New BeautyFluent app cultivates beauty ‘influencers’ on retailer sales floors

There’s no doubt that indie beauty startups often rely heavily on influencers to drive visibility. But once the brands earn coveted shelf space in beauty retailers, they may be neglecting one important “influencer”: the store associate.

Currently in beta, the new BeautyFluent app by Landing International was launched at Ulta Beauty’s Field Leadership Conference last month. Its aim is to provide brands with an opportunity to train store employees on product usage while avoiding the costs to send representatives to work with them on site. Featuring brands including CosRX and BeautyStat, which sell at Ulta Beauty, the platform is especially targeting indie beauty labels working to make the most of their store footprints.

Store associates are “the ones who interact with customers every day,” said Sarah Chung, founder and CEO of Landing International. “Brands wouldn’t even blink at spending $10,000 for a micro-influencer to post maybe one grid [post] and one story about their brand. [But] they’re actually kind of reticent to spend that same amount on beauty advisors who are dealing with their customers every single day and really are their brand ambassadors at the point of sale.”

At $12,000 a year for brands to join and feature their products, the new mobile app allows store associates to enter their individual store location and create an account in order to scan product barcodes and read up on each product. In its second phase starting in 2023, associates will be able to earn points for completing training and quizzes on products. By 2024, the platform plans to incorporate a content component featuring live events with brand founders. Points can then be redeemed for free products that will be mailed directly to their homes. The app also allows associates to review products, providing brands with feedback from experts working with the products on the sales floor. Brands will have access to data on quiz scores and top store locations participating, as well as receive information on which store associates are the most engaged with the brand. The app is neither linked to retailers’ sales data nor employee commissions.

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