Overview \


Challenge from Estée Lauder

How might we use internet-enabled devices to better understand consumers and provide them with high-touch, personalized experiences across digital and in-store channels?


Product Studio at Cornell Tech

3 Months

Product designer


Estée Lauder Advisory Team

Ophelia Ceradini
| VP Digital Innovation & Technology

Laura Rowan
| VP Human Resources Global

Simon Wallis
| Executive Director Application Development 

Erika A.P.
| Digital Technology and Innovation Group

Rolnick Jenna
| Manager Human Resource


Team from Cornell Tech and Parsons


Huimin Hu | Designer

“Make this world a better place to live. ”


Siyu Yao | Developer

“Three people say that they want to use our product.”

Yue Wang | Developer

“Have fun!”


Maria Luisa Garduño | MBA

“Add value to users and the company. ”

0 (1)@3x.png

Yanni Dan | Data Analyst

“Build something practical. ”



This mobile application combines customer online behaviors, geolocations, and store information to help customers try their desired products in a smoother manner without searching and planning. Also, Cosmo is the first instant review platform for first-impression records of consumer buying habits.


Product Studio

Every fall, leading startups, companies, and organizations in NYC pose business challenges to Cornell Tech. In Product Studio, students develop and present new products, services and strategies that respond to those challenges.


Idea Generation


Analyze 2nd Data





Ideas Generation \

MAC Cosmetics 853 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

MAC Cosmetics
853 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

SEPHORA 119 5th Ave, New York, NY 10003

119 5th Ave, New York, NY 10003



Shopping online or offline is never a dilemma. People typically combine both strategies to find their ideal products. Unfortunately, online shopping can be lacking in a satisfying and complete high-touch experience. Even millennials, who are so comfortable with online shopping, want to feel and touch the product they find attractive. 


Macro Level Scope


Surprising Findings

  • Online and in-store channels have different inventory.

  • Most items in the shopping cart and wishing list are forgotten.

  • Many store visitors just drop by, aimlessly looking around to kill time.

  • Everyone reads reviews but no one writes them.

  • People typically trust the opinion of their friends over that of trusted reviews.

  • Vacationers, the most generous buyers, don't understand the labels due to language barriers.




There is a delay between the moment people sit in front of their computers and when they go to the store to test the products. When shoppers aren't actively searching for a product they tend to forget it and never search for it again.


Tata Innovation Center 11 E Loop Rd, New York, NY 10044

Tata Innovation Center
11 E Loop Rd, New York, NY 10044

Sprint 1

After observation and contextual inquiry, we came up with 50 ideas from brainstorming during sprint 1 and narrowed them down to a list of 15. 

Full List
Presentation Deck


(15 approaches)

Museum / Experience Center
Social Media Sharing
Video Enhancer
Photo Wall in Store
Map Game
Context-Diagnose Tool
Smart Mirror
Diary Health /  Loyalty Usage
Location Detection System
Personal Beauty Portfolio
Smart Cosmetics Organizer
Shopping Together Virtually
A Browser Plug-in
Matching -  Personal Shopping Assistant
Ads / Poster / Magazine Scanning Application
Smart Shelf
Travel Shopping
Collective Family /  Friends Program
In-store Reviews for Online Shopping
AR / VR Ingredient Result


Prototyping \


Sprint 2

After assessing business models, technology constraints and design challenge for top 5 approaches, we voted to build a MVP for Location Detection System, COSMO.

Presentation Deck


Main Feature

COSMO gathers and combines data from users’ online shopping behavior, physical location, and store information. Through this we can know what our customers love and can actively notify them if they pass through a store with their desired product in stock.


Diagram and Wireframe



Risk 1:
Does location matter?

Risk 2:
Does personalized suggestion matter?

Risk 3:
Which platforms should our feature live on?


Landing Page
Testing on popularity and privacy concern.

Invision Prototype
Testing on the usability of our UI/UX design

Platform Feasibility
Testing on the feasibility of multiple platforms: WeChat, iOS, etc


Develop \


Sprint 3

Based on the results of the experiments on our three top risks, we pivoted and modified some of the features and design.



Review right after trying the products and get a sample, no matter if you buy it or not.

Instant Review

Shift to younger segment.


Due to data compatibility issues, we still focus on mobile application.


Connect online identity with offline service.

QR code


Final MVP \

As a founder of my own startup, I like to relax myself by browsing online after a long busy day. Last week, I saw a skin creme that I liked and wanted to buy, but it is expensive and I don’t want to spend $395 on one product before I know what it smells like and how it feels.

Sophia added the Estée Lauder’s RE-NUTRIV creme into her shopping cart instead of purchasing it then she closed her laptop and went to bed. Next morning, she forgot about this product and her skin never gets to be treated.



It also reminds her of the great features of RE-NUTRIV. She thinks this is a perfect opportunity for her to try the product on her skin, so she taps Go Test and it opens COSMO. The route to the store shows up on her screen.

When she arrives at the store, a beauty assistant scans her QR code to pull out her profile that has her basic information and shopping list. Based on her profile, the beauty assistant knows what product she wants to test and which products also may fit her needs.


Here is where COSMO comes in


Sophia gets a prompt notification on her phone when she is on her way to the gym after she got off work. It notifies her that there is an Estée Lauder department store only 5 minutes away with the RE-NUTRIV creme in stock.

testing list.png

Home Page

Sophia can come back to the app to pick other products from her shopping list to test in department stores. The app also allows her to review other users’ taps and comments.

I love shopping for cosmetics, but, when it comes to shopping online, I hesitate to place the order especially with the expensive ones.

COSMO tracks my favorite products for me and allows me to test them by walking me to the store without my planning ahead! It saves me time and provides the products that fit my needs.
— Sophia

Instant Review

Sophia gets to try the product in the store, so she knows it fits her skin type, and she loves the smell of the cream as well.

It only takes her less than a minute to tap tags and finish the review for the product then she gets a free sample, leaves the store, and is on her way to the gym.  


Open Studio \



Our team was Invited to present in the Open Studio event to more than 500 professionals. Sakes Fifth Ave showed interest in our product after the presentation.


Takeaway \ 


A builder Mindset
Applying design thinking to innovation process and development helps all disciplines to solve real-world problem. We strive to be a builder!

The best ideas are brought to life when people from different backgrounds come together to support and inspire each other. As a team player, we should take ownership.

Retail industry is evolving!


Other Design Work