Feelunique's "Makeup Live" App

LONDON — Feelunique, the European online beauty retailer, has launched a makeup application meant to enhance its digital shopping experience.

The “Makeup Live” app is available to customers in the U.K. and it allows people to try on and purchase makeup products virtually.

“It became apparent to us that technology has now reached the point where ‘virtual try-on’ of makeup is worth testing as a viable way to shop new colors and products. Launching an app is also a way to see how we can complement our existing mobile site,” Jim Buckle, the company’s chief operating officer, told WWD.

Feelunique’s in-house team worked alongside French technology company Wisimage to create the app. A new technology, called the spectrophotometer, was developed as part of the process in order to overcome one of the biggest technical challenges of providing accurate color matches. Spectrophotometer is billed to extract a product’s exact color information and ensure that color matches are as accurate on screen as they are in real life.

Buckle also pointed out that during the developing process, keeping up with the ever-changing beauty trends was one of the biggest hurdles the team had to surmount. “As product development moves at such a fast pace, one challenge was keeping up with the new trends and shades launching to ensure they were featured on the app,” he said.

The app includes products across five key categories — lipstick, lip gloss, eyeliner, eyeshadow and blusher — from an edited selection of high-street and high-end brands, including Rimmel London, Bourjois, Yves Saint Laurent, Estée Lauder and Urban Decay. Users can virtually try on all products through the app’s Camera View section, create their own looks by trying on various products and snapping pictures that can then be shared on other social platforms.

The company wanted to include the products it deemed likely to appeal to a wide audience, such as Urban Decay’s Naked eyeshadow palettes and Rimmel’s matte lipsticks created in collaboration with Kate Moss, and plans to add to the range on offer if the app is well-received.

It also includes a feature that allows consumers to try on a series of featured looks, such as Classic Cat Eyes, Statement Eyes and Glam Girl, which includes a bold red lipstick. During Christmas, the feature will be updated with holiday-themed looks.

Feelunique plans an initial soft launch to first introduce the app to its existing customer base before spreading the message to a wider audience. Buckle explained that the app is expected to attract a younger consumer, “who has fun creating new looks and sharing with friends on social media.”

The company declined to confirm how much was invested to develop the new app.

In April, Feelunique announced a new investment of 20 million pounds, or $26.5 million at current exchange, from its existing partner Palamon Capital Partners and two new co-investors in order to expand its international footprint. Feelunique recently launched a Chinese site, which has been outperforming, and it has been in the process of expanding into France, after acquiring premium French perfumery chain Perfumeries Rive Droite.