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L’Oreal moves pawn into mobile space with scanning platform partnership

L’Oreal is furthering its stake in the mobile space by partnering with commerce platform PowaTag to enable users to purchase beauty products by scanning cosmetics in magazine ads or in stores with their smartphones, proving that scan-to-shop abilities are still a hit with consumers.

The makeup brand has teamed up with the international commerce specialist to transform any consumer touch point into a possibility for a mobile transaction to occur, from print advertisements and social media to in-store products. L’Oreal will be able to help customers circumvent long checkout lines and streamline the entire shopping process via the new app.

“Mobile devices have become the go-to method for people to explore and connect with brands and PowaTag is rapidly becoming the standard for the world’s leading companies,” said Dan Wagner, founder and CEO of Powa Technologies, London, Britain.

Driving impulse buys
More brands are turning to scan-to-shop abilities within their mobile applications, as they ultimately help drive impulse purchases with consumers who spot an interesting item or service they want to buy on the spot. PowaTag enables users to purchase online via mobile and desktop, turning nearly any platform into a transaction device.

The platform will be particularly useful for L’Oreal, which has a heavy presence in many drugstores, supermarkets and beauty retail stores. If a customer walks by a shelf and spots an intriguing product, he or she can whip out a smartphone to scan the item and immediately buy it within the app.

This may prevent the conundrum of empty shelves during holidays and major sales, as consumers will not have to worry about stores having no inventory left.

This also may prompt L’Oreal to distribute its sample products to hotels and other high-traffic locations, where consumers can try them out and have the ability to immediately buy the full-size version if they like the item.

Shoppers that prefer to eschew long lines or crowded places will also reap benefits from this kind of capability.

Mobile focus
L’Oreal has been ramping up focus on mobile strategy much more heavily over the past year. In June, the beauty marketer incorporated in-photo advertising service GumGum’s image recognition technology to market to consumers via digital advertisements (see story).

The technology was able to deduce consumers’ hair color based on photos so that the brand could personalize ads to their specific color of choice. It rolled out this strategy in conjunction with its Ombre hair campaign.

This past January, L’Oreal leveraged a mobile receipt-based promotion by rewarding customers who purchased $20 or more worth of participating products at a Walmart store with a $5 electronic gift card to Walmart (see story).

Users were asked to snap a picture of their receipt and text it to a designated number, upload it online or email to a branded address.

“L’Oreal has recognized the great potential to engage with their customers anytime, anywhere with PowaTag,” Mr. Wagner said.

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York