While research shows that 67% of users are more likely to buy from a mobile-friendly site than a non-optimized site, the beauty industry has been slow to adopt: 54% of brands in this year’s Index still do not have mobile optimized sites. Adoption of iPad and iPhone applications have also stayed relatively stagnant since 2010 and while Andriod app adoption increased from 5% last year to 18% this year, it still lags behind iPhone numbers. Furthermore, the industry does not seem to be leveraging mobile apps for selling: only 17% of iPhone apps are e-commerce enabled and half fail even to mention specific products.

However, a number of brands are capitalizing on the mobile opportunity in innovative ways. We found that 18 brands in the Index have developed mobile apps with diagnostic beauty tools, including quizzes and virtual makeovers. In particular, Mary Kay has distinguished their app with innovative technology, a rich user experience, strong content, and commerce features.

The Mary Kay Virtual Makeover App, released for iPhone, iPad, and Android, lets fans use their own face as the canvas for creating custom beauty looks. Users can personalize everything from their hairstyle and color to accessories in addition to creating a full makeup application. Drag-and-drop sensors and advanced photo-editing tools enable sophisticated virtual makeup application and landscape mode allows users to apply their makeup side by side with artist how-to videos. Once complete, users can download their photo, share on social networks, save favorite products, or buy all the products for the entire look. In addition to allowing fans to customize their own makeup, the app also updates users on current trends with one-click makeovers that use season specific colors and products. The app, which has already been downloaded more than 500,000 times since launching this spring, is available in the US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, and Spain and the brand hopes to roll it out across all its international markets.

For more information on the Digital IQ Index: Beauty, download an excerpt of the report here.

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