How AR Improves the Creative Playbook of the Beauty Industry

How AR Improves the Creative Playbook of the Beauty Industry
How AR Improves the Creative Playbook of the Beauty Industry
Photo by Roberto Delgado Webb

Having spent a great deal of time recently researching the beauty industry for a client pitch, I was struck by the many ways this vertical is embracing one of my other interests — augmented reality.

Augmented reality (AR) marketing integrates digital data into the consumer’s real-time environment. Unlike virtual reality, which typically requires bulky headsets, AR is accessible using a mobile or tablet device’s camera. Augmented reality marketing superimposes digital images on the real-time reality in that particular space.

AR Beauty Examples

Brands such as Benefit , Estée Lauder , Nyx , bareMinerals , and Sephora have launched virtual try-on apps . L’Oreal is also making a big bet on AR. In March it announced its acquisition of Modiface, a company already creating a customized AR beauty app for Sephora and Estee Lauder.

The French beauty giant has also teamed up with Facebook to scale up its efforts. L’Oreal is using AR to let users virtually try on its NYX cosmetics on their phones and iPads before buying. It’s FaceTime style ap gives customers the additional opportunity to connect with beauty professionals who offer advice and styling tips via a face-to-face call made within the NYX app.

Rival beauty company Coty has similarly invested in Snapchat’s AR to unveil its own mirror. In a Paris boutique, users can virtually try on lipstick they physically pick up in store by standing in front of the giant selfie-style camera and seeing how their lip color changes. Users are also able to take a picture and print or email it to themselves.

In addition to superimposing makeup on the face, other beauty companies are using face detection and AR to analyze the skin or hair.

WWD predicts real-time beauty contextualization using artificial intelligence and AR will soon be everywhere. Based on the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show , we’ll soon see smart mirrors in retail, airports, and hotel rooms which can take into consideration not only your face or complexion but also sunlight, weather, fashion, makeup and other trends. These mirrors will also allow users to virtually change their hair color and pair their looks with clothing and accessories.

What AR adds to Beauty Industry Marketing

Appeal to a new generation of buyers.The millennial buyer is a digital one often seeking out makeup advice online. Poshly found that 65% of millennials would rather listen to their favorite YouTuber than an in-store beauty advisor.

Thus, making products available using AR is an effective way to engage these consumers in experimenting with the products. After all, they can easily try on the entire shelf of eye shadows in front of them without once having to wipe off anything off their eyelids.

Plus, the users of the AR apps are more likely to spend. For example, according to a 2017 Intage study , users of the YouCam Makeup app are 1.6 times more likely to purchase cosmetic products compared to those who don’t, and are likely to spend 2.7 times more money on beauty products.

Add experiences to the brick-and-mortar store.Many industries are seeing more and more sales move to online, but beauty remains one of the outliers. People want to try before they buy and AR mirrors make this even easier. Integrating AR technology in-store creates a new immediacy for buyers. Winky Lux, for instance, has an immersive pop-up experience in its Soho neighborhood store, but another element it could have added to its “completely transportive rooms” would have been AR contextualization of the products.

A new level of personalization.The new AI and AR integrations can help personalize the customers’ experience. From Neutrogena’s SkinScanner telling someone that their face could use moisturizer to Henkel’s Schwarzkopf Hair Analyzer suggesting someone condition their hair, personalized recommendation will soon become expected by the customer. Of course, with all this personalization, the brands will recommend products from their portfolio. There seems to be an opportunity for retailers to step in and offer recommendations, so customer feels they are being recommended the best product and not just what a particular brand wants to sell.

For beauty brand marketers, AR technology can help sell product. At the same time, they are gathering more customer data about favorite products, buying trends, and more. With augmented reality becoming an easier technology for brands to experiment with, we can expect to see even more beauty industry players finding innovative ways to add an AR element to their digital campaigns.

About Jeff

I’m a color commentator trapped in the body of a marketing strategist. So, while the marketing guy consults; the color commentator writes these articles. You can connect with me on Linkedin .