At its annual salesforce meeting, which kicks off Monday in Dallas, Mary Kay Inc. will unveil a new, custom sales app, the result of a multi-year partnership with Dallas-based app development company Bottle Rocket.
The technology went live earlier this month, and company officials told DSN that early adoption of the app has exceeded expectations. On launch day the beauty company sent text notifications to consultants at the National Sales Director and Sales Director levels, alerting them to the availability of the app, Mary Kay my Customers+. Within the first week, Mary Kay was halfway to its Oct. 1 goal for subscribers, who pay $4.99 a month to use the app. The company reports 5,100 subscribers to date.
Though not Mary Kay’s only app, myCustomers+ is the company’s most hardworking. A cross-departmental team set out to design a tool that enables the consultant to run a business from the palm of her hand. “We were looking for a customized solution for our salesforce,” said Jill Wedding, Mary Kay Director, Consultant Marketing. “They do so much every day in the field, and we wanted to make it something that allows them to easily track their inventory in real time and simplify how they run a Mary Kay business.”
One of the app’s primary features is the point of sale, where, rather than filling out a paper sales ticket, the consultant can pull up the customer’s profile and place a new order. Using a scanning tool, she can scan any product to automatically add it to the order. The scanning feature also assists in managing inventory, another focus of the app. When a consultant receives a new shipment, a scan of the Mary Kay shipping label instantly updates her inventory. The consultant is also notified when inventory levels fall below her set minimum.
Additional features support the daily activities of building a business. Consultants who have been with Mary Kay for any amount of time will recognize “My 6 Things,” a task list that appears on the screen in interactive bubbles. The list is based on a practice taught by Mary Kay Ash, the company’s founder, who trained consultants to make a daily “6 Most Important Things to Do” list. A tagging tool in the app allows the consultant to target designated groups of customers. She also receives a notification when a customer makes an order on her personal Mary Kay website or has an anniversary or birthday.
Despite the app’s numerous capabilities, Mary Kay wanted to provide a tool that anyone—tech savvy or not—could navigate with ease. That was the impetus behind what the team calls the “magic button,” a fixed button at the bottom of the screen that, depending upon what page is open, will automatically pull up the functionality most commonly associated with that page. “We wanted an app so easy to use that no matter who you are, when you open it up, it is intuitive and you can figure out where to find things and how to do things,” said Hope Elston, Manager of Digital Tools Consultant Marketing at Mary Kay.
Taking myCustomers+ from ideation to launch was a process of about three and a half years—or many lifetimes in technology years. According to Wedding, the team at Bottle Rocket transitioned fluidly whenever advances in technology added layers of complexity to the project. David Holl, President and CEO of Mary Kay, has called Bottle Rocket one of the best vendors ever to work with the beauty company. The app developer, which counts Coca-Cola, Disney and Vogue among its clients, pulled together a designated team of employees to collaborate with Mary Kay for the duration of the project.
The official launch of myCustomers+ will take place from July 24–Aug. 6, when 30,000 Mary Kay consultants converge upon Dallas for Seminar, the company’s annual salesforce training and recognition event. The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that Seminar 2016, which will take place in four waves, will pump close to $35 million into the local economy and support 2,000 jobs in the area. Mary Kay plans to promote myCustomers+ throughout the event with special expo areas, social media promotions and giveaways, and giant iTab touchscreens featuring the technology.