilot department stores, and reportedly the results so far have produced sales increases of 30 percent in the first stores.
Greene said the step into digital evolved over the last two-and-a-half years as part of the company’s Blue Ocean effort aimed at staying on the cutting edge of innovation. Ricardo Quintero, Clinique’s senior vice president and global general manager of market development, said today’s consumer easily moves from one screen to another, sending and gathering information via telephone text or TV. In the past, customers were not keen on using technology to shop, Greene noted. But now 50 percent of in-store purchases are influence by online information. “It gave the service a different level of credibility,” Quintero added, noting that customers see the iPad as an unbiased device giving them information devoid of sales pitch. Sales consultants also feel that the iPad confirms what they are telling the customer.
New testers for an expanded foundation range and a reengineered color cosmetics merchandising plan, designed to make picking a shade easier, will be rolled out in the fall to Clinique’s full distribution of 2,200 U.S. doors.