Beauty Gets Personal: A Revolution in Retail

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The world of beauty is undergoing a revolution. Change has been in the air for some time, but unlike in previous years when the cosmetics industry has undergone radical transformations, this change is not being felt in the physical world. This time it's digital.

The cosmetics industry is currently at a tipping point – smartphones have become the number one source of online beauty research, which is increasingly happening in store. In fact, 70 per cent of women will research their beauty choices online before buying a new lipstick or mascara but, crucially, 90 per cent of actual purchases still happen in the physical world.

This means that when a consumer picks up a product in their hand, there is now the technology to bring a wealth of curated content to the smartphone held in their other hand. We know from research that the more customers understand products and how they enhance their looks, the more likely they are to buy. In addition to this, women are increasingly using their mobiles at the point of purchase to validate their choices.

So with targeted content held in the palm of a person's hand coupled with the expertise of a beauty consultant in store, consumers are going to be able to have access to the best cosmetics experience that has ever been available. And, in the true style of its founder, Max Factor is tipping the balance for the beauty industry and taking it into this new era.

Max Factor coined the phrase 'make-up' in the 1920s. He dramatically changed the make-up that was used by Hollywood stars on screen to make them appear more natural, then he allowed women to buy the products that made them look and feel like movie stars. He created the first lip gloss, and when his son took over the business, the brand introduced the first concealer and the first mascara wand to the public.

But at the centre of Max Factor's vision was the chance to put the power of make-up artistry in every woman's hands, and in the digital age, this vision is being truly realised. By partnering with Blippar and utilising our technology, it is now possible to bring the richness of the digital world to the store, and to bring the entire brand to life.

By using the Blippar app to scan a Max Factor product or barcode, women are now able to see curated content about the product they are holding. From before and after pictures to reviews, independent ratings from eRetailer websites, colour palettes, make-up tips, vouchers and 'Buy it now' capabilities – it's all there.

And that's just the beginning. Over time, this experience will become more and more personalised, tailored for every woman, so she can shop smarter and make easier beauty choices. Replacing a product that has just run out will become a one-click process, and retailers will be able to market to women through their smartphones in-store, based on the exact products that consumers are browsing.

Eventually the whole store will become a digital touch-point, and Max Factor will be able to create an end-to-end experience across the shopper journey from print to shop windows, in-store wobblers and beyond. The brand has made a ground-breaking move by making every product in its entire portfolio digitally interactive in this way and by seeing the significance of visual browsing technology.

And when there's a revolution, others will follow. You just saw it here first.