As consumer habits evolve and personalized custom service becomes the norm, companies must find new ways to digitally engage their customers. Beauty Tech, the emerging new tech has already helped early-adopting beauty brands grow their sales figures. Many other beauty brands are still exploring beauty tech to find the best practices for maximum return on investment (ROI).
In “Beauty Tech: The Complete Guide 2021,” we will show you all the outstanding examples from industry-leading brands, unveil real world growth figures, and share the secrets to truly unlock the full potential of AR virtual try-on across all scenarios. Keep reading to learn:
- How Beauty Tech started and Why it is Important?
- Brand’s Success with Beauty Tech
- Beauty Tech’s Growth and Evolution
- Doing the Impossible “30 Shades in 30 Seconds”
- Beauty Tech Essentials
- How YouTube and Snapchat Simplify Access to Virtual Try-On Beauty Tech
- Beauty Tech Trends - A Look into the Future
Recommended Reading: If you already read this article, we invite you to check out 'Smart Beauty Mirrors: Virtual Makeup Real-World Applications.'
Tech Enters the World of Beauty
Cosmetics and humans have a very long history. Egyptians, 7,000 years ago, saw beauty as a sign of holiness—and used copper carbonate to create green eyeshade. To the Greek philosopher Plato, beauty was indistinguishable from philosophy. Ancient China pioneered painting fingernails. Tribes in Africa—as elsewhere—have used face paints and other elements of cosmetics to denote affiliation, roles, and status. Across the years, poets, painters, and philosophers have weighed in on the role of beauty in cultures around the world. And virtually everywhere, cosmetics in one form or another—for men and women—have played a role.
A few years ago, ELLE magazine, in a photo essay “21 Portraits of Beauty Around the World” provided a nice definition by the Romanian photographer Mihaela Noroc, who said: “Beauty is everywhere. … We are all beautiful because we are different." It’s only natural that the world of high technology would soon find a role in beauty — especially with tech’s innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR).
How Beauty Tech started and Why it is Important?
One could trace the birth of Beauty Tech back at least to early paint and photoshopping applications, though it really took off with the more recent advent of AI and AR.
“Although beauty tech dates back to the days of boxed computer programs (Cosmopolitan magazine put its name on “virtual makeover software” all the way back in 1998), it’s only recently that big brands have started to invest heavily in the space. The surge in interest has been driven in large part by advances in smartphone technology…” according to a recent article in Built-In magazine. The magazine points to Estée Lauder’s Beauty Tech effort and notes it “partnered with Perfect Corporation, makers of the augmented reality YouCam Makeup app, to launch virtual lipstick testing as well as AR training programs for its in-store beauty advisors.”
Watch the 5 Biggest Beauty Trends in 2021.
The breakthroughs, especially with AR, have been notable. Vogue magazine observes: “Just a few years ago, a virtual try-on feature would have you looking like you’d been made over by a mortician, nowadays the effects can be hyperrealistic.”
Using Beauty Tech to Give Personalization
While it is great fun to leap into the computer science and mathematics powering the algorithms that enable AI and AR, the goal of the best Beauty Tech is all about individuals—giving them tools that may seem to users as being almost magical, all with the goal of providing ultra personalization.
The magazine included this observation: “The modern-day consumer craves personalized products made just for them. This means brands need to know their customers’ unique demands to best serve them across all consumer touchpoints, online and offline,” said Perfect Corp. founder and CEO, Alice Chang. And the article noted: “Her company provides beauty tech software solutions that combine advanced artificial intelligence and augmented reality technology and is best known for apps that create enhanced selfies. This year’s offerings included YouCam Makeup’s hyper-realistic mirror-screen from which users could try on different hair and makeup looks.”
Add a Sense of Fun using Beauty Tech
There is something inherently fun about AR. This is because AR, by its nature, combines the real world with an augmented realm in which the user has control far beyond what might be possible—or at least practical—in the real world.
The sheer fun of AR captivated the world a few years ago with the Pokémon Go craze, which blended game objects with whatever real-world environment a person happened to be strolling through. Suddenly parks were jam-packed with people stumbling around staring at their smartphones, rather on where they were walking—delighted to see a colorful character suddenly sitting in a real tree growing out of the ground. A headline in the New York Times captured it succinctly: “Pokémon Go Brings Augmented Reality to a Mass Audience.”
Within Beauty Tech, Allure magazine captured the sense of fun with this report about using Perfect Corp. technology for brows. “Thanks to Benefit's brow tech, I'll never underestimate the power of brow shape again. This desktop AR app offers 15 brow shapes, 12 shades, and a sliding scale to determine the thickness and arch size. For overpluckers or anyone who just wants to pretend they've had a brow appointment in the past three months, this tool is a godsend.”
Forbes magazine describes AR like this: “When someone talks about AR, they are referring to technology that overlays information and virtual objects on real-world scenes in real-time. It uses the existing environment and adds information to it to make a new artificial environment.” And then Forbes goes on to provide this quite interesting example from watchmaker Rolex: “The company has developed a virtual try-on experience where prospective customers can try out different styles and models.” (The writer includes a video clip of his using the app to see which Rolex might look best on himself. No word on whether he made a purchase.)
The AR technology has already been widely used by consumers within the beauty industry and it helps brands and retailers bring the indispensable try-before-you-buy experience to beauty shoppers. The AR virtual try-on technology has undergone major improvements over the years and now allows beauty brands to enable interactive digital experience across the entire range of color cosmetics products, including lipstick, eye shadow, eyebrow, eyeliner, eyelashes, blush, contour, and foundation.
The hyper-realistic virtual try-on technology even extends to such categories as hair color, color contact lenses, and more, effectively transforming the shoppers’ beauty journey and empowering consumers to make informed purchase decisions.
Brand’s Success with Beauty Tech
In addition to the fun aspects about AR—and perhaps in part because of the fun aspects—technologically advanced AI and AR deliver tangible, measurable results to beauty brands, and help retailers drive their business growth.
The business value of Beauty Tech is real and cannot be overlooked. In fact, the real-world results often surpass expectations, producing exceptional impacts on business across a spectrum of scenarios, both online and offline.
Here’s a look at how some digital-savvy companies have experienced significant uplifts from various applications of beauty technologies:
- Estée Lauder. Estee Lauder saw 2.5 times higher conversion rate with Perfect Corp.-powered Lip Virtual Try-on and found increased customer loyalty from Perfect Corp.’s AI-driven iMatch™ Virtual Shade Expert.
- e.l.f Cosmetics. e.l.f Cosmetics saw a 200% higher conversion rate for online consumers using Perfect Corp.-powered virtual try-on.
- Benefit Cosmetics. Benefit Cosmetics enjoyed both a 101% increase in time-on-site and a 20% increase in add-to-cart using its browser-based customer AR experience powered by Perfect Corp.’s YouCam virtual try-on solution.
- tarte. tarte saw 200% increase in sales for customers experiencing virtual try-on, triple-digit increase in time spent on site, 30% jump in add-to-cart using virtual try-on.
- Marianna Naturals. Skincare brand Marianna Natruals boost website traffic by 300%, dwell time by 330%, and sales by 30%.
- Madison Reed. Madison Reed found a 38% improvement in conversion with hair color virtual try-on and 10X rise in hair color sales, using Perfect Corp. AI-powered AR technology.
- Aveda. Aveda saw a 220% jump in Try-On Tool traffic and a 5X boost in the use of Aveda’s Salon Locator vs. site average, and 14% higher sales from customers who engaged with their Perfect Corp.-powered Virtual Try-On.
- Meredith. Meredith found a 300% boost in engagements with digital ads that offered their Perfect Corp.-powered virtual try-on experience.
- Tmall. Tmall saw up to 8X more sales with makeup AR and average 5X longer stay time from beauty shopper, powered by Perfect Corp. AI and AR.
Market Deployments and Common KPIs for Beauty Tech
There is a rapidly growing trend and desire to engage with customers digitally. As more brands start to offer digital interactions and to enhance the experience through Beauty Tech, innovative beauty technology will become a key element to meet consumer expectations. Driving more sales through the use of Beauty Tech will always be the ultimate goal for brands, however, there are also other important metrics (KPIs) for brands to keep an eye on.Important metrics to monitor include:
- Basket Size, CR (Conversion Rate), and AOV (Average Order Value). Neilsen reported 51% of consumers are willing to use AR to assess products, it shows the “try-before-you-by” experience is now solving real pain points for customers. In fact, e-commerce platform Shopify reported that interactions with products having AR content showed a 94% higher conversion rate than products without AR. Besides chasing sales numbers, Basket Size, CR, and AOV are the three most important metrics to monitor and to optimize for better uplifts.
- Engagements. Beauty Tech delivers useful and interactive content that brings practical value to the beauty shoppers who are engaging with it. As a result, consumers want to engage with such content more and more, eventually converting into a customer. Higher engagements lead to better click-through-rate (CTR), and thus more sales.
- Time-on-Site. When beauty shoppers can try on products virtually, they stay on a site longer. Beauty Tech adds interactive elements to the consumer journey, making the entire experience more attractive, which in turn increases the average time they want to spend there. KAO’s makeup brand KATE reported that users stayed 4.3 times longer on the site that offered a virtual try-on experience compared with the previous campaign site without virtual makeup features.
- New & Returning Traffic. Beauty Tech helps brands and retailers build a vital emotional connection with consumers, which leads to higher brand awareness and loyalty. Customers tend to return to brands they have positive associations with, and Beauty Tech delivers immersive and interactive shopping experiences that create such associations. Moreover, when customers are satisfied with their online shopping experience, chances are that they would come back for more or recommend the brand to their friends,
Product Return Rate. Beauty Tech significantly increases confidence in purchase decisions—effectively lowering return rates. With virtual try-on, customers can directly see how the product looks for them, boosting confidence in making purchases. Beauty consumers who can experience the product virtually tend to avoid common shopping mistakes, leading to lower return rates.
Beauty Tech’s Growth and EvolutionBeauty Tech—especially the realms of AI-powered AR—has proven to be so helpful, and captivating, that it has enjoyed rapid growth and evolution. Moreover, recently the expedited shift to digital beauty behaviors due to the global pandemic, as well as demand for hyper-personalization and lack of physical product samples/in-store makeup & skincare services lead to an increase in virtual try-on usage and beauty tech’s growth. Along the way, Beauty Tech has found some fascinating uses—some expected, others emerging as surprises. Examples include:
- The Birth of Virtual Try-On Communities
- Fulfilling the Role of Makeup Teacher
- Providing Touchless Try-Ons During the Pandemic
- Doing the Impossible “30 Shades in 30 Seconds”
- Protecting Skin from Real-life Try-ons
The Birth of Virtual Try-On Communities
The joys of AR-enabled virtual try-on has given birth to a vast number of online communities in which users share their looks and see what others have done. Vogue refers to the rapid growth of virtual try-on communities as the democratization of beauty. “Social media, particularly Instagram and YouTube, has been widely accredited with the democratization of beauty,” Vogue writes. “The authority once attributed to European fashion houses now lies at the hands of online communities, helmed by the likes of Charles Jeffrey, Jackie Aina, and Nikkie de Jager. In 2018, beauty content generated more than 169 billion views on YouTube. The result is a highly engaged audience, fluent in small-print formulas and who know the difference between a retinol and retinoids.”
These communities offer brands undreamed of opportunities for directly interacting with their customers, gauging which products are most tried, engaging in real-time market testing, and gaining insight into where trends are going. Harnessing all of this requires the use of an AR platform that supports analytics. Used optimally, such platforms can greatly enhance customer loyalty, as well as on-site dwell time and larger cart purchases.
Beauty Tech Helps Girls to Discover Makeup Better
AR virtual try-on experience on an eCommerce site.
Well-crafted virtual try-on sites technology can fulfill the role—or at least augment the role—of makeup teachers for girls (and women of all ages) who want to discover and learn more about beauty and feel they might not have someone knowledgeable to help them.
To an extent this is being done by YouTube videos with AR try-on, makeup videos can be further enhanced with interactivity provided through AR beauty tech. It can provide a great service in teaching people how to do makeup better, in a very personalized manner. AR can help them learn what looks good for them because all of us have our own form and shape, with which to work within achieving our own sense of beauty.
Beauty Tech can bring awareness, provide education, show real-world results with virtual try-ons, and help users make better, more sensible purchases, finding exactly the right products to use.
For the user, there can be a great sense of pride and accomplishment from working with AR to find their own custom look.
“We hear from customers who have been going to the salon for 40 or 50 years, in some cases, and have never colored their hair at home until trying us,” says Tyler Wozny, Senior Vice President, Digital Product at Madison Reed. “There’s a sense of pride that’s wonderful to see. They tell us the whole experience is great from start to finish. And again, our Perfect Corp. AR tool plays a big role in that.”
Providing Touchless Beauty Tech During the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has likely spelled the end for shared makeup samples. Allure puts it this way: “The last time you dabbed a free spooley into a tube of tester mascara may have been the last time. … But even before the storefronts shuttered, augmented reality technology was on the rise in beauty. AR allows for virtual try-on, in which a customer can swipe on a new lipstick shade, hair color, or brow shape via a desktop browser or mobile app.”
AR-powered virtual try-ons eliminate the concern of contaminated samplers—or even needing to venture out of the house to visit a store.
“We feel we are in a powerful position because we already have a touch-free way for our customers to explore our products,” says Emily Dybwad, Director, Global Digital Marketing at Benefit Cosmetics. “Even before COVID-19, customers were reluctant to use samplers. We are now in an environment when consumers will likely be even more vigilant. All of this makes our Brow Try-On an even more welcoming experience for our customers.”
Doing the Impossible “30 Shades in 30 Seconds”
One of the perhaps underappreciated wonders of AR is that it allows users to do what would simply be impossible to do otherwise. Estée Lauder’s first implementation of YouCam virtual try-on solutions offered customers the magic of being able to try “30 Lipstick Shades in 30 Seconds.” Presently, lipstick aficionados can virtually try on every shade in Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Envy lipstick range with the brand’s Virtual Artist Tool. In real life, trying 30 shades in even 30 minutes would be unlikely, as the lips would become too tender from the cycle of applying and then removing lipstick so many times. The same is true for just about any cosmetic—and even more so with something as time-consuming and as difficult to reverse as dying your hair.
“That’s why Punky Hair Studio is so popular on YouCam,” says Marwan Zreik, Vice President at American International Industries. “Customers see exactly how a color will look on them. They can instantly change their hair color from pink to blue to green to red to purple. This allows them to choose the perfect color for their own personal style.”
Protecting Skin from Real-life Try-ons
As noted above about the impossibility of trying on 30 lipstick shades in 30 seconds in real life, AR protects the skin from the damage that might otherwise occur if attempting multiple cycles of applying & removing any form of makeup. Even in a post-COVID world, those who have experienced AR virtual try-ons will likely be reluctant to return to the old school ways of direct applications to make their makeup decisions.
AI-powered Beauty Tech Enables Skin Analysis
Beauty Tech has advanced and evolved beyond just the virtual makeup try-on experience. By incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, Beauty Tech has become smarter and more capable. Using machine learning and deep learning algorithm, Beauty Tech is now applicable to skincare as well.
Recommended Reading: How AI Skin Technology Drives Sales
High-definition cameras combined with AI-powered processing allow consumers to use their own smartphone as a skin diagnostic tool accessible anytime, anywhere. A typical use case is offering an online ‘skin doctor’ experience—accessible 24/7— that can assess one’s skin concerns and grade them professionally in terms of severity in real-time. The AR technology can create multiple layers of overlay images to show the exact location of wrinkles, fine lines, spots, uneven texture, and acne. For the very first time, consumers can receive a precise objective evaluation of their skin condition without visiting the dermatologist.
Similar technologies have also been deployed within retail environments. The advancement of AI Skincare over the past 12 months has been tremendous. Within 2 seconds, consumers can obtain personal diagnostics across a wide range of concerns, including:
- Dark circles
It is utterly important to ensure the diagnostic results are verified by dermatologists and skincare experts. Thus, Perfect Corp. also collaborated with experts in the field to ensure the AI skincare technology can provide accurate, meaningful, and validated results to skincare shoppers.
Thanks to collaborative partnerships with skincare brands like Marianna Naturals, Perfect Corp.’s AI skincare service can be trusted by brands and consumers alike.
Beauty Tech Essentials
Before diving into a closer look at each of the elements that go into Beauty Tech, it’s helpful to get an overview of how it all works together. An article on Medium called “10 Beauty Tech Trends to Watch in 2020” captures the essence of Beauty Tech with this definition: “Beauty try-on apps bring together all the convenience of online shopping with the product knowledge of an in-store consultant. The consumer can easily check which color of eyebrow pencil, lipstick, or even foundation to buy, just by holding their phone camera in front of their face and letting AR technology show them how it looks.” Once a futuristic gimmick, AR & AI beauty tech has become an integral part of the beauty shopping experience for makeup, skincare, and hair brands of all sizes.
Beauty Tech represents a merging of hardware and software. Some companies are creating specific-use hardware devices—such as for analyzing current skin conditions to provide more precise product usage or using handheld inkjet printers to hide blemishes or create masks.
However, the most common hardware element is the ubiquitous smartphone. Either Android or iPhone, it seems everyone has one . . . and model upgrade by model upgrade, their cameras become more precise and their operating systems, and portfolio of apps, become more powerful. Add to that the increasing speed of mobile internet connectivity, and you have a powerful environment in which AR and AI can flourish.
Ideally, Beauty Tech is implemented as an efficient platform in which the software maximizes the potential of the hardware. To quote from Medium again, “We’re sure 2020 will bring us new Beauty Technology that we can’t even imagine yet.” And the same will be true for each year after.The basic framework of Beauty Tech includes:
- Capture an Image. The process begins by capturing an image of the face—either with a dedicated Beauty Tech hardware device, or most commonly, a smartphone.
- Apply AI. The best Beauty Tech solutions incorporate AI to bring greater precision into the virtual try-on experience, and to enable these boundaries to be fluidly identified even as the user turns to see how a virtual try-on looks from different angles—providing a magic mirror experience.
- Launch AR. The AR experience begins as mathematical algorithms are executed behind the scenes to change values—applying different colors to the lips, overlaying foundation, changing brow shapes, trying new hair colors, testing new eye shadow. Precision AR technology is required to achieve the real-world look and feel of an immersive AR experience.
- BIG Data. Big data—and more AI—can be used to further the personalization of Beauty Tech. Big Data and AI can be harnessed, for example, to power a foundation finder application that can better match a person’s skin than the user could. Of course, the user can try whatever foundation they like, but solid AI and Big Data can tap into thousands of skin types to generate optimal suggestions. Data can also be harvested from previous interactions, as an application learns the preferences of individual users—as well as the experimentation that similar users enjoy. For example, Perfect Corp.’s brand partner MAKE UP FOR EVER offers AI-powered foundation shade matching on its e-commerce site, allowing consumers to find their ideal shade in a matter of seconds. This innovative solution offers a safe and secure way to experience the product, facilitating confident purchase decisions.
Useful YardsticksWhen evaluating the effectiveness of Beauty Tech platforms, some useful yardsticks include:
- Facial Tracking. A fully immersive AR experience depends upon faultless facial tracking. Users don’t sit still when working with a virtual try-on. They want to move their head about, just as they would in front of a mirror. The lack of faultless facial tracking can mean that lipstick lags behind when moving from side to side, or that a new hair color gets stuck on the wall when the user moves to see how a new hair color will look from a different angle. An enormous amount of technology goes into real-time facial tracking. Without this technology, makeup can take on a clownish appearance, and the session, while perhaps a bit amusing, won’t satisfy nor bring users back. Perfect Corp.’s patented AgileFace® tracking technology accurately overlays virtual makeup on them with the utmost precision, even aligning virtual makeup with facial movement. This new technology properly works for all ethnic groups, resulting in the most inclusive virtual try-on experience yet.
- Precision Hair Color. The value of a virtual try-on experience—for the customer as well as the seller—is to provide an authentic presentation of how a product will actually look on the customer. This can be especially challenging with hair color, as the color applied will differ according to the customer's natural hair color. “Lashes are extremely hard to capture in AR,” says American International Industries’ Marwan Zreik. “They can look pasted on. And the same is true for hair, which is also a major technical challenge to precisely render. We were all blown away by the accuracy of Perfect Corp’s AI and AR. The color went onto the hair in a completely natural way. It actually works with the tone of your natural hair color, which means that each of our Punky colors looks different on every person depending on their base hair color.”
- Exacting Lip and Eyeliner Colors. As with hair color, the value of a virtual try-on experience is completely dependent upon the ability to render in AR exactly how a product will look on the user. For lipstick, this means not only rendering colors precisely but also capturing the texture. If lipstick is glossy, or metallic, shimmers, or has other unique features, precision AR is required to enable the user to see exactly how it will look on their own lips. Failure at this results in unhappy customers and can have devastating effects on social media. Stila Cosmetics partnered with Perfect Corp. to offer precisely this kind of hyper-realistic virtual try-on experience on its website. Customers can instantly try on dozens of popular makeup products, including lipstick, eye shadow, mascara, highlighter, and more. The digital effects of a virtual makeup try-on so closely mimic those of a physical try-on that consumers can be confident they are making the right purchase decision.
- High-Definition Brows. Hair is generally considered one of the greatest challenges for AR because it needs to be rendered strand by strand. The challenge is even greater when working with brows. Without precise definition, the virtual try-on will be unsatisfactory. Again, facial tracking is important, too. If a user arches a brow, that brow must arch.
- Foundation is often puzzling for users. Just which foundation is right? And where do they want to go from the ideal? For example, Estée Lauder’s latest in-store beauty app combines precision foundation shade detection with a YouCam Makeup virtual try-on-color match experience. With iMatch™ Virtual Shade Expert, AI deep learning for real-time skin-tone detection uses its knowledge base of 89,969 skin tones to help customers find their preferred foundation shade in Estée Lauder’s number one foundation, Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup, and see it virtually applied in real-time. “We found a customer’s perfect foundation shade match is not always her preferred shade,” says Gen Obata, Vice President Global Retail Experience at Estée Lauder. “So iMatch™ Virtual Shade Expert answers this need. It finds her perfect shade and then provides options that are lighter, darker, cooler, or warmer so she can choose the shade she thinks suits her best.” This kind of personalization creates a strong customer bond.
- Powerful AI. AI has been mentioned throughout as it provides foundational support to great AR. In addition to its role in facial detection and tracking, and its powerful mining of Big Data, AI can power personalization that creates tight customer bonds. Jon Roman, Senior Vice President, Consumer Marketing and Online at Estée Lauder puts it this way: “The combination of precision matching with personalization not only increases conversions, but you are delighting the customer because she’s really getting something that’s personalized for her. This kind of personalization really builds customer loyalty.” AI can also be used for ‘look transfer’ in which a user wants to capture the essence of a favorite celebrity or influencer, and map that look to their own face.
- Delta E Precision. We have spoken repeatedly about the need to precisely match colors displayed in a virtual try-on experience with those found in real life. And we’ve spoken of the variability of colors when applied to someone’s unique hair or their own unique skin texture and color. While this may sound subjective, color variations can be measured down to the point of imperceptibility through the use of Delta E metrics. Delta E is a metric for calibrating how the human eye perceives color differences. The term delta comes from mathematics, meaning change in a variable or function. The suffix E references the German word Empfindung, which broadly means sensation. Generally, a Delta E value of 3 or less means that color differentiation can only be detected by careful study. A value of 2 or less is considered to be imperceptible to the human eye. With our Perfect Corp. technology, the Delta E value is often below 1.5—making for a seamless experience when moving from AR virtual try-on colors to real-world products.
- Multi-Product Capability. Finally, a Beauty Tech platform should provide multi-product and multi-vendor capability. Don’t expect that consumers will download a separate app for each product they like. We all suffer from app overload, and it disrupts the AR experience to have to move from one company’s lip app to another company’s eye app to a hair color app. That’s why we created YouCam Makeup as a centralized hub where users can try thousands of different products from hundreds of manufacturers. This tremendously adds to the fun factor—and the sales factor. Users can create complete looks and then make their purchases accordingly. Ekta Chopra, VP of Digital, at e.l.f., speaks of the joy of discovery. “Looking at the full consumer journey, discovery is a huge element,” Chopra says. “You want to create a digital environment where they can discover new products, try them on, and make the purchase. Perfect Corp gives us the augmented reality technology to provide our consumers with an amazing, personalized, discovery experience.” e.l.f. Cosmetics offers virtual try-on experience on its website and mobile app for an extensive range of makeup products, from eyeshadow palettes to lipsticks to highlighters. Since incorporating Perfect Corp.’s virtual makeup technology into its e-commerce journey, e.l.f. Cosmetics reported a 200% higher conversion rate – “from shopping to actually purchasing.”
How YouTube and Snapchat Simplify Access to Virtual Try-On Beauty Tech
Virtual try-on has proven to be so popular with users, and such a powerful sales tool, that it is only natural that AR has been embraced by the giants of social media, including YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest.
- Google Search Virtual Try-On & YouTube Beauty Try-On. Google is incorporating AR try-on—in both Google Search and YouTube. For its well-known search engine, Google has partnered with Perfect Corp. and launched an AR try-on experience using YouCam Makeup’s AR virtual try-on technology, together with beauty brands like Estee Lauder, MAC Cosmetics, and others, allowing consumers to try on makeup SKUs (through Google Search) on themselves using the front-facing camera on mobile devices.
YouTube is incorporating AR—giving its 2 billion global viewers an entirely new way of experimenting with their favorite beauty products. Google/YouTube has entered into a strategic partnership with Perfect Corp. to integrate Perfect Corp.’s YouCam Makeup beauty app into YouTube’s InStream video ads—enabling brands to run augmented reality try-on over YouTube. This lets viewers, for example, virtually try on makeup in real-time as they watch their favorite MUA artists on YouTube’s platform. A great example is found with e.l.f. Cosmetics’ newest SRSLY Satin Lipstick Virtual Try-On InStream video ad on YouTube, featuring Internet-celebrity Jasmine Brown. As Jasmine tries out the different shades of e.l.f. lipsticks, the viewer can simply hit the “try on” button and experiment with the exact shades—or any others that catch their eye, from the YouCam Makeup app just below the video. Users can also shop for whatever they see, right from the app.
- Snapchat’s AR Makeup—Bridging the Online and Offline Worlds. Snapchat, the pioneering social media app that lets everybody tell their story, has become one of the leading companies powering the AR revolution. Snapchat is a natural place for AR because of its large audience share for Generation Z and millennial users—who are known to be big spenders, representing a staggering $143 billion in purchasing power and representing the largest group of consumers in the United States. The power of AR is demonstrated with Snapchat’s successful collaboration with Perfect Corp. – considering its AR expertise, beauty brands can use Perfect Corp,’s virtual SKU platform (Perfect Console) to bring the AR experience to the Snapchat platform quickly and effortlessly. According to Snap Inc., campaigns that include shoppable AR Lenses see 2.4x higher action intent lift (compared to 2020 Q3 average).
Together, Snapchat and Perfect Corp. are helping beauty brands reach the next generation of beauty consumers with technology that reinvents the beauty shopping journey.
Beauty Tech Trends - A Look into the FuturePerfect Corp. founder and CEO, @Alice Chang kicked off a recent Global Beauty Tech Forum with a keynote presentation revealing fascinating insights into the biggest beauty tech trends heading our way. Here’s a glimpse into what she sees coming:
- Beauty Tech is Fundamental to Customer Engagement. Beauty tech is fundamental to a successful direct-to-consumer strategy. Advanced beauty technology is the key to helping brands understand, engage, and connect with their consumers better—especially during the rise of digital shopping experiences versus in-person.
- Rethink the Consumer Experience through a Digital Lens. Brands must quickly translate and rethink beauty services as digital experiences to offer online, reshaping D2C strategy from passive to active.
- The rise of Beauty GAN and Livestream Technologies. While AR and AI have become beauty tech staples, the next generation facial simulations and interactive technologies will be the advancements re-shaping the future consumer experience.
- The Generation of AI Skin Tech. Skin tech is on the rise as the most requested new service category. This spotlights the growing importance of AI innovation necessary to deliver personalized skin analysis and product recommendations.
- The importance of 360 Approach. A successful direct-to-consumer strategy must digitalize product try-on, engage consumers in every way including widespread and personal experiences, and enable cohesive digital inter-activities across all consumer touchpoints including retail, web, in-app, and across social.
Digital transformation is hardly a new concept for beauty brands. Possessing enough knowledge about Beauty Tech and fully understanding its immense capabilities is the key factor to driving business success in this highly digitized world. As Beauty Tech is a fast-growing segment, it is crucial for beauty brands and retailers to keep up with the latest trends and developments. Furthermore, as readers have learned from this article, Beauty Tech is an indispensable resource for solving consumer pain points, creating a better beauty shopping experience, and ultimately accelerating business growth.
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