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Pressing the Beauty Key – Manufacturers use digital technology to encourage “tryvertising” at the cosmetics counter


X-Rite Europe GmbH
Althardstrasse 70, CH-8105 Regensdorf, Switzerland


As the cost of computing power has dropped and color measurement technology improved during the last five years, companies have reached the tipping point for the effective use of digital technology in the marketing and sales of cosmetics at retail locations. The trend dubbed “tryvertising” seems to have accelerated in the past year as cosmetics manufacturers adopt digital technology as a subtle and non-intrusive way to engage shoppers to try new products. Today’s relatively small and sleek devices used by cosmetic advisers in department stores resemble technology that is familiar to shoppers who often own and use smartphones and electronic tablets.

Powerful color measurement devices in stylish packages invite shoppers to experiment with new makeups and looks

Imagine what a shopper of 25 years ago would think if she were to travel forward in time and visit today's cosmetics counters. Aside from the dizzying array of skincare products and families of colors, what she may be struck by most of all is the use of digital technology in helping her to personalize her purchases.
Depending on where she landed in her time travel, our shopper may have a sales associate measure her skin color with a handheld spectrocolorimeter for best color matching of foundations or have the image of her face captured by digital camera and rendered on a color monitor for a virtual makeover session. Or she may even enjoy watching lipstick or foundations custom-mixed right at the sales counter in minutes by "inventors" rather than sales associates.
While our time traveler may be somewhat shocked by these developments -- in her time a personal computer cost $2,300 with less than a small fraction of the computing power of today's machines (1) -- we see these advances simply as logical ex ...

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