Augmented Reality (AR) has been making a mark on the beauty and fashion industries for some time now. A brand may be using an impactful technology but that doesn’t always mean that technology is being used well or to its full potential. As AR advances, some brands have kept up with it, either by pushing the technology forward or by waiting for the right moment and the right partner to step in. Brands can now use AR to impact shoppers in-store and at home through smart devices like mirrors, phones, and tablets, allowing shoppers to test products and variations of those products in a way that’s both engaging and hassle-free.
Fashion and beauty are inherently visual, experiential, and personal. Reaching shoppers in a way that fits seamlessly with their expectations and habits is critical. Below we’ve collected five examples of beauty and fashion brands that are using AR powerfully.
Improving Customer Service
A lot of the focus in stories covering AR discusses what the shopper can do, but they miss out on a big area: what brands can do for their shoppers. The Director of Mobility and Secure Payments in the retail solutions division at Intel, Michelle Tinsley, has noted that shoppers only want to go into a dressing room once. If what they brought back with them doesn’t fit or if they don’t like the color, they aren’t going to try again. AR-enabled mirrors positioned in dressing rooms can provide the solution.
Neiman Marcus has deployed the Memomi Mirror, which allows shoppers to record 360° views of what they tried on and to replay it as part of a side-by-side comparison with something else they’ve tried on or with another available color. Future iterations may provide a way to alert customer service representatives that another size, in particular, is needed, allowing them to bring that size without the shopper ever having to leave the dressing room.
Boosting Purchase Confidence
The most important aspect of AR may be giving the customer confidence that what they’re purchasing is exactly what they need. They can see the color, placement, and fit of a product on themselves in real time, even from home. The benefit for them is higher satisfaction with their purchase, and the benefit to the brand is higher conversions with lower return rates.
ModiFace is currently the undisputed leader for AR beauty platforms, and it’s not hard to discover why: sales lift by 31% when a brand deploys an app powered by the ModiFace platform. It’s constantly growing its services to help brands differentiate themselves, including live streaming, personalized tutorials, and Facebook Messenger integration for customer assistance.
While the direct connection to shoppers that AR provides is most important, marketing efforts are also enhanced. Some of the most popular AR applications take place throughout the real world (see: Pokemon Go), and businesses can leverage that to their advantage. Static advertising can come alive to offer something more.
Leading fashion publication, W Magazine, proved this with its Katie Perry cover. By scanning the cover and particular images with the companion app, readers could tap on different places to unlock videos of Perry or other models wearing the latest fashion or discussing top trends.
Brands should consider ad placements that can open up real content and could feature a celebrity showing off a new product on a shopper’s mobile device. That new shade of lipstick stops being an abstract color and starts to mean something much more personal.
Crafting Unique Customer Experiences
Marketing and advertising aren’t the only things that can come alive with the use of AR. The very setting of your products could radically change the customer experience and enhance the way they see and understand products. Scanning items at an event or in-store placements could unlock information and engaging content.
XAd’s augmented fashion show is the perfect example. An audience member using the event’s mobile app on a smart device could see 3D digital effects added to the stage. Some of the effects seen with the app provided additional information about the designed look (e.g., breaking down each item of clothing) and selected models as they walked the runway.
The most important aspect of any technology is the data it provides. Data helps brands fully personalize a shopper’s experience and allows an app to become more useful, especially in conjunction with artificial intelligence. (AR also provides KPIs that are easier to track, ensuring that companies are actually meeting shopper’s needs and seeing the conversions they need from this channel.)
CoverGirl offers BeautyU, which is powered by ModiFace. This provides a simulator to try on makeup, and differentiates itself by thoroughly scanning facial features and shape as well as skin tone to make product recommendations with the data collected. CoverGirl also took this a step further with its Custom Blend app, aimed at providing bespoke foundations formulated specifically to the shopper’s skin tone and needs.
Integrating AR technology can increase your brand’s competitive position and keep you top-of-mind because this effort puts the customer and their needs, wants or desires first. By improving customer service and confidence in their purchases, shoppers will ultimately be happier with their brand experience while shopping for your products.
Crafting unique and memorable messaging and encounters, shapes the impression of the brand as being fun and fashion forward. Most importantly, the data will not only give shoppers a personalized experience, but will give your company the data it needs to track success and continually improve your services and products.