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MAC Cosmetics

Changing the way you engage with MAC both on and offline

And increasing engagement by 200% in the first month



  • Retail & Consumer Goods
  • Luxury


  • Experience Elevation

Get to know MAC Cosmetics


Founded in Toronto in 1984, MAC Cosmetics is the world’s leading professional makeup authority. Sold in over 120 countries around the world, MAC Cosmetics is one of the top three global makeup brands with an annual turnover of $1+ billion, and 500 independent stores.

For many years, the cosmetics industry has been one that relies heavily on physical store experiences and in-store purchases. However, as the world continues to move into more of an online-first mode with most purchases, MAC saw the need for a stronger, more modern omnichannel experience and turned to Valtech for help.

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Putting the customer relationship first

MAC Cosmetics

In a world of connected experiences and dynamic spaces, the relationship with the customer is key. Like a number of brands, MAC wanted to create a new experience for their customers that would not only change the way they interacted with the brand, but that would change the way they tried on and purchased makeup for the foreseeable future.

“MAC has always been a market leader in beauty and artistry, and we are looking to build out an experience that will drive the future of beauty retail, while providing our consumers with the best service that they have come to expect and appreciate from the brand.”

Sonia Anand, Director, Omnichannel Experience

In order to meet these needs, Mac decided to revitalize and demonstrate innovation and cutting-edge retail experiences within their retail stores, starting with an innovative one-off concept store in Queens, NYC. This concept store is a retail lab testing innovations with live consumers and then sharing successful experiences with the rest of the store fleet.

Now, MAC customers have access to a singular experience within the cosmetics industry. Within the concept store, the connected experience begins with the customer checking in via MAC Pass by scanning a personal QR code at one of the stations (Lips, Eyes or Face). MAC Pass builds out an engagement profile (MAC PASS STUDIO) which collects information about consumers’ favourite products and shades, selfies, gifs, etc, and saves the information for the customer to easily access later. The eventual goal is to build out a full consumer profile by connecting any offline engagement with online engagement.

Signing into MAC Pass also allows the interactive try on screens at each station to recognize the customer and allows their preferences to follow them throughout the shopping experience. This innovation makes it easier to keep track of the new lipstick you might have explored at the Lips station and use that information to build out a full look by choosing complimentary products at the Eyes and Face stations. This leads to a truly unique experience in which choices made digitally are effortlessly brought into the real world.

It starts with design

Part of what makes the new MAC Cosmetics omnichannel experience so singular is its UX design. As we always do, Valtech put the end-user first and truly considered what tools they needed not only to get the information MAC wanted them to have at every turn, but also how to make sure that the experience was always fun and entertaining. By prioritizing the entertainment factor of the interface, we ensured customers would keep coming back and would share their experiences with friends.

Virtual try on (VTO)

Through the upgraded Virtual Try On feature, customers can use Augmented Reality to try on a wide range of different MAC products directly from their personal device or at one of the screens in the store. Everything from lipstick to eye shadow can be previewed directly in the app. Customers can then mark their favourites, take selfies and create gifs, and easily share their new virtual look with friends.

Tap and try

MAC Cosmetics

Another fun and unique feature of the concept store is Tap and Try. Making use of our customer RFID technology, Tap and Try allows a customer to VTO a product simply by picking it up. Instead of scrolling through the options on the VTO screen in the app or at one of the stations, simply pickup a product. The technology recognizes the product in the consumer’s hands and instantly try’s on the product on a virtual mirror facing the customer. It’s an instant physical-to-virtual experience that has far reaching possibilities as we move to more intelligent digitally activated product packaging.

“Tap and Try is a beautiful solution that merges our omnichannel and store experience into a digitally driven world. The seamless use of mobile technologies, RFID, augmented reality and data analytics delivers an unparalleled experience to those who visit our store.”

Lou Lionetti, Vice President, Interconnected Retail Technologies, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

MAC Palette Creation

Increasing engagement by 200% in the first month


In the first month, we saw a 200%+ increase in engagement. This is average store engagement with comparable digital tools vs. this store (an average of all the engagement rates at each experience).

The MAC PASS saw the strongest engagement with more than a third of consumers in-store leveraging the capability.

In the centre of the new MAC Cosmetics store, professional makeup artists are more than ready to provide their expertise. This access to professional artists has long been one of the things that sets MAC apart from the competition, and it was crucial that the new concept store not lose that. Instead, through aggregated preferences within MAC PASS STUDIO, Artists are better positioned to serve customers than ever before.

A successful partnership with Microsoft 

The exciting physical-digital experience in Queens NY leverages Microsoft Azure services and has gained the attention of Microsoft Chairman and CEO, Satya Nadella, who mentioned the work during his Inspire Keynote Session. You can watch the session here.

As a managed partner within the Microsoft Partner Network, Valtech brought extensive cloud, augmented reality, and development knowledge to MAC to build a physical digital retailing journey that connects users to the world of MAC in a totally new way. Built completely bespoke and from the ground up atop Azure, the concept store has allowed MAC to quickly test, learn and deploy technologies and services like never before.

Qualitative feedback:

The lip “tap and try” experience has been called the best section of the store due to ease of navigation, clear shade imagery, and connection to Virtual Try On (VTO).

Eye VTO is fun and engaging, so much so that we are amplifying this section with individual eye shade try on (vs. looks).

Custom Printing is a favorite element of the store, with customers loving the ability to make the lip bullet / eye palette their own.

This new experience brings exceptional levels of personalisation. Everything from adding personal touches to the final packaging of purchased products to completely bespoke palettes created from the customer’s favourite colours have been considered in this push to give the user a completely unique cosmetics buying experience. And new features are planned to be rolled out in the near future. MAC is at the forefront of the future of the cosmetics experience and Valtech is proud to partner with them in bringing that future to life.

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