Estée Lauder is the flagship brand of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. Founded by Mrs. Estée Lauder, one of the world’s first female entrepreneurs, the brand today continues her legacy of creating innovative, sophisticated, high-performance skincare and makeup products and iconic fragrances—all infused with a deep understanding of women’s needs and desires.
The world has changed dramatically since Estée Lauder created her brand in 1946. But the core values she embodied are more relevant and more inspiring to women of all generations than ever before. Today, Estée Lauder engages with women in over 150 countries and territories around the world and at dozens of touch points—both in store and online. And each of these relationships consistently reflects Estée’s powerful and authentic woman-to-woman point of view.
From its creation onward, the brand has served customers through a philosophy of high-touch and high-service. With the advent of augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) Estée Lauder wanted to provide customers with new ways to experience their products. But the technology needed to be as pure in its performance as were the brand’s products.
Estée Lauder chose Perfect Corp.’s YouCam Makeup virtual try-on solutions to deploy their custom iMatch™ experience in stores and online around the world. Estée Lauder uses YouCam technology to enable customers to enjoy the AI-driven augmented reality experience of instantly, and virtually, trying on makeup.
Whether visiting an Estée Lauder beauty counter, or accessing it from a home computer or mobile phone, users can look at their own face, as if through a mirror, and see precisely how they will look with Estée Lauder products they choose to try.
Estée Lauder uses YouCam virtual try-on solutions in its stores and online to provide three rich experiences:
- Lip Virtual Try-on. 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.” The experience was so successful that Estée Lauder sought new ways to use YouCam technology to provide its customers with the brand’s legendary high-touch and high-service experience.
- iMatch™ Virtual Shade Expert. 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. Estée Lauder has partnered with Perfect Corp. to add new foundation finishes including Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Makeup SPF45.
High Tech + High Touch
Estée Lauder’s iMatch™ Virtual Shade Expert helps customers find their perfect foundation shade match, and also provides options that are lighter, darker, warmer or cooler.
- Smart Detection Technology. Using smart detection technology across a full range of shades, full-face skin tone matching takes less than one second. Shade matches appear in the customer’s perfect match, but options that are lighter, darker, warmer or cooler are also offered to allow the customer to choose their preferred shade. Customers are then able to take a selfie and get their photo and shade via a QR code.
- Virtual Classrooms with Augmented Reality Training for Beauty Advisors. Mrs. Estée Lauder built her business on a foundation of high touch and personalization, advising customers on the best products to use. Today the brand has more than 17,000 Beauty Advisors around the world, and uses YouCam Augmented Reality Training (ART) technology to provide real-time, interactive, virtual classes in which the Beauty Advisors can learn about the latest products, techniques, and share their success strategies.
Today Estée Lauder has more than 8,000 YouCam-powered devices in stores across 45 markets around the world. The company also offers the iMatch™ experience to its customers online.
Estée Lauder has enjoyed a number of benefits since deploying its YouCam-powered solutions, including a 2.5 times higher conversion rate with Lip Virtual Try-on, increased customer loyalty from AI-driven iMatch™ Virtual Shade Expert, the ability to bring high tech to high touch, a unified user experience, and an online classroom experience the brand’s Beauty Advisors love.
Trying on Lipstick Virtually
Estée Lauder’s Lip Virtual Try-on lets customers try “30 Lipstick Shades in 30 Seconds” while providing complete product details.
2.5 Times Higher Conversion Rate with Lip Virtual Try-on
iMatch™ Virtual Shade Expert has proven to drive sales in-store for Estée Lauder. In the UK, where the brand first piloted this technology, they saw a boost in sales for Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup, Primers and Concealers.
In addition to boosting in-store sales, Estée Lauder, found that customers trying Lip Virtual Try-on online, were more likely to place orders.
“We have over 8,000 devices around the world now allowing virtual try-on for lipstick and what we’ve seen is the increased use of the tool over time as consumers get more and more comfortable,” says Stéphane de La Faverie, Global Brand President, Estée Lauder. “Online customers who use the tool have 2.5 times higher conversion rates.”
Increased Customer Loyalty from AI-Driven Perfect Foundation Match
Estée Lauder’s iMatch™ Virtual Shade Expert revolutionizes the process of finding the perfect shade of foundation—and experimenting in real time to consider variations. Traditionally, a consumer needed the Beauty Advisor’s assistance to determine her shade and was limited to a few swatches of foundation on an arm to judge the differences and imagine what a color might look like on the face. Now, she has the option of finding her shade using technology with or without assistance, and she can virtually see how it looks on her face.
AI and AR are perfectly combined in iMatch™ Virtual Shade Expert as the AI engine uses its knowledge base of 89,969 skin tones to recommend the perfect shade based on its skin detection, and then uses AR so that the customer can immediately see the shade on her face—and instantly experiment with options.
“We wanted to take shade matching to the next level by not only allowing customers to find their preferred foundation shade, but giving them the ability to try it on in real time using augmented reality technology,” explains Gen Obata, Vice President Global Retail Experience, Estée Lauder. “This technology allows the customer to take advantage of our Beauty Advisors' expertise and learn more about the product, but also help the customer find her perfect shade as well as her preferred shade based on her preference.”
“With iMatch™ Virtual Shade Expert we have the perfect combination of showing the customer the perfect match in terms of science and then the art of what flatters her best,” says Jon Roman, Senior Vice President, Consumer Marketing and Online, Estée Lauder. “With iMatch™ we can virtually show her the perfectly matched foundation on her face, and then show her the difference that going to a lighter or darker or cooler or warmer shade makes on her face. This allows her to say: ‘Yes, this might be my perfect match, but really, when I look at how it renders on me, I can see that going to a warmer foundation actually is a little more flattering, and I like that look better.’”
The ability to go beyond the “perfect” match to the preferred match is central to Estée Lauder’s personalization.
“We found a customer’s perfect foundation shade match is not always her preferred shade,” Obata says. “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.
“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,” Roman says. “This kind of personalization really builds customer loyalty.
Bringing High Tech to High Touch
As Mrs. Lauder grew her brand, she became famous for the high-touch approach she brought to customers. Even after she was internationally famous, Mrs. Lauder was known for spending time behind the counter working with customers every time she visited an Estée Lauder location.
Working with YouCam Makeup, Estée Lauder is using high tech to extend its famed high touch to customers around the world.
“Our goal at Estée Lauder has always been to create and deliver high-touch experiences to everyone who interacts with the brand,” says de La Faverie. “Now this experience has been enabled by high tech AI and AR to create a more engaging, more personalized journey for our customers. While we have always focused on innovating our products and services, with partners like Perfect Corp., we can now also innovate and elevate the consumer experience.”
In the hands of Estée Lauder, technology never gets in the way, instead it is used to amplify benefits.
“It’s not about just technology for the sake of technology,” de La Faverie says. “What we are developing for the Estée Lauder brand is technology to enhance the consumer experience. Today, we are leveraging tools to really make sure we can engage with the consumer in an even more meaningful way around the world.”
YouCam’s Unified Experience … From iPhones to In-Store Counters
Estée Lauder credits YouCam virtual try-on technology with enabling them to provide a unified user experience—whether customers are using virtual try-on online, or in-store.
In order to engage beauty shoppers across all customer touch points, Estée Lauder needs an effective online-to-offline marketing strategy. There is a highly engaged community of beauty lovers within the YouCam Makeup consumer app. Featuring Estée Lauder product SKU’s in the YouCam Makeup consumer app allows millions of its customers to easily try on the entire range of products and drives traffic to EsteeLauder.com for a continuous trial experience using virtual try-on technology. The consolidated experience carries over into the offline environment with the in-store journey.
The in-store experience is so intuitive that customers often start using the virtual try-on tool on their own, as well as then being guided by the Estée Lauder Beauty Advisors.
Meanwhile, the online experience has proven especially popular with younger users who enjoy using Lip Virtual Try-on and iMatch™ Virtual Shade Expert from their smartphones and home computers—something that helps drive traffic to the stores, as well as increases online sales.
“Engaging consumers online increases engagement and definitely leads to more traffic in-store,” Roman says. “Part of our online messaging is encouraging users to go into the store to get a service or to speak to a Beauty Advisor for additional information.”
YouCam Streaming Classrooms
Estée Lauder Beauty Advisors post comments and emojis during interactive classes.
Whether using iMatch™ online or in the store, the application makes it simple to capture the details of the look you like.
“What's great about the experience is once the customer finds the perfect shade—either lipstick or foundation—she can take a selfie with the tool, and that will trigger a QR code,” Obata says. “The customer can scan the QR code, which allows her to capture the exact shade information from this experience.”
Estée Lauder Beauty Advisors Love the Livestream Classroom and Replays
Estée Lauder uses YouCam’s Augmented Reality Training (A.R.T.) solution as a core element of the virtual classrooms the company uses to unite its 17,000 Beauty Advisors around the globe. This live virtual classroom is changing the training landscape by solving obstacles like time, travel and location.
“In 2019 alone we had more than 29,000 viewers from around the world,” says Colleen Gaetano, Vice President, Global Education, Estée Lauder. “And we’ve had more than 19,000 replays as our learners have gone back to recorded classes for review, or to watch them at more convenient times for their time zone.”
During classes, Beauty Advisors can test the looks they’re learning through virtual try on. The programming is interactive so viewers can ask questions, post comments and share likes with custom-designed Estée Lauder emojis.
“Our learners across all generations are loving our YouCam classrooms,” Gaetano says. “YouCam really helps us bring high-touch digital learning to our Beauty Advisors. We can push out new looks so that everyone in the class can try it on and see how it looks on themselves. We can do slideshows, have quizzes. It is super fun, fast and engaging, and it really encourages peer-to-peer learning.”
Gaetano sees the virtual classrooms as a great way to continue the Estée Lauder tradition of high touch.
“We are a high-touch brand,” Gaetano says. “It is in our DNA, and I truly believe that Mrs. Lauder, would love this innovative way of teaching. Through the YouCam virtual classroom, we're actually able to make digital learning high-touch, while connecting with our Beauty Advisors all around the world.”
“Perfect Corp. a Great Company to Work With”
Estée Lauder carefully tracks technological developments, always searching for ways to bring a greater experience to their customers.
“Estée Lauder is the type of company that looks at every bit of technology out there, so we've tried and tested, piloted, and used many different vendors in this space,” Roman says.
Perfect Corp. stood out from others because of the realism captured by its YouCam technology.
“We had to make sure that, especially as a luxury brand, everything with virtual try-on appeared to the customer in the most realistic way possible,” Roman says. “And that’s what we found with Perfect Corp.’s YouCam. We also needed a company that we could work with to develop new products and roll them out quickly for our customers. Perfect Corp. is a great company to work with.”
About Perfect Corp.
With over 800 Million downloads globally, Perfect Corporation is dedicated to transforming how consumers, content creators and beauty brands interact together through advanced AI and AR technologies. Our experienced team of engineers and beauty aficionados are pushing the frontiers of technology to create the beauty platform of the future—a fluid environment where individuals express themselves, learn the latest about fashion and beauty, and enjoy instant access to the products from their favorite brands. Further information about Perfect Corp. can be found at perfectcorp.com
About Estée Lauder
Estée Lauder is the flagship brand of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. Founded by Estée Lauder, one of the world’s first female entrepreneurs, the brand today continues her legacy of creating innovative, sophisticated, high-performance skincare and makeup products and iconic fragrances—all infused with a deep understanding of women’s needs and desires. Today, Estée Lauder engages with women in over 150 countries and territories around the world and at dozens of touch points—from in-store to digital. And each of these relationships consistently reflects Estée’s powerful and authentic woman-to-woman point of view. Follow @esteelauder on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube