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Benefit Cosmetics tests iPad app in-store to educate shoppers on products

August 1, 2011

Benefit Cosmetics is testing the efficacy of tablets in its boutiques and educating consumers about in-store services and products via the company’s new iPad in-store kiosk initiative.

The iPad app educates users about in-store services and products through videos, reviews and comparisons. Additionally, the app serves as an in-store shopping assistant and is not available for public download.

“This project is designed to test the efficacy of tablets in our U.S. boutiques, before rolling this out more broadly across counters and stores worldwide,” said Valerie Hoecke, vice president of digital experience and commerce at Benefit Cosmetics.

“We are definitely still evolving our tablet strategy,” she said. “But put simply, we believe that because of the Internet customers are fundamentally used to gathering and evaluating a lot of information as part of a purchase decision.

“We see them do it on their mobile phones in store sometimes, and we want to make the whole process as easy as possible.”

Benefit worked with Branding Brand on the in-store iPad app.

In-store experience
The in-store app lets consumers learn more about in-store offerings, search products and see what’s new.

Consumers can also browse and view ratings and reviews to see what other shoppers think of the products.

Additionally, the app lets consumers access tutorials, videos and product comparisons.

“We want to support our customer’s preferred shopping experience in as many ways as we can, wherever we can – this means PCs at home and at work, mobile on the go, tablets as a second screen at home or as a kiosk in-store,” Ms. Hoecke said.

“We know that in store customers can touch and feel our products in a way that converts really well,” she said. “Makeup is a fundamentally sensory experience, and women fall in love with Benefit in our stores.

“And we have great Beauty Advisors at our counters to help our customers try our products on and give them lessons.

Get the look
The app also lets consumers browse certain looks and see how they can achieve it themselves via Benefit’s products.

Shoppers can also view videos to learn more about the makeup.

“But some of the other information that informs their purchase decision, such as average ratings and reviews, 3rd party blogger reviews, awards won, seeing the product on different types of skin tones when gifting may be missing,” Ms. Hoecke said. “So we want our tablets to help support the in store purchase by providing some of that information.

“A big part of our business is beauty services, such as brow waxing, body wax, spray tans, and lash tinting,” she said. “If a customer is waiting for a service, we want to give her great entertainment and make it easy for her to wait.
When the app is not in use it reverts to full screen video mode and plays through our videos to draw our customers over.

“We are laser focused on digital as a key pillar of our success long term,” Ms. Hoecke said. “We have a relatively young, engaged audience that loves our products, and we have a really fun, approachable, funny and irreverent brand that is almost tailor-made for sharing via the Internet.

“We want to give our customers every opportunity to share the Benefit love – and increasingly we believe mobile will be the core winning platform for social activities,” she said.

“We are working on some plans to enrich this experience already. We wanted to start with something simple and learn what our customers choose to do and interact with, first. We also believe that there is huge power in location-based social activities in store, so that’s an area we will explore in the future.”

Final Take
Rimma Kats is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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