L’Oréal’s Essie launches new grab-and-go nail polish kiosks

Ladies, you’ve been there before: You’ve just managed to get to the airport with barely enough time to catch a flight for your business trip, only to realize that you forgot to get a manicure. Fret not — L’Oréal’s got your nails covered, literally. Today the beauty brand is unveiling self-service digital beauty kiosks for its Essie nail polish line at airports and malls across the country.

“The evolving landscape of retail is constantly shaping the way we connect with our customers, and in the time-crunched world we live in, it’s important to find new ways to reach the on-the-go shopper,” Sam Cheow, VP of trends and “reverse innovation” at L’Oréal, said. He also said that these boutiques allowed the brand to not only maintain a base with loyal customers but also connect with new customers at these unexpected locations.

These Essie Color Boutiques, designed for the average busy customer on the go, were soft-launched at the Oakland International Airport, the JetBlue terminal of New York’s JFK Airport, the Oaks Shopping Shopping Center in Thousand Oaks and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport before the announcement today. Four more kiosks are set to open in major airports and premier malls across the country this month, and 12 more by fall.

Essie Color Boutique 1

The kiosks — essentially nail polish vending machines — feature sleek digital touchscreens and come equipped with a streamlined user interface, which guide customers through product options that are priced at retail value. They offer an assortment of 48 shades of nail polish, and will be updated quarterly. Users can also choose from among eight curated nail art looks, which link to a “how to” application guide as well.

The feedback on social media has been positive, with customers tweeting pictures over the past few days and being pleasantly surprised. There is also an accompanying hashtag accompanying the boutiques, #essietogo, which Essie is using to allow customers to follow the boutiques. “While sales metrics are a good barometer for success, consumer insights and feedback are of pivotal importance to L’Oréal’s business. We encourage consumers to share their experiences with the Essie color boutique on social media,” Cheow said.

The color boutiques were created in partnership with ZoomSystems, a specialist in automated retail, which seems to be drawing on the success of a similar campaign it did for Benefit Cosmetics last fall.  It developed standalone beauty retail kiosks for Benefit called “Glam Up & Away,” that were installed across several airports across the U.S., and even won a CLIO in the Transit category this May.

“We are thrilled to be joining forces with Essie in building a new distribution channel for their Essie brand of products throughout the United States,” Jack Lawrence, CEO of ZoomSystems, said.