A mass-market division of beauty giant L’Oreal, NYX Cosmetics is one of the only large beauty brands that eschews professional models in favor of authentic consumers to showcase its products. NYX is also well-known for leveraging user-generated content (UGC) and in-store technology to engage personally with its customers.

Like all cosmetic brands, NYX faces a challenge when selling online. When it comes to makeup, most buyers want to try on different colors and textures, or at least examine them in person. How else can they determine whether they like how a product looks on their unique skin tone?

The solution? NYX activates its army of extraordinarily loyal customers – over 7.7 million Instagram followers – and its vast library of professional-looking customer selfies.

“All the images for our campaigns feature real people, including the top fold of our home page,” said Bernice Merlini, Ecommerce Marketing Manager. “They are relatable. These influencers look like you and me.”

The NYX site is peppered with imagery and video tutorials of real influencers applying makeup. If you’re shopping in one of the twelve NYX stores equipped with digital displays, you can also scan an item and see the product being applied and worn by real consumers on large in-store displays, as well as smaller in-aisle displays.

NYX achieves all of this by crowdsourcing approved selfies from social media. The company partnered with Olapic, a Commerce Cloud certified-LINK technology partner, on the integration. Olapic algorithms analyze the images to determine which will be most effective. Images that lead to actual sales are flagged as successful and fed back into the system for reuse.

“If you’re shopping online, you can’t try products on,” said Merlini. “We need to get as close to that as possible with user-generated content.” To further engage with its consumers, NYX runs an annual competition called the FACE Awards where video bloggers and makeup influencers create themed looks (based on fairytale characters, for example) and tutorials on using the company’s products.

Since budding makeup artists sometimes use the products in creative and unanticipated ways, the competition actually helps inspire new products and collections. “We care what our customer thinks about and how they use our product,” said Merlini.

 
 

If you’re shopping online, you can’t try products on. We need to get as close to that as possible with user-generated content.”

Bernice Merlini | Ecommerce Marketing Manager

The NYX website focuses as much on the customer journey as it does the destination – the purchase. With a catalog of more than 2,700 products, it’s easy for shoppers to get lost in all the options, so NYX has applied granular filtering to guide shoppers to the perfect item. For example, an eye shadow search yields five options for “formula,” five for “finish,” and three for “coverage.”

“We spend a lot of time thinking about how a customer shops for our products, because there are a lot of nuances with beauty. If we know a shopper loves a bold look, we can showcase that with UGC and the shopper says, ‘Great, this is a brand that understands me and what I’m looking for.’”

That philosophy extends to all of the brand’s customer interactions. The NYX customer tends to favor vivid looks and colors — a fact not lost on the company, which uses colorful iconography and vibrant visuals on its website to cement its brand identity. When shoppers are on the NYX site, there is no confusing it with any other beauty brand.

 

NYX was named #19 in the L2 Digital IQ Index of 106 beauty brands. The firm noted that NYX “continues to excel in shoppable UGC onsite with a filterable library based on a campaign hashtag.” NYX has been such a standout that parent company L’Oreal, with more than 20 beauty brands in its portfolio, cited the brand’s “very strong” growth in the first quarter of 2016.

Many retailers talk about being customer-centric, but NYX walks the talk. “We work with our customers as a way to differentiate us as an authority in the beauty space,” said Merlini. “We’re doing guided selling and all those things, but in a NYX way.”

 
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