Technology is now an integral part of our lives, augmented reality and virtual reality experiences are becoming increasingly popular in the beauty industry as well, permanently changing the online shopping landscape for the beauty sector. The aim is to personalize the offer, to listen more and more to a demanding consumer, to collect useful data for the development of future products.
This is why we are increasingly talking about beauty technology. At the annual event of the Consumer Technology Associations, the importance of AR & VR technologies in personalized beauty emerged. Several innovative technologies for the beauty sector were highlighted. Who would have thought that in 2022 new technologies would allow consumers to watch and take part in the production of their own lipstick?
How is the consumer experience changing with AR in the beauty industry?
Thanks to augmented & virtual reality in the beauty industry, customers can virtually experience products on their face, thus minimising returns. They will know exactly what they are buying and how the product will perform on their skin, reducing the chances of dissatisfaction. They will be happier and in addition to increasing sales, AR can also help brands measure the interest and popularity of a particular product. Because of these numerous benefits and advantages, the adoption of these technologies by beauty brands has increased by 32%, with the aim of going beyond the physical experience customers have in shop.
Although physical stores account for an important part of sales, virtual channels are increasingly a reality to be converted to. The beauty experiences that customers can enjoy through augmented reality are only the beginning of an increasingly tech-savvy beauty world. Even before the pandemic, people were increasingly concerned about testers as a hygiene issue. As global health concerns surrounding the pandemic increase, physical testers are rapidly being replaced by hyper-realistic digital testing experiences.
As early as 2020, some brands, such as MAC and Sephora, took their first steps towards artificial intelligence by installing it within their shops. For example, “magic mirrors” have been introduced: consumers can see themselves in digital mirrors with their chosen cosmetics. The user, after taking a lipstick from a box placed right in front of the mirror, can see herself with the chosen product on her lips or customers can experiment and see themselves with multiple looks and combinations of cosmetics.
Augmented Packaging, Mixed Reality Tour and Virtual Try-on: what are they?
AR & VR in the beauty industry are being used in projects experimenting with new ways of communicating the product to the end user, such as Augmented Packaging, Mixed Reality Tours and Virtual Try-on. Augmented Packaging is the container that, thanks to augmented reality, becomes a link between consumer and brand. Through virtual reality it is possible to bring customers into the company without the need for them to travel.
The impossibility of trying out a physical experience in-store will be increasingly compensated for by company websites with strong storytelling, detailed product descriptions, illustrations that evoke the texture and sensory side of the product, and having make-up and hair coloring tried out virtually. Solutions that will have to become more refined and precise to gain the trust of those who want to buy.
Virtual reality and artificial intelligence will be the new keywords of the cosmetics of the future. The goal for brands is to establish a loyal relationship with customers. For this reason, the virtual entertainment experience given to users seeks to encourage a kind of escape from the classic way of perceiving beauty.
The various proposals from brands are endless to exploit the maximum potential of AR & VR, such as the ‘Virtual Try-On‘, an advanced version of the old APPs that allowed beauty products to be tested virtually. It has been launched in recent months by L’Oréal Paris, Maybelline, NYX Professional Makeup and MAC Cosmetics, some of the world’s best-selling make-up brands.
With the virtual try-on, the customer can wear new shades and products live to see the effect on the face in a completely realistic way. The virtual try-on is just a click away from smartphones and tablets or from a computer equipped with a webcam. To make the trials even more realistic, you can use the function that allows you to split the screen into two parts, so that the selected product is only applied to half the face. This makes it even easier to see how your look changes. According to data from an analysis carried out by Pambianco Beauty magazine, the virtual try-on increased user engagement by 80%.
Which are the advantages of AR & VR in the beauty industry?
The advantages of AR & VR in the beauty industry are many:
– It digitizes the experience: a real 3D online fitting of the product anywhere and anytime as if you were in a physical shop.
– Reduces uncertainty: AR removes doubts about the final outcome of the fitting, one of the main barriers to online purchase.
– Increases social engagement: the Virtual Try On in AR can be instantly shared creating a huge explosion of content on social networks.
– Saves time: trying on the product in any location regardless of your location avoids long distance travel and the stress of “fitting” on site.
– Reduces the return rate: Virtual Try On avoids the need for dissatisfied customers to go through long and laborious procedures to return the product.
– Strengthens the relationship between customer and brand: the product “comes to life”, giving it a strong value connotation from the very first moment.
Beauty industry brands that have turned to AR & VR to create memorable experiences
My Beauty Whisper: digital beauty advice for everyone. This idea took shape in the first year of the pandemic and in October 2020 My Beauty Whisper was launched: the innovative app for free personalized beauty advice, accessible to everyone. This project allows users to book their own beauty consultation with a team of experts who will advise them, via chat or call, on the most suitable cosmetics. In addition, the app offers other services such as live streaming with the best professionals or influencers in the sector and make-up, skincare and useful tips classrooms. Many beauty brands have joined the project such as Dior, Elizabeth Arden, Cartier, Elie Saab, Gucci, Biotherm, Olaplex, Aveda and many others.
Charlotte Tilbury’s online shop is launching a new NYX Cosmetics campaign on Snapchat and Triller for the Christmas shopping season, allowing users to enjoy a unique virtual and augmented reality shopping experience. The beauty brand’s debut on Triller, an app that allows users to create short entertainment videos, brings the world of beauty to a new platform. The virtual experience that users can try out on Snapchat immerses them in the world and values of the beauty brand, in a virtual experience where fun is never lacking. Through the internal camera, users can see the make-up created with the new NYX Cosmetics products directly on their face. With the external camera on the other hand, the user is transported to a real digital boutique where he or she can enjoy an A/R shopping experience that allows him or her to purchase products with a simple click.
L’Oréal and Perfect Corporation are collaborating with YouCam Makeup, a beauty app based on augmented reality. This collaboration offers make-up consumers the opportunity to virtually experience L’Oréal brands’ collections, learn about the products and shop through the App or in shops. The collaboration between Perfect Corporation and L’Oréal accelerates the creation of omnichannel services to enhance the consumer experience at every touch point. Virtual make-up, live streaming, augmented reality shopping are key features in a modern beauty journey that integrates online and offline experience.