The use of augmented reality (AR) technology in the beauty industry is becoming increasingly commonplace. Whether it is utilized in a brick-and-mortar store or via a smartphone app in the comfort of their home, consumers are becoming more inclined to the idea of virtually trying on cosmetic products before they purchase—or even see the product in person.
Recently, Estèe Lauder partnered with YouCam Makeup to help promote its new Pure Color Love Lipstick line in the UK at Selfridges beauty counters and the Estèe Edit Carnaby Street store. We caught up with both Alice H. Chang, CEO of Perfect Corp.--YouCam Makeup’s parent company--and a spokesperson from Estèe Lauder to find out more about why brands and physical retailers are leveraging this technology and how marketers can take advantage of AR beauty looks.
Global Cosmetic Industry: The partnership between the two companies marries the physical retail and digital spaces to create a more experiential retail platform. What does that signal about the way brands and physical retailers are leveraging tech?
Alice H. Chang: Brands and retailers are investing heavily in omnichannel solutions…because they complement the reasons people visit physical stores to shop, namely facilitating product discovery and selection before customers touch and feel the products.
[Beauty AR] connects the customer’s in-store experience back online through the mobile app, where she can continue to explore products, try them out virtually and engage with the brand. Combined with Big Data collected from customer trials, YouCam shows products preferences and trends in real-time so brands can better understand their customers…it can help foster long-term customer relationships in a more authentic and meaningful way.
Beauty AR is a tool that allows marketers to deliver content to consumers in a fun and interactive format, unlike a static advertisement.
Global Cosmetic Industry: The millennial generation is especially tech-savvy and constantly on or near their smartphones, making them the obvious target demographic for this partnership. Apart from the on-hand beauty advisors, how do you plan on reaching an older demographic and encourage them to participate in virtual makeovers?
Alice H. Chang: YouCam Makeup’s beauty is designed to be used by all age groups with no learning curve. With the touch of a button, makeup products are already on your face just like a magic mirror. Thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, trying out products virtually on your mobile is now even simpler than trying products in person.
Global Cosmetic Industry: In addition to sharing virtual makeover looks and hosting competitions, how can marketers take advantage of the augmented reality looks and social media?
Alice H. Chang: Beauty AR is a tool that allows marketers to deliver content to consumers in a fun and interactive format, unlike a static advertisement…Brands can easily segment users and recommend products for that specific customer to try on their own face. By harnessing digital tools like this, a marketer can use YouCam’s complete AR shopping experience to empower consumers to feel more confident at every step of their discovery and purchase journey.
"Digitalization has changed how the consumer seeks information and makes purchases and her journey is now at the forefront of every brand that has an e-commerce platform."
Global Cosmetic Industry: Why did you feel it was your turn to get in on the augmented reality action and partner with YouCam Makeup?
Estée Lauder: Digitalization has changed how the consumer seeks information and makes purchases and her journey is now at the forefront of every brand that has an e-commerce platform…Being innovative and disruptive leaders in the digital industry is key for us.
The partnership with YouCam Makeup has allowed us to attract a totally new audience to the brand which we’ve already seen in the results….it’s opening a new chapter in Estée Lauder’s evolution as a digital-first brand.
Global Cosmetic Industry: The current partnership focuses on the launch of Estée Lauder’s new Pure Color LOVE lipstick, will other cosmetics from the company––eyeshadows, foundations, brow products, blush or contouring—be featured eventually? Will the new YouCam live stream feature be utilized?
Estée Lauder: This is our first partnership with YouCam in the UK and the results we have seen so far are fantastic. We know it is resonating with the consumer in terms of her experience and translating to sales so we are currently exploring what’s next.
Global Cosmetic Industry: It’s noteworthy that this is being launched in the UK. What is the UK consumer's experience with magic mirrors and other tech? As familiar as in Asia or the US?
Estée Lauder: The UK is considered as one of the most digitally developed markets globally…Our consumers are digitally savvy and hungry to explore augmented retail solutions…Asia is certainly the most developed market for digital solutions, but the UK has a unique strength regarding its department store business. That’s why we can bring omnichannel solutions like augmented reality and retail together.