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L’Oreal App Holds Mirror to Consumer Insights

6-23-2014 10-06-58 AMIn beauty parlance, the digital app can be equated with the makeup brush – a discretionary tool, often soft on the edges, designed to deliver a desired effect.

Add an element of product interaction and data analysis to the tool, and that app can result in a total loyalty makeover. That loyalty experience is now at our fingertips, thanks to L’Oreal Paris.

The beauty giant, whose luxury brands include Lancôme, Giorgio Armani and Kiehl’s, has recently unveiled Makeup Genius, an app that redefines digital engagement as finely as a charcoal liner. To the user, Makeup Genius is basically a beauty mirror that enables her (or him) to try on different eye shadows, blushers and other products without applying the actual product. In reality, this app is much more.

Makeup Genius enables simulated product testing by combining digital technology with computer-generated imagery. Using the device’s camera, it snaps a picture of the user and then reflects her movements, creating a real-time, digital way for her to test out cosmetics – anywhere.

On its face, this is very cool. But the intelligence, and opportunities, behind the app are its beauty.

There are so many opportunities for engagement, and to gather insights. The consumer can browse the options and create a shopping list that links to retailers where she can acquire the products. L’Oreal, meanwhile, has access to added insights through the data collected from that browsing, which it can use to create highly personal offers, communications and services. Further, the app provides a channel through which the beauty giant can interact with consumers and gather feedback and recommendations.

Outside of the consumer-brand experience, Makeup Genius can enable partnerships with the retail community that have potentially profound results – imagine how combining the browsing data with the actual sales data at the counter could reshape the shopping experience.

Makeup Genius is the latest in a series of loyalty initiatives by L’Oreal. The company also operates the Gold Rewards consumer loyalty program and Elite Loyalty, a program for professional salon operators. And a couple months back I wrote about Lancôme’s Elite Rewards program, which rewards members for their social media engagement and purchases.

These loyalty innovations provide a new look for a classic brand, but it is not a look that departs from its core appeal, which is also part of the beauty. L’Oreal knows what its customers value, and it is bringing it in full color, one application at a time.

And when a brand can create additional insights into the consumer, it makes for a beautiful outcome.

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