L’Oréal Paris Heads Underground in NYC with Intelligent Vending Machine


L’Oréal Paris has found an unlikely partner in the pursuit of beauty—the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The pair have teamed up to host L’Oréal Paris’ Intelligent Color Experience vending machines inside a New York City subway station that allows any straphanger to stock up on beauty items on-the-go.  

Running in the 42nd Street-Bryant Park station between Nov. 4th and Dec. 30th, the intelligent vending machines actually scan a user’s outfit to detect colors and style, in turn suggesting beauty products that “match or clash.” Users can purchase items with a credit card, or if they choose not to buy on the spot, can email the look to themselves. 

As more brands explore interactive shopping experiences through experiential marketing, L’Oréal’s latest offers a “real-life experience through technology,” Marc Speichert, CMO L’Oréal Americas, told the New York Times. “What’s amazing with the technology is that we’ll have the ability to measure the level of engagement,” he said, based on “the number of people who pass by, the number who interact with each screen, the number who leave their information.”[more]

The machine, which takes over an abandoned newsstand, can be stocked with up to 700 items priced at $5.99 to $9.99. The endeavor isn’t just for L’Oréal’s benefit—the MTA has a lot of empty retail space it’s looking to fill.  If we can find ways to generate revenue from those assets, that’s a good thing for us. If we can add to the passenger experience, that’s a good thing for us. If we can bring new technology into the system, that’s a good thing for us,” said Paul Fleuranges, senior director for corporate and internal communications at the MTA.

Shoppable displays have been trialed by many brands including Peapod’s grocery delivery service, which installed several shoppable displays in Chicago’s rail system and on the sides of its delivery trucks. eBay launched “shoppable windows” this past summer in NYC, offering 30 items from the new Kate Spade Saturday collection through a touch and order system that also looped in eBay Now, enabling purchases to be delivered within an hour via courier. 

Over in Europe, Russian retailer Media Markt rolled out an 18-panel mobile shopping display inside Vystavochnaya station in Moscow that used NFC and QR codes to allow consumers to scan an item on the look-a-like shelves, make the purchase via its mobile site, then choose to have the product delivered free to their home or pick it up from a nearby store.