- Avon introduced a mobile app to help its sales representatives demonstrate the beauty company's products to their customers. The Personalised Beauty App helps representatives suggest makeup shades through a smartphone camera to examine a customer's skin alongside a "calibration card" for skin tone measurement, the company announced in a press release.
- The app also helps customers identify their overall skincare needs through a questionnaire, which relies on an algorithm to process the information and provide a personalized suggestion of which products to try. Avon piloted the tools in the U.K. and South Africa and saw "overwhelmingly positive responses," per the release.
- Avon partnered with software company Techkon to develop the app's color-matching technology.
Avon's app aims to support the direct marketing efforts of its sales reps, unlike other popular beauty apps that use augmented reality (AR) to overlay virtual makeup on a smartphone user's face. Louise Scott, Avon's chief scientific officer, said in the release that the app is more accurate than AR apps because its technology incorporates a customer's surroundings and lighting to provide the best color match, while also activating the sales reps' beauty expertise in recommending products that users can purchase with a higher level of confidence.
About three-quarters (70%) of women choose the wrong shade of foundation for their skin tone, and almost half (44%) say their skincare regime doesn't match their needs, per the research cited by Avon. The company determined that these findings presented an opportunity to boost its color business, as 23% of $5.7 billion total revenue came from this category in 2017, according to Glossy. Avon CEO Jan Zijderveld in September said during a presentation that the company will invest about $300 million in digital technologies by 2021 in order to compete with beauty giants like Sephora and engage tech-savvy consumers in stores and on the go.
Mobile devices have become a key marketing platform for beauty brands, many of which have used AR technology to demonstrate their products with digital overlays on live selfies. Madison Reed, Estée Lauder, Lancôme Paris, Maybelline and other brands have used AR tools to enhance both in-store and at-home experimentation. L'Oréal in August partnered with Facebook to let the social media giant's users try on virtual makeup samples through AR directly on its platform.