Mascara, moisturizer, and...mobile apps? That was the name of the game as Shopgate sent our resident beauty guru, Jessica Jones, to BeautyconLA last week. A makeup and skincare expert with her own YouTube channel of tutorials and product reviews, Jessica aimed to meet retailers, influencers, and the best apps in this lucrative industry. She spent the weekend scoping out the latest and greatest brands, always keeping her finger on her touchscreen as she explored the trails they’re blazing in mobile commerce and technology.
If you haven’t noticed, beauty products are having a moment unlike any other. The hair, cosmetics, and skincare industries have exploded in recent years, thanks to the accessibility of online shopping and the hyper-visual nature of platforms like Instagram. As a result, beauty enthusiasts of all generations are leaving behind the drugstore makeup aisle that many of us came of age in.
As beauty products become bolder (purple lipstick, anyone?), marketing and sales strategies are evolving, too. Since social media drives so many beauty purchases, it only makes sense that brands are embracing the platform that Snapchat addicts spend their time on. It also helps that beauty products inherently drive customer loyalty. Powder compacts will always need to be replaced after they’re used up, and women and men alike have their “signature scents” as they buy perfume and cologne. This makes the beauty industry a perfect match for mobile, the ultimate sales channel for increasing customer retention.
As a Shopgate mobile expert and beauty influencer, Jessica compiled a list of her favorite beauty apps for our blog. These apps aren’t just easy to use and buy from—they’re driving new trends in mobile technology and digital marketing. Want your beauty app to be a smashing success? Draw inspiration from these key players, and you’ll see success as attractive and long-lasting as your favorite lip stain.
Of course, we can’t discuss apps at Beautycon without mentioning the festival’s official app. Gone are the days of paper calendars, maps, and pamphlets. Now, events as huge as BeautyCon are organized via the device that never leaves their attendees’ hands—their phones, of course! Using the Shopify platform, Beautycon designed an app that was optimized for convenience and ease in every way, including:
- Supplying attendees with digital calendars so they could pick which events and booths they wanted to visit
- Providing an easy shopping experience for attendees to buy official merchandise
- Utilizing advanced Bluetooth capabilities so they could locate attendees and alert them to nearby events, speakers, food offerings, and other important news
By taking basic app features such as push notifications and giving them the extra glow of technology like Bluetooth, Beautycon found new ways to organize their conference and provide a prime experience for their guests. This, of course, leads beauty enthusiasts to expect similar offerings from major beauty brands. And, of course, the biggest companies in the world are eager to meet those expectations.
That drugstore aisle we mentioned earlier? The beauty takeover that lured us away from that aisle can be credited to Sephora. The mega-retailer of the best beauty brands in the world can be found in just about any shopping mall nowadays, but it’s their eCommerce strategy that really won over fans. With perks like a loyalty program and frequent promo codes, Sephora loyalists are eager to shop online—and with a truly innovative app, they grew to own mobile. Their app has scored over a million downloads, thanks to features like these:
- Exclusive access to deals and promos that you can’t find on desktop or in a store
- The camera-enabled Virtual Artist, which allows you to “try on” various cosmetic products including lipsticks and false eyelashes
- Push notifications tailored to alert you to news about your favorite products
- Geofencing to allow mobile users to get discounts in Sephora stores
- The ability to organize your store visits by booking beauty appointments and keeping track of your loyalty points
To read more about Sephora's mobile innovation, download our free whitepaper, 5 Remarkable Mobile Experiences Proven to Lift Brand Loyalty.
Based in the UK, Lush Cosmetics creates their own organic beauty products from natural resources and essential oils, never resorting to harmful chemicals, animal products, or animal testing. Because of their commitment to these convictions, Lush has racked up an extremely loyal base across all generations and genders who want the best skincare, hair care, and cosmetic products. Their app matches their flexibility and diverse offerings, with features like:
- The ability to browse by everything from product type to preferred scent
- A wealth of content about Lush’s various charitable and ethical pursuits
- Social proof, with pages dedicated to customer testimonials and product reviews so other customers can get real-world recommendations
- Gift card capabilities, with purchases and reloading available on the app
As vast as the beauty market is, there are still a lot of niches that go untapped, thanks to the lack of representation of certain races in the industry. Eden BodyWorks responded to this by launching a brand that primarily focuses on using natural ingredients for African-American skin and hair. Citing a commitment to fostering healthy, natural black hair, Eden has an entire showcase of shampoos, conditioners, serums, creams, and more—for all hair types, especially those that go unnoticed by major hair companies that market to white hair. This thoughtful, innovative approach to natural beauty directly correlates with their mobile strategy, as their app includes the following and more:
- A beautiful, modern app layout that allows customers to take the simplest journeys through the app to find the exact products they need
- A loyalty program that provides monthly specials, such as 15% off any order
- Content including videos, blog posts, and more on the latest in black beauty
- A lookbook to introduce customers to new products and campaigns
With apps like these, who needs that drugstore aisle anymore? The future of beauty is already here—and it’s available on smartphones around the world. We’re excited to see how we can help beauty retailers continue to evolve through mobile technology and smart digital marketing. Request a demo of a sleek Shopgate app here!
Author: Casey Gannon
Vice President of Marketing | Casey is an experienced tech marketer, driven to develop marketing strategies that blend traditional techniques with emerging technology. With over ten years of experience in mobile, she believes that mobile apps are the modern solution in helping retailers directly connect with and impact consumers. When she's not looking ahead to the next opportunity, Casey is a busy mom, soccer player and adjunct professor at her alma mater, St. Edward's University.