MIAMI, FL: Coty, the beauty products company, believes engaging with consumers on platforms like Facebook Messenger can help brands effectively connect with their target audience on mobile at a time when “the utility of apps is diminishing”.

Fred Gerantabee, Coty’s Global VP/Digital Innovation, discussed this subject during a session at the 2017 Festival of Media Latin America, a conference held by C Squared.

More specifically, he outlined how tools like Facebook Messenger – a chat interface from the social network which boasts more than 1.3bn users worldwide – builds on the learnings already accumulated from social media marketing.

“The platforms are becoming utilities beyond just chat applications,” said Gerantabee. “People are able to order anything. They’re able to have conversations with brands.” (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Coty’s new path to one-to-one digital engagement.)

In this context, customer service can also be provided “in a fraction of the time it normally would through traditional channels,” he added. This is an approach “fortifying the ecosystem that we’ve become accustomed to”.

While Facebook Messenger, Kik, Snapchat and similar offerings have gained popularity with consumers, mobile apps from brands are struggling to break through. “The app market has had a tough time in recent years,” said Gerantabee.

One obstacle is simply getting these tools onto a device in the first place. “It was a huge challenge, and so a lot of your money went to driving downloads, getting continuous exposure, keeping that fire hose on,” he asserted.

That’s not to say that Coty is walking away from its portfolio of apps. But, Gerantabee admitted: “It’s getting harder to keep people on them.” Moreover, he asserted: “People also are expecting experiences to be solution-oriented.”

And Coty’s apps, in fact, “do some great things,” he said. “We have a lot invested in things like colour extractions, virtual ‘try-ons’, where you sample looks from real life and recreate them with a specific set of products.”

But alongside bringing customers to a new place with its mobile apps, the company believes in the importance of “working on places where customers already are,” he said.

The difference, he told the Festival of Media Latin America assembly, is analogous to “trying to build a house and force people to go to it, versus coming to their house”.

“We’d rather spend time building a better [digital] product, creating a much easier path to purchase, than trying to force people to download something.”

Sourced from WARC