Beauty brands are turning to Augmented Reality to provide benefits to their customers.
Augmented reality has many applications in the fashion industry, predominantly it has been used to create interactive shop windows or responsive mirrors in-store. Uniqlo, for instance, implemented their so-called ‘magic mirror’ in some stores to help customers choose the ideal colour for their garment. In luxury fashion, Hugo Boss created an augmented reality game for their shop window in London. The jewellery industry has also found practical uses for augmented reality. Boucheron, for instance, created MyBoucheron, which allows customers to preview what a piece of jewellery, could look like on them using their webcam at home.
It’s no surprise that the beauty industry is now turning a hand to AR. Last year, Bobbi Brown launched a print-to-mobile campaign using an app named Blippar that allowed customers to rate and purchase products on the brand’s mobile site when they scanned a campaign image that appeared in print (more about that here). The year before, Maybelline launched a campaign that enabled customers to try on different shades of nail polish virtually using the Blippar app and a photo taken of their hand.
This year, we have seen a lot more innovation within the industry. In collaboration with ModiFace, Sephora have introduced 3D augmented reality mirrors which show customers what different types of makeup will look like on them. ModiFace have also developed an anti-aging augmented reality mirror whose purpose is to show the effect of anti-aging and general skin care creams (more about this here). They also recently launched an app named Beautiful Me, which detects its users’ skin tone and eye colour and recommends products suitable to these (an article about this can be found here). Meanwhile, L’Oréal have also created an augmented reality mirror, but one that can be used anywhere, using just a smartphone – the Makeup Genius app. It also lets customers try out different shades of product.
The entertainment factor in augmented reality is significant, especially in the beauty industry, it allows users to play the “make-over” game without the hassle of smudges. Brands using augmented reality can be confident that it will create considerable press buzz, but whether these measures drive conversions can be questionable. Customers may enjoy using augmented reality, but it remains to be seen whether many of them will buy makeup based purely on a virtual preview.
Note: I wrote this piece for Decoded Fashion in July.