The idea of virtual reality was introduced in Part 1 with L’Oreals App, Make up Genius.
Working from an algorithm to capture 64 points on the consumers face and scanning your own features, you can then browse a catalogue of products and digitally try them on before making a purchase.(1)
Consumers can then also use the app in store by scanning the products bar codes, once scanned the product can then be superimposed and tested in the virtual mirror to help the decision-making process while avoiding the use of in-store testers. This technology is hugely popular, and drastically creeping to the forefront of the advances in technology, with Make up Genius receiving 1.4 million downloads.
Augmented Reality: The rise of the ‘Magic Mirror’
Augmented reality is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image of a user’s view of the real-world environment, all supplied by sensory data i.e. sound, video, GPS data and graphics. The virtual magic mirror, a form of augmented reality has crept in to enhance the in-store customer experience, Charlotte Tilbury being one of them. One of the most sought after brands, the brand awareness has a strong digital influence from its beauty tutorials to new experimental technologies that are available. Charlotte Tillbury has now gone a step further to create a spin-off for the “Snow White-esque” ‘Magic mirrors’ in-store.
Using augmented reality technology, the customer is able to try on an endless number of products and analyse the perfectly blended makeup for them. By not replacing the in-store experience, Charlotte Tilbury has expertly allow the physical and digital worlds to harmonise with each other, maximising the customer experience of the brand. This ‘Magic Mirror’ serves as an enormous selling opportunity for the brand, simplifying if not eradicating the decision-making process with the assistance of in-house sales and beauty experts to combine a luxury brand experience.
Panasonic has taken this ‘Magic Mirror’ a step further, incorporating skin analysis. As well as analysing dryness and sun damage, the technology goes a step further by being able to detect “potential” age spots. Through analysing the needs of your skin, you are able to print tailored patches of makeup. To sample this, simple press the sheet against your skin, wetting it in a similar procedure to a temporary tattoo, and then wait for the Panasonic mirror to print perfectly matched makeup tailored to you. This will have further implications for consumers’ purchasing decisions and habits, creating new rules for beauty players to play with. (2)
With virtual reality in its infancy, beauty brands are only beginning to take the plunge, such as Matrix and Charlotte Tilbury after the success of her AR methods.
Matrix, a hair-care brand under L’Oreal, has used technology for training purposes. Part of their ‘Matrix Academy’, an educational programme, includes access to their video library designed to demonstrate a particular hairstyle with their VR training programme featuring a single stylist and client. Wearing VR headsets, the students can assume the stylists role, watching the technique or process that is being taught at all angles. This set up in the beauty industry, could allow one make-up artist to train 600 students at one time.
Charlotte Tilbury were the first of its kind to use virtual reality to advertise a product; a new perfume. They wanted a revolutionary, “new virtual reality experience that could bring to life the magic and power of the Scent of a Dream”, in a multisensory capacity. The video allows the customer to embark on a trip to outer space, exploring the galaxy with Kate Moss, while she’s surrounded by perfume bottles moonlighting as flying saucers. The video was a resounding success, resulting in hundreds of people queuing outside Selfridges in London for the unveiling of the new fragrance, as well as 1 million views on Instagram.
This technology also extends further than brands with dermatologists offering client transformations being able to effectively illustrate the transformation that a client may undergo. Through the use of VR, they can show exactly what would happen to the client, the procedure, how it will be carried out and the outcome.
Overall, augmented and virtual reality are both in their infancy but beauty brands are embracing the development to change the way consumers interact with their products. Both technologies are proving useful in business as training tools, as well as sharing compelling content with consumers to enhance experience and increase conversion. However, with slight disadvantages in the investment in technology and space needed to perform such innovations, it may be some time before beauty brands are able to make the most of virtual and augmented technological innovations.
So what is next for the beauty industry in this technology era? Catch part 3 for an insight into the future for beauty brands.