This week I take a peek at the new Charlotte Tilbury app and why brands make the decision to develop apps. Scroll down to use Glossy+ Comments, giving the Glossy+ community the opportunity to join discussions around industry topics.
Last week, Charlotte Tilbury Beauty unveiled a new digital strategy with the launch of an app, joining a small but growing group of beauty brands creating dedicated e-commerce apps.
The app launched last week, adding to others from brands like Ipsy, Beautycounter, E.l.f Beauty and Mielle Organics hair care. The Charlotte Tilbury team built the app in-house over the last 18 months, with expectations the app will become a significant part of the brand’s direct-to-consumer sales strategy moving forward. Other brands have different use cases for building an app, including community development, data capture and ease of use for consumers who prefer mobile.
According to parent company Puig’s 2022 earnings report, makeup sales grew 52% year-over-year to approximately $673 million, led by Charlotte Tilbury and Carolina Herrera. And skin care grew by 20% year-over-year to $352 million, with Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream as its best-selling skin product. Puig did not break out sales for Charlotte Tilbury, which it acquired in 2020, nor sales channels.
“We’re approaching [an app] based on what Charlotte has always talked about, which is holding a customer’s hand through the journey and wanting to be that expert for them,” said Corinne Suchy, chief growth and technology officer at Charlotte Tilbury. “Because we are offering a [deep] level of personalization and of education, we want people to start their day with this experience.”
Tilbury herself is infused throughout the app experience, with written copy in the style of her voice, and her literal voice making appearances in sound bites and voice-overs. When users open the app, they begin on the home tab, featuring subsections of Breaking Beauty News, a Beauty Calendar of masterclasses on different dates, makeup looks on celebrities and supermodels, complexion product shade matching and skin analysis. There is also a Learn tab for other tutorials and masterclasses to live under and where upcoming sessions will live post-event. The Shopping tab lives in the middle of the menu, situated next to the shopping basket tab and lastly, a You tab where personalized products, shades and favorited looks and tutorials reside. Perhaps the two most innovative experiences of the app are the new color-matching feature and AR application. The color matching is for color makeup products, such as lips, eyes and cheek. Debuting with the Lip Blur products launch on Tuesday, color matching suggests the best color products for people based on their skin tone and will expand to all lip products in the coming weeks and later, all color products. Another tool is an AR application, which shows users where to apply certain complexion products like concealer, based on Tilbury’s own expertise.
“[We’re taking] Charlotte’s artistry, decoding it and coupling it with technology by AI, in the case of skin care and the skin analysis,” said Suchy. “The app is a continuation of what [Tilbury] has always believed partnered with powerful technology and the immersive content of Charlotte Tilbury’s world.”
Meanwhile, Sarah Rose, chief product officer at Ipsy, said the vast majority of its subscribers already engage with Ipsy via their mobile phones, so a native app was a natural option as the app mirrors the company’s website. The app, launched in 2015, also serves as an organic acquisition tool within the app store, as potential members find Ipsy in their search results. Rose did not provide examples of relevant search terms or how substantial the organic acquisition channel is to the subscriber base. Ipsy and its subsidiary BoxyCharm have a combined 4.3 million subscribers, as of BoxyCharm’s acquisition in 2020.
Ekta Chopra, chief digital officer at E.l.f. Beauty echoed the sentiment that an app can be justified if a brand’s customers are predominantly mobile-first. E.l.f. Beauty first created a shoppable app in 2018, which was an out-of-the-box version as the team was focused on testing and learning from the experience. After gathering feedback and data around how loyalty members preferred shopping on the app, E.l.f. Beauty then found another vendor to create a custom app, which debuted in Aug. 2022.
The current E.l.f Beauty app offers e-commerce shopping, plus features like the ability to scan receipts from retail partners in order to claim loyalty points, virtual try-on and the ability to purchase products with digital payment tools like Paypal and Apple Pay. According to Chopra, 95% of loyalty members shop on the app. E.l.f. Beauty has 3.7 million loyal members. Chopra declined to share how many app downloads there have been.
But Chopra said the roadmap for the app extends beyond commerce by building a place to house the E.l.f community
“Our future-forward roadmap is about building communities, and making it a place where loyalty members can shop, talk, engage, and provide us feedback, and where we can engage them directly on special projects,” she said.
One idea is for the E.l.f Beauty app to offer forums for users to discuss specific beauty topics, or connect with specific types of people to create micro-communities. Integration with Web3 is also a possibility. E.l.f. Beauty is testing a Web3 loyalty program with approximately 3,000 of its top loyalty members, who can test new experiences within the metaverse. E.l.f Beauty also works with digital experiences vendor Jebbit on creating in-app quizzes and product recommendations, to create more unique experiences and capture zero-party data. And using Salesforce, E.l.f Beauty is taking data from its experiences with TikTok Shop and integrating it into its native app.
“Having an app has unlocked a world that bypasses some of the internet privacy] governance as well because we’re building a one-on-one relationship with the consumer,” said Chopra.
Inside our coverage:
Otherland candles has been acquired.
L’Oréal invests in biotech company Debut.
Lancôme lands in hot water for confusing foundation relaunch.
What we’re reading:
How legacy beauty brands try to appeal to Gen Z.
A new book looks at K-beauty culture.
Female CEOs are stepping down and away from brands.