What is the role of Augmented Reality in engaging the cosmetic customer? What role does Augmented Reality play in creating a positive product experience in cosmetics?

Augmented reality is progressively gaining more and more importance within the cosmetics industry.

Among the forerunners we have great brands that have embraced digital innovation such as L’Oréal Paris and Sephora.
Alongside the big brands, there are also new outsiders who are gaining market share: this is the case of PerfectCorp, the company that created the well-known Augmented Reality YouCam MakeUp App in 2014.

What is Augmented Reality and why is it so interesting for the cosmetics industry?

Augmented Reality (A.R.) is a virtual reality technique, through which information is added to the real life scene.

For this reason Augmented Reality can add additional information to everyday elements, such as – to give an example – a mirror.

Let’s imagine this Example: we are away from home and we don’t have our mirror with us for cosmetic use. We can open the front camera of our Smartphone and use it as a mirror.

This is a basic and very do-it-yourself scenario.
With augmented reality based apps we can add valuable information for the cosmetic customer as you can see in this video from the YouCam MakeUp app.

The effectiveness of these apps – as shown in this video – is evident.

And for this reason there is a growing interest in Augmented Reality and more generally in this category of applications related to Digital Innovation for Strategic Marketing in the cosmetics industry.

The reason for this interest is not only because they want to be perceived as pioneers of digital innovation, but above all because these technologies allow to:

  • increase the cosmetic user experience
  • understand and profile their preferences
  • create a totally personalized offer (OneToOne Marketing)

Examples of Augmented Reality Applications related to eCommerce and cosmetic retail.

Augmented reality applications create a highly articulated relationship with the cosmetic retailer.

In my book “I social nella cosmesi (Italian Edition only)” I wrote a whole chapter about these new forms of communication with a huge role of application (and also A.R. application) and I named them “Product Media”.

These new types of media I decided to call them Product Media because these Apps actually work as Media Channels with the peculiar feature of being totally customized to the needs of the end user.

Youcam MakeUp App – The Catalogue App

Youcam MakeUp App, based on Augmented Reality

The Youcam MakeUp App – available on Android and iPhone – is the industry’s first app, launched in 2014.

It has over 100 million downloads and 60 million active users, including an integration with the WeChat app that is used extensively in China.

Originally created to create Virtual Selfie with your Smartphone, the app has transformed its approach into a link between:

  • Product Testing via Augmented Reality
  • Links to eCommerce sites
  • Links to PHYSICAL STORES (Retail Shop)

Its catalogue includes products and tools from over 200 top beauty brands including (L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, etc.).

These apps are very famous in the world of Millennials and Post Millennials.

The fact that brands like L’Oréal decide to use these apps as if they were social channels is emblematic.

In fact, these apps are transformed into a new media (technically it’s a Paid Media) on which to make promotional campaigns to increase their branding and sales.

Get The Look, Rimmel’s app

Get the look - Rimmel Augmented Reality App

Like the look of your friend, a model or a celebrity? Capture it and try it now thanks to Rimmel London’s revolutionary app, Get The Look! You’ ll be able to experience augmented reality in 3D and try out your favorite look on your face.

With this claim Rimmel London explains the function of his App Get The Look. Based on augmented reality, it allows the millennials to:

  1. photograph the face of a celebrity or an influencer or a friend.
  2. Superimpose your own face in semi-transparency
  3. Try Rimmel products to get closer to the effect you want to achieve.

Get The Look is thus a Semi Mirror, a semi-transparent mirror that allows you to:

  • Inspire yourself to people who appreciate you (friends, influencers, celebrities)
  • Approaching their way of being
  • Use Rimmel products

Sephora – Buy Makeup, Cosmetics, Hair & Skincare (Sephora USA)

Sephora USA App based on Augmented Reality

This App on Augmented Reality (and not only) allows a strong integration between:

  • App as a moment of user experience
  • eCommerce for an App purchase

As a result it has a strong #Onlife integration with the physical stores of the Sephora Store network.

By using the App the consumer can try their own makeup (in a similar way to the previous ones) and discover the best of the shopping experience on beauty, skin care, perfumes and other products in the catalogue.

The app allows through augmented reality to make a digital makeover, to find and try the latest styles and trends.

With the help of Virtual Artist, the app provides professional and makeup advice tailored to the style of each user.

Virtual MakeUp through App allows you to find foundation, palette, lipstick and more in a way that fits your personal styles, enriching each user profile with valuable information (Customer Persona).

This user experience is conveyed to two channels:

  • The Online Shopping channel
  • The Physical Shopping Channel

Benefits of Augmented Reality for consumers

The role of Augmented Reality and Digital Innovation in Cosmetics

From these examples it is evident that with augmented reality a cosmetic consumer is able to have a product experience emancipating from Space, Time, Product Presence:

  • Augmented reality allows the cosmetic user to try products in spaces even outside the point of sale.
  • As a resultAugmented reality allows the cosmetic user to try products that are different from the canonical ones.
  • For this reason Augmented reality allows the cosmetic user to try products in a “virtual” way before buying products in a real way.

As a result Technology makes it possible to interconnect people who would never be in contact without it.

For cosmetic companies, we:

  • Have invaluable information about the user’s wishes (Persona)
  • Are able to drive with incentives the user on the point of sale
  • Can provide an Ubiquitous User Experience

We are able to provide an Ubiquitous User Experience (if you are interested in learning more I wrote a post about the user experience in cosmetics), a total and enveloping, almost holistic user experience that allows us to create an in-depth user profile (If you want to know more I suggest you read the post about Persona)