Covergirl just launched BeautyU, an app that lets users virtually try on makeup – placing the Gifted brand ahead in the guided selling competition.

While 72% of U.S. Beauty brands use guided selling techniques such as augmented reality, L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty finds that these approaches are not always implemented successfully on mobile. Nearly half of Index brands that house diagnostic tools on their desktop sites fail to showcase those tools in equally prominent locations on mobile, including the main navigation menu and product pages.

Mobile guided selling

Other Beauty brands have been experimenting with augmented reality apps for a few years. Competitor L’Oréal launched Makeup Genius in 2014, and Benefit Cosmetics released Brow Genie the following year. However, virtually recreating the process of trying on cosmetics requires significant precision, meaning that getting all the details correct could be more important than being an early adopter.

“We’re not first to market, but we took our time to develop it to make sure we had done it right,” Covergirl brand manager Erika Woods told Digiday.

Sephora’s Virtual Artist app followed a similar trajectory, according to Johnna Marcus, senior director of the brand’s Innovation Lab. The retailer followed the virtual reality space for four years before launching the app in January, Marcus said at L2’s Mobile Clinic.

Developing Virtual Artist, in which users virtually try on lipsticks, involved rigorous testing, but it seems to have paid off. Two months after it was launched, the app had seen 45 million “try ons.” If Covergirl can create something similar for mass market consumers, its app could garner the same popularity in drugstore aisles.


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