Based in San Francisco, Madison Reed is a beauty company revolutionizing the way women color their hair. Founded in 2013, Madison Reed started with a simple mission: To create a luxurious prestige hair color made with ingredients you can feel good about.
Madison Reed’s conditioning formula is crafted without ammonia, parabens, resorcinol, PPD, phthalates, or gluten. The entire color and hair care line is enriched with argan oil, keratin, and ginseng root extract to protect and pamper hair.
Products can be found online www.madison-reed.com, in the company’s brick and mortar Color Bars, and at Ulta. The Madison Reed Color Bars, for customers who prefer to have Madison Reed color applied by a professional colorist, are located in California, New York, Maryland, Texas, Georgia, and Virginia, with more openings planned through 2021.
Changing hair color is a big commitment, so Madison Reed, which has always led the field in adapting technology, wanted to find a leading-edge provider of augmented reality (AR) to enable customers to virtually try on colors from the Madison Reed website. Their challenge was finding an AR solution that provided customers with a truly life-like virtual try-on experience.
“We required absolute precision in capturing a lifelike virtual try-on experience for our hair colors,” says Tyler Wozny, Senior Vice President, Digital Product at Madison Reed. “Anything less could be a detriment to our business.”
Madison Reed found the perfect solution to give its customers a virtual try-on experience with Perfect Corp.’s AR platform. Perfect Corp. combines powerful artificial intelligence (AI) with its industry-leading AR to provide stunningly lifelike results that delight customers.
As Madison Reed began its search for the best AR partner to create its virtual hair color try-on experience, it was concerned about the poor quality of what it initially saw in the market.
Wozny, who earlier in his career worked in technology for Sephora, recalled how impressed he was with the Perfect Corp. team he met during that time. Wozny knew that hair was much more difficult than lipstick and other cosmetics to capture in AR, and was impressed with what Perfect Corp. could do.
Corey O’Neal, Senior Product Manager at Madison Reed, agrees. “When we were out in the marketplace, the things that we saw just weren't anywhere near the level of real-time AR visualization that Perfect Corp. could do.”
Passing a Very Tough Test: “Our Whole Team was Amazed”
Finding the very best AR partner was so important to Madison Reed that it put Perfect Corp. to a very demanding test—providing AR so precisely that users could distinguish between five closely related shades of brown.
“It was a very tough test because it really takes a trained eye to tell the difference between different shades of brown—though this kind of gradation is important to our customers,” Wozny says. “I was skeptical when we gave the challenge to Perfect Corp. I never thought they could capture the multidimensionality and the subtle differences between those five shades of brown. But they did, and our whole team was amazed.”
Wozny notes: “ I told our CEO that I was blown away by what Perfect Corp. had done. And they have been amazing us ever since.”
See for Yourself. Customers get to see exactly how a new color will look on their hair with the Madison Reed Virtual Try-On Tool.
Website Virtual Try-On
Visitors to the Madison Reed website can virtually try-on more than 50 Madison Reed hair colors by using their device’s live camera or uploading a selfie. A split screen appears to immediately highlight the difference between the current hair color and the new, virtual shade. In a fun twist, the split screen has a built-in slider that allows the user to toggle between two colors in real time.
Beautiful Colors. With Perfect Corp’s AI and AR technology, Madison Reed’s customers can see exactly how new hair colors and subtle shades will look.
“Visitors can click the ‘Find Your Perfect Shade’ button, and from that link, they go to a color quiz where they answer a set of questions that let us know a little bit about who they are, what their hair profile is, whether they currently color their hair, and what their hair goals are,” says O’Neal. “With that information, we're able to determine a range of shades that could work for that customer. We take them to the product page for what we think would be their best match, with a buttons beneath each shade so they can choose to see how the color looks on their hair—using our Virtual Try-On Tool.”
Visitors also have the option of going straight to the Virtual Try-On Tool to enter what Madison Reed refers to as the “color playground,” where visitors can try on whatever Madison Reed colors they like.
And at any point along the way, a visitor can interact with a Madison Reed color advisor to get additional recommendations.
Madison Reed has discovered a number of benefits since deploying the Perfect Corp.-powered virtual try-on technology, including providing a powerful conversion tool, game-changing AR capabilities, and the ability to remove the fear factor from changing hair colors. Madison Reed also values the “fun factor” the AR experience provides, the commitment to leading-edge technology and the shared values of providing great customer experiences.
Powerful Conversion Booster: “38% of Those Who Use Try-On Tool Buy”
Madison Reed is impressed with the powerful buying incentive provided by their Virtual Try-On Tool.
“We see at least 38% of those who go through our color quiz and then explore our hair colors using our AR Virtual Try-On Tool, convert to purchasing,” Wozny says. “This makes our Perfect Corp. AR a powerful component of our website.”
O’Neal agrees: “We can actually see the impact on our sales numbers from people using our Virtual Try-On tool. And in recent months, with more people staying at home because of the corona virus, we’ve seen a 10x rise in our hair color sales.”
Customers Share. Delighted Madison Reed customers share their looks, discovered with the company’s Virtual Try-On Tool.
“Game Changing AR Captures Precise Colors and Dimensionality”
Prior to finding Perfect Corp., both Wozny and O’Neal were adamant that they wouldn’t deploy an AR tool unless it could completely capture the precision color and dimensionality of Madison Reed hair colors.
“There was some early discussion that maybe we could provide an AR tool that was just fun to work with,” Wozny says. “But Corey and I held out for perfection. We felt that anything less would harm us in the market. We had seen AR solutions in which the hair looked fake because it wasn’t being rendered on a per-strand basis to capture the natural variations of light and texture, which is what multidimensionality is all about.”
This is why the company was so relieved when Perfect Corp. passed the Madison Reed tests so dramatically.
“We saw no one else in the market that had technology to actually show the consumer two things: Precisely what the color would be like on their own hair, and the multidimensional light and texture changes,” Wozny recalls. “Perfect Corp. has game changing AR that captures precise colors and dimensionality.”
Multidimensionality matters to Madison Reed, because it matters to their customers.
“Madison Reed has more than 55 shades, and each of these are very unique—from the depth of cool shades, and warm shades, to neutrals, to the gray coverage, and more,” O’Neal says. “It's really impressive that working with Perfect Corp. we’ve been able to create our Virtual Try-On Tool that is able to represent all of those shades so effectively that consumers are actually able to see what a color could look like on them. This is all about capturing the multidimensionality of hair, which is important to our customers, and sets us apart from the other products in the marketplace.”
Removing the “Fear Factor” from Trying a New Hair Color
Perfect Corp.’s AI-powered AR technology enables Madison Reed to provide its customers with something it had long sought: The ability to remove the “fear factor” from trying a new hair color.
“Madison Reed believes in empowering our customers in every way imaginable,” Amy Errett, CEO and founder of Madison Reed, said when announcing the deployment of the company’s Perfect Corp.-powered Virtual Try-On Tool. “Our goal is to eliminate any fear factor and enable people to choose a new hair color with the confidence of having already witnessed the end result. Women have been begging for this try-on technology, but current solutions just don't hit the mark. Now, an accurate, realistic solution finally exists on Madison-Reed.com.”
“Hair coloring can be scary for some people,” Wozny says. “if you buy a lipstick and don't like it, no worries, you throw it away. The same for an eyeshadow that doesn't work out. No problem. But with hair color, it seems everybody has in their past a story of how their hair went orange, or how it went crazy too dark, and no one wants to repeat that again, because it can be quite laborious and costly to fix.”
Wozny says the whole company is mindful of the emotions of their customers: “We want to not just remove the fear, but to also increase the confidence, by letting our customers see exactly how a new shade or color will look. We are using Perfect Corp.’s AR technology to do exactly that.”
Madison Reed finds that customers enjoy the fun factor of exploring hair color options.
Creating a “Fun Factor” and Building the Customer Relationship
Madison Reed credits the Perfect Corp. AR technology with bringing a “fun factor” to the online shopping experience by enabling such a realistic virtual try-on experience.
“Our Perfect Corp. AR tool is a natural fit that provides a sense of fun,” O’Neal says. “Our Virtual Try-On Tool has incredible utility value in helping people see exactly how a new color will look on them, but it also provides a sense of fun. People like to get on the camera and take selfies. You'd be amazed by how many images we get from customers who are delighted with what they’ve discovered and are eager to share.”
Wozny says that the fun extends beyond new customers, and also helps attract returning customers.
“Many of our customers want to switch out their hair color from time to time,” Wozny observes. “They might want to go a little bit lighter for spring and summer. Or they might want to go a little bit darker for winter and fall. And so, when they're choosing a new color, they go through the same process with our Virtual Try-On Tool, which makes it fun for them to explore their possibilities. All of this builds the customer relationship.”
In addition to fun, the AR experience also provides a sense of pride. Madison Reed hears from customers who have been going to a salon for hair coloring for years, until discovering they can do the same thing on their own at home.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when salons were closed for months in many states, Madison Reed proved to be a much appreciated find for many first-time do-it-yourselfers.
“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,” Wozny says. “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 AR tool plays a big role in that.”
Madison Reed has long prided itself in its embrace of technology to create better hair products. So the company felt it was a natural fit to incorporate the AI and AR technology of Perfect Corp. in creating its Virtual Try-On Tool.
“Madison Reed has always been a technology-first brand,” Wozny says. “We're pioneers in using algorithms to determine what hair color is best for a customer, based upon the information they provide, and then allowing them to explore and experiment from there.
“We believe technology is one of our competitive advantages,” Wozny says. “And because we create our own algorithms, we can move quickly and pivot whenever we need to. All of this leads to a stronger business, and using Perfect Corp. AR is part of this.”
Madison Reed and Perfect Corp. share a commitment to creating great customer experiences.
Perfect Corp. is a Great Company to Work With: “They Share our Values”
Madison Reed continues to be impressed with the dedication to quality and service that they find in their working with Perfect Corp.
“Madison Reed and Perfect Corp. share the same set of values, which is to provide the client with the best possible experience,” Wozny says. “In every interaction we have with Perfect Corp, we both always keep the client at the heart of our conversation.”
About Perfect Corp.
With over 850 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