Digital transformation is impacting every industry. From logistics and manufacturing through retail and consumer-facing industries, businesses from across the board are looking to data-driven digital solutions to transform the customer experience.
This transformation has been especially prevalent in the beauty and cosmetics industry. In recent years, particularly as the pandemic forced a traditionally in-person shopping experience into remote environments, beauty brands have been the vanguard of digital consumer experiences. By leveraging AR and AI beauty tech solutions, brands have been able to offer unique, personalized experiences for their customers around the globe.
While digital transformation has a connotation of fast and immediate, the truth is that it’s a continuous process, always building upon itself and learning from consumer feedback and evolving with technological advancement.
It’s also different for every brand. Upstart brands that were born online and in the social media era have the ability to launch with these AI and AR solutions ingrained in their businesses. For more established brands, like Clinque, that have decades of experience and loyal customers, instituting these digital solutions takes time, testing, and the utmost care.
As part of the Perfect Corp. Master Series, Perfect Corp. CEO Wayne Liu sat down with Jeremy Harris, VP of Global Brand Technology at Clinique, to discuss the digital initiatives this legacy brand has taken on in recent years, and how creating a high-touch, personalized experience has not only impacted customers, consultants, and employees, but has yielded real-world results in the form of ROI.
Watch the entire conversation here
Creating High-Touch Customer Experiences with AI and AR
Clinique is in a unique position as a legacy brand. Compared to new brands whose cornerstone business is through online sales, Clinique has deep roots in the in-store shopping experience. Relying on a network of cosmetics consultants at retailers around the world, the brand has long prided itself on high-touch, elevated experiences for their consumers.
While this brand-consumer relationship is deeply rooted in personal connection and in-store experience, it’s worth noting that Clinique was also one of the earliest beauty brands to leverage technological innovation. Dating back to 1968, Clinique was already using rudimentary computer technology to enhance the customer experience.
Now, with more customers looking for digital shopping solutions, Clinique has advanced their drive to innovate, partnering with Perfect Corp. to deploy a wise suite of AR and AI beauty tech solutions. From AI skin diagnostics to virtual try-on, Clinique has found ways to greatly enhance high-touch in-store consultations, or what Harris refers to as the “selling ceremony”. This suite of tools gives consultants more ways to connect with customers, and create avenues for those customers to connect with products.
This technology is also paramount in creating a more engaging and immersive experience that delivers value for online shoppers, enabling them to try on a wide variety of products from the comfort of their home.
Next-Gen Technology in Shade Matching and Virtual Try-On
One of the core collaborations between Clinique and Perfect Corp. has been “Shade Match Science” technology. Using this AR and AI-driven technology, customers are able to virtually try on all tones and foundations offered by Clinique. What’s more, these foundations can then be paired with lipstick and other makeup options in a virtual setting, enabling customers to mix and match thousands of combinations.
This shade match technology gives customers a highly personalized experience, precisely matching each customer with the best shade for their skin tone and unique features.
One of the most important aspects of this technology is inclusiveness. By offering customers of all skin types and tones the ability to try on the full catalog of Clinique products, all customers are seen and acknowledged in their buying journey. This inclusivity is a cornerstone of Clinique’s brand “In service of all skin.”
How AI + AR Translate to Return on Investment
While providing a more immersive customer experience is key for building stronger brand loyalty and engagement, investments in digital transformation have to translate to real-world KPIs in sales or they can’t be considered a total success. Or, as Harris notes, “Technology is not deployed for technology’s sake.”
Thankfully, the partnership between Clinique and Perfect Corp. yielded those key business wins the brand desired when they spearheaded these initiatives.
The numbers speak for themselves. Clinique has seen more than 2 million sessions across all of their AI and AR diagnostics since partnering with Perfect Corp. as well as a 40% increase in number of sessions year over year. What’s more, the time of engagement has increased as well as the volume of users.
“Time on site, in general, can go from 3 minutes to 10 minutes as customers dwell on the experience,” Harris says.
These usage and engagement metrics are great for brand building, but it’s also important that they translate to sales. Since launching these AI and AR solutions, Clinique has seen a 30% increase in average order value as well as a 2.5x lift in conversion rate. All told, the more customers are able to engage with products, the more comfortable they are buying them.
Quantitative statistics are important for a brand in justifying their ROI for investing in digital transformation. For Clinique, these initiatives were more than worth the investment. They had a qualitative impact as well. Having these digital tools has worked to build and strengthen relationships between Clinique and the retailers and consultants who act as ambassadors for their products.
Every brand’s digital transformation journey is different, and they’re all a work in progress. With Clinique’s success in investing in AR and AI technologies through their partnership with Perfect Corp., it’s clear that not only is this investment paying off now, but it places them in a great position to connect to the digitally native audiences of the future.
Watch the entire conversation and learn more about Clinique’s digital transformation here.
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