(Updated on April 5th, 2022)
While digital innovation has been at the forefront of advancements in the retail industry, there is no doubt that digital transformation and the adoption of digital-first business strategies are accelerating in the current world. Knowing and understanding what customers want and fulfilling their needs is at the center of every successful business. Under the current circumstances, we're shifting towards safe, contactless shopping experiences and AI and AR technologies can not only achieve that but are also capable of re-shaping the whole consumer-shopping journey.
Read on to see brand story examples on how Ulta, Clinique, Madison Reed, Benefit and Sally Hansen are adapting their digital-first action plans to deliver the content and support their customers demand.
Reimagine the Shopping Journey With Leading Beauty Brands
During the Perfect Corp.’s Global Beauty Tech Forum in 2020, Julee Wilson, Beauty Director at Cosmopolitan, moderated a panel with three leading beauty brands and retailers to discover the unique ways they are innovating and rethinking the consumer experience—online and offline—to meet the challenges of the moment. Joined by panelists Joe Rago, Director of Digital Innovation at Ulta Beauty; Jennifer Brant-Gargan, Vice President, Global Technology Lead at Clinique; and Tyler Wozny, Senior Vice President Digital at Madison Reed, Wilson delivered the latest and most impactful beauty tech solutions across these three pioneering brands.
Full replay of the Global Beauty Tech Forum panel discussion. Check out our YouTube channel for more >
Brand Story Example 1: Ulta's Virtual Try-On Enhances the Customer Journey
"The retail landscape was changing very quickly in the pre-COVID world, and COVID definitely accelerated everything from a digital perspective, months, if not years, ahead of time," says Rago.
For Ulta Beauty, major digital changes have included in-store virtual activations, virtual try-on, and on-demand video consultations. With store closures in March and April, Ulta Beauty shoppers opted to shop via digital channels online and mobile. Store re-openings throughout the year challenged the beauty retailer to implement necessary in-store changes to provide a safer, contactless in-store shopping experience. This meant eliminating tester products and introducing virtual try-on experiences in-store to better serve customers today.
▲Virtual eyebrow, virtual eye lashes, and virtual hair color try-on in 'ULTA Beauty' app.
In order to best leverage an omnichannel approach, Rago shared the unique ways Ulta re-imagined the shopper experience by incorporating QR code scanning in-store, adding skin analysis features, and Ulta offers virtual makeup consultation to boost customers' comfort in their online purchases.
The virtual try-on option also allowed Ulta to expand its brand partnerships, and the company launched takeover days with beauty advisors and experts who provided skilled product recommendations to users. This integrated and end-to-end customer journey allows the brand to continue to engage the customers digitally despite the pandemic-caused changes. Ulta’s virtual try on also further personalizes the brand's shopping experience, and adds high-touch experiences into Ulta's digital offerings.
Brand Story Example 2: Madison Reed Adopts AR Hair Color Try On
As a direct-to-consumer brand, Madison Reed has been an early-adopter of the virtual try-on experience.
"One of our biggest hurdles is confidence—hair color is a hard product to buy online, there's so many factors— so if we can reduce that fear and drive that confidence through live try-on, we do it," says Wozny.
▲Madison Reed launched a live hair virtual try on experience on the official website as a beauty marketing approach to meet customer needs.
Madison Reed has been transforming at-home hair color, and with salon closings throughout the country, many customers were opting for the opportunity to dye their hair at home. For Wozny and the team, this meant new first-time clients, and many of which were using the built-in AR technologies on Madison Reed's website for a hair virtual try on experience to make more confident purchase decisions.
Throughout the year, Madison Reed has seen an impressive 38% increase in conversion thanks to the incorporation of the AR powered hair virtual try on services. The brand's color crew agents and customers alike have both used the feature to help choose the best hair color for clients and themselves.
Brand Story Example 3: See How Clinique’s Virtual Try-on Meets Demands of Modern Consumers
With 50 years of science and customer loyalty, Clinique has been a pioneer and a master in using technology to better serve its users.
"We have been so laser-focused on what our consumer needs up to that point, that we're already playing in this space," says Brant-Gargan. "We know that everything's moved to digital, everything's on-demand, people are at home and they want things at their fingertips."
▲Brand Story Example: AI Smart Foundation Finder experience from Clinique
The skincare, cosmetics, and fragrance giant has made it a priority to meet the customer where she is, both in-store, online, and especially across social media. Through its Foundation Finder tool, Clinique helps consumers find their perfect shade match with the skin color analysis result, and instantaneously reveals the recommended colors. The built-in virtual try-on feature then lets a user see how the shade looks on their skin, and even offers further options to test out other products. In perfecting the virtual skin color analysis, foundation matching science, and lip color try-on, Clinique has delivered the at-home digital try-on experience the consumer needs to feel confident browsing and shopping at home.
Watch the full webinar video here.
Brand Story Example 4: Benefit's Eyebrow Try-On
Benefit Cosmetics has been solving brow dilemmas since 1976. With its avant-garde approach, Benefit Cosmetics was early to see the potential of augmented reality (AR) to help its customers experience the different ways they could shape their eyebrows—using a no-touch, browser-based experience.
The Brow Try-On experience has proven popular with Benefit Cosmetics users. The experience is so captivating that the company has found that customers spend 101% more time on their website, and Benefit also finds that customers using Brow Try-On make more add-to-cart purchases.
Brand Story Example 5: Sally Hansen's Virtual Nail Polish Try-On
Sally Hansen, the nail polish brand, partnered with Perfect Corp. to explore new nail polish product try-on possibilities for their customers. With Perfect Corp.'s AgileHand technology, customers will be able to virtually try on various nail polish shades with different textures and find their perfect match in seconds.
“It creates a completely new shopping experience,” says Shanna Weinblatt, Senior Director of Innovation & Beauty Tech at Coty. The results for Sally Hansen were immediate after they launched the AI-powered virtual nail polish try-on. The company found that customers were trying-on an average of 12 shades per session, causing time spent on product pages to increase by more than 100%. It turns out when consumers can try on and play with different nail color shades virtually, engagement skyrockets and sales increase dramatically.
Brand Story Example FAQ
What is an example of a brand story?
Brand stories activate emotions and communicate values. Your brand story is a complete picture of various elements which has to be strong, descriptive and catchy. It’s the way your brand presents itself to the world and the way the public perceives you.
Ulta Virtual Try On FAQ
How does Ulta live try on work?
Ulta Beauty's GLAMlab offers a diverse selection of beauty products for customers to try on, ranging from eye and lip makeup to false eyelashes from various brands. Customers can easily try on their desired products by using mobile devices with cameras before they purchase.
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