As consumer expectations shift amid the accelerating digital transformation, businesses across the health and beauty space have come to rely on technology to deliver hyper personalized experiences at scale. Augmented reality (AR) allows shoppers to “try on” beauty products—either online or in-store—and make more informed purchase decisions.
But this technology can be used to do more than just increase conversion rates at the point of sale. Leading businesses like beauty powerhouse KOSÉ are leveraging AR try-on to demonstrate their brand values.
At a time when consumers are increasingly choosing brands whose values align with their own, KOSÉ launched an AR-supported campaign to raise awareness and funding for the global effort to end violence against women.
Sharon del Valle, General Manager at KOSÉ, recently joined Perfect Corp.’s Master Series to discuss the campaign and how beauty tech can drive change and build meaningful customer relationships.
The Purple Ribbon Project
As a business that has long aligned its brand with female empowerment, KOSÉ knew it was important to support International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The UN-sanctioned day of activism, held each year on November 23, calls for global action to increase awareness of rape, domestic abuse, and other forms of violence against women.
To help support this important effort, del Valle explained, the KOSÉ-owned brand Decorté launched the Purple Ribbon Project.
Decorté paired two of its skincare products as a limited-edition Purple Ribbon set and donated half of all proceeds to Win, a New York-based nonprofit providing safe housing and critical services to help homeless women and their children.
“Eighty percent of women who come to these shelters are suffering from domestic abuse and many of them come with children,” said del Valle. “This organization helps them to rebuild their lives.”
The brand then turned to AR technology to promote the campaign. Users of Perfect Corp.’s popular YouCam Makeup virtual try-on application were able to select a campaign-specific filter that included purple ribbons, the international symbol of ending domestic and intimate partner violence.
By leveraging AR technology, the brand went beyond sharing static advocacy graphics or videos on social media. Users could screencap the filter images and share with their own networks, making them active participants in the campaign. And, as del Valle pointed out, delivering the campaign on the YouCam Makeup app allowed Decorté to significantly increase reach to a qualified audience.
Winning New Customers
The Purple Ribbon Project is part of a larger KOSÉ initiative to expand its Decorté and Sekkisei brands in the North American market. Though the company’s brands have long been iconic in Japan, US consumers are less familiar.
AR-powered beauty tech is central to the company’s strategy for overcoming the lack of familiarity in the marketplace and winning over new customers. With virtual-try on, shoppers can see exactly how KOSÉ products will look on their own face, even if they’re not in-store.
Then there’s Perfect Corp.’s skin diagnostic tool, which can help an individual shopper understand how KOSÉ’s unique products will enhance their skin. Utilizing machine learning, the technology identifies wrinkles, spots, skin texture, and dark circles, then delivers real-time product recommendations personalized for that shopper.
For KOSÉ, whose products are designed to minimize skin damage while improving moisture, that analysis provides the perfect opportunity to educate American consumers. What’s more, users who purchase a KOSÉ product can then track the efficacy of their skincare routine over time using the “Skin Diary” feature.
Del Valle says that partnering with Perfect Corp. has allowed KOSÉ to “help people understand what their skin really needs. People are really beginning to understand the importance of high-quality hydration and nourishment.”
The Importance of Personalization
Consumers have grown accustomed to the personalized shopping tools used by Amazon, Walmart, and other mega retailers. They now expect that level of personalization across all of their shopping experiences, particularly beauty.
Del Valle said that these shifting expectations are transforming the way brands interact with their customers. They have to do more than just offer up product descriptions; they have to provide advice and personalized recommendations that help people through every step of the customer journey. Whether it’s AI-powered diagnostics that evaluate skin type, virtual try-on to pick out the perfect shade, or even AR filters that help communicate values and support meaningful campaigns, brands have to deliver personalized experiences to stand out.
“It's great that we can map out for [consumers] very easily, in seconds, what their skin needs at the moment,” said del Valle. “Finding the right color and shade is not only a lot of fun, but it's also very empowering because you find what's right for you, in the comfort of wherever you are.”
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