US makeup brand, NYX, is crowdsourcing selfies from social media to use as in-store marketing to show customers what beauty products look like on real people, rather than models.

The images are looped on large in-store video walls, as well as smaller screens next to the bays on the aisles. Customers are encouraged to scan makeup products on the bays to engage with the accompanying screen which presents images of real people wearing that particular piece of makeup.

An example of the NYX beauty bay on the Demandware stand at NRF 2016

NYX encourages customers to scan products to view selfies

The retailer – which has seven stores in the US, Canada and Europe with plans to expand further internationally – has long searched for customer selfies to use as marketing material across all of its channels. Using hashtags and geolocations from platforms such as Tumblr and Instagram, the retailer can crowdsource selfies from the NYX community.

Mehdi Mehdi AVP of digital at NYX Cosmetics, said customer feedback to the in-store launch has been "phenomenal".

"Many fans of NYX are younger digital natives, so they naturally tend to gravitate towards technology – particularly when it comes to shopping for cosmetics," he said. "They are accustomed to spending hours on their computers and mobile devices looking at Instagram and YouTube for both research and inspiration, so bringing that experience to life in a retail environment has made them feel right at home as makeup shoppers."

NYX partnered with Olapic, which has built the software extension by using open APIs provided by the retailer's existing Demandware eCommerce platform. The user generated images, which are currently in two of NYX's US stores, are analysed by Olapic's machine learning algorithms to asses which photo will make the most effective advertising. The algorithms search out the best photos based on quality, such as lighting, and ranks them for the retailer to choose from. The images which lead to conversions in store are then flagged as effective and fed back into the system to be reused by the technology platform.

The Olapic platform also provides a way for NYX to contact the owners of the images via social media to ask permission to be used by the retailer.

Mehdi said NYX chose Demandware and Olapic because they were both "natural partners to provide the backbone" of the platform.

"NYX Cosmetics was the first beauty brand to adopt Olapic as a social curation tool for our eCommerce website, and over time we’ve built a large database of content that is engaging for the consumer," he explained. "Over the years, Olapic has proven to be a strong partner that has always been eager and willing to explore creative new ways to deliver socially curated content. Last year, we overhauled our integration for our website, and found the Demandware team to be just as eager to work with us to develop novel implementations on their platform. When the time came to adopt this content for the NYX Cosmetics free standing stores, we knew both Olapic and Demandware would be perfect partners to bridge the gap between digital and retail. I’d also like to give credit to our partners at the IPG Media Lab, who helped develop all of the software and bring it to life in our stores. These three partners were crucial in bringing our vision to life."

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Demandware

Olapic