MAC Cosmetics

Connected Experience

Connected Experience

Connected Experience

Challenge

In an ever-evolving world of beauty retail, MAC Cosmetics recognized the paramount importance of customer relationships and sought to revolutionize the way customers interacted with their brand and experienced makeup purchasing. The challenge was to create an entirely new customer journey that not only surpassed traditional beauty retail but also set a new standard for how makeup could be tried on and purchased in the future.

Solution

User-Centered Design Philosophy: Our approach started with a relentless focus on the end-user. We embarked on a journey to understand customer needs, preferences, and expectations. Through surveys, interviews, and usability testing, we gained invaluable insights into user pain points and desires.

User testing: We conducted in-person user testing of a prototype store layout to gauge user interest in the many different conceptual features our team developed. Users were instructed to browse and interact with tablets running our prototype. 

Once the user completed their self-led session, they were asked why they ignored a screen, if they did. They were then asked to interact with the ignored screen(s) to give their impression on those features. 

Upon the final completion of the test, they were guided to another room for a brief post-test interview. 

Revitalizing Retail Spaces: To bring this vision to life, MAC embarked on a groundbreaking project, beginning with a concept store in Queens, NYC. This concept store served as an innovation lab where we could test cutting-edge retail experiences with real customers and later share these successes with the entire store fleet.

MAC Pass – The Heart of Personalization: At the core of our solution was the MAC Pass, a digital engagement platform that transformed the customer journey. Customers began their connected experience by scanning a personal QR code at designated stations (Lips, Eyes, or Face). MAC Pass, which evolved into the MAC PASS STUDIO, created engagement profiles, storing details about favorite products, shades, selfies, and more. This data was easily accessible to customers, bridging the gap between offline and online interactions.

Seamless Integration with Virtual Try-On (VTO): We upgraded the Virtual Try-On (VTO) feature, allowing customers to use Augmented Reality (AR) to try on a wide range of MAC products directly from their personal devices or in-store screens. Lipsticks, eyeshadows, and more could be previewed instantly in the app.

Tap and Try Innovation: One of the standout features was “Tap and Try.” Leveraging customer RFID technology, customers could virtually try on a product simply by picking it up. The technology recognized the product in the customer’s hands and instantly reflected it in a virtual mirror, merging the physical and virtual worlds seamlessly.

Visual Design and Entertainment Factor: The success of our UX design hinged on prioritizing not only functionality but also entertainment. We ensured that the interface was not just informative but also engaging, encouraging users to keep returning and sharing their experiences with friends.

Results

Exponential Engagement Growth: In the first month after the launch, we observed an astonishing 200%+ increase in customer engagement compared to the average store engagement with similar digital tools.

MAC PASS Engagement: The MAC PASS feature garnered the most substantial engagement, with over a third of in-store customers actively leveraging its capabilities.

Preservation of Expertise: MAC’s professional makeup artists remained a vital part of the concept store, ensuring that the brand’s expertise was not lost in the digital transformation. Aggregated preferences within MAC PASS STUDIO empowered artists to serve customers better than ever before.

Customer Feedback: Qualitative feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with the lip “tap and try” experience being a standout favorite for its ease of navigation and clear shade imagery. Eye VTO was found to be fun and engaging, leading to plans for further enhancements.

Business Growth: The innovative concept store contributed to a 15% growth in new customers, showcasing the success of the project not only in enhancing user experience but also in driving business expansion.

Conclusion

This project exemplifies how user-centered design, innovation, and a commitment to bridging the physical and digital worlds can redefine the customer experience. By surpassing the conventional boundaries of cosmetics retail, we achieved exceptional levels of personalization and engagement, setting the stage for MAC Cosmetics to lead the future of beauty retail. It has been an honor to partner with MAC in bringing this revolutionary vision to life, and we look forward to further advancements in the cosmetics shopping experience.

Recognition

Innovative use of their Azure technology was highlighted by Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, at the 2021 Inspire Conference.

200%

Customer Engagement

200%

Customer Engagement

200%

Customer Engagement

35%

Sign up for MAC Pass

35%

Sign up for MAC Pass

35%

Sign up for MAC Pass

15%

Growth in New Customers

15%

Growth in New Customers

15%

Growth in New Customers

“M·A·C Cosmetics is using Azure services including App Insights, Kubernetes to enable customers to virtually sample and try out products directly from their personal devices or within the store. It’s not just a fun new retail experience, but a completely new way to create customer engagement loops and respond to customer demand.”

Satya Nadella

Microsoft CEO

“M·A·C Cosmetics is using Azure services including App Insights, Kubernetes to enable customers to virtually sample and try out products directly from their personal devices or within the store. It’s not just a fun new retail experience, but a completely new way to create customer engagement loops and respond to customer demand.”

Satya Nadella

Microsoft CEO

“M·A·C Cosmetics is using Azure services including App Insights, Kubernetes to enable customers to virtually sample and try out products directly from their personal devices or within the store. It’s not just a fun new retail experience, but a completely new way to create customer engagement loops and respond to customer demand.”

Satya Nadella

Microsoft CEO

©2023 Marc Acosta

©2023 Marc Acosta

©2023 Marc Acosta