American International Industries (AII) is a leading manufacturer and distributor of innovative, quality beauty and skin care products for men and women. With forty-five years of industry experience, the company understands what it takes to be successful in the competitive and ever-changing world of beauty. Headquartered in Los Angeles, American International Industries is located in the heart of the beauty and fashion world.
The company’s product line includes nearly 70 brands, its niche products reach all segments of retail, beauty-supply, grocery, boutique and specialty markets in over 100 countries.
The company’s Ardell® Lashes and Punky® Colour brands faced the challenge of how to help customers experience what its eyelashes or its vibrant hair colors would look like.
“One of the hardest parts about selling eyelashes is helping the customer visualize what they're going to look like on their eye,” says Marwan Zreik, Vice President, American International Industries. “There are no eyelash testers in store, for hygienic reasons. And, of course, you can’t sample a hair color.”
Augmented reality (AR) was an obvious answer, but the company needed to find a precision solution. “Lashes are extremely hard to capture in AR,” Zreik says. “They can look pasted on. And the same is true for hair, which is also a major technical challenge to precisely render.”
Customers love to explore the world of possibilities with Ardell Lashes Virtual Try-On.
American International Industries found the perfect solution to give its Ardell Lashes customers a virtual try-on experience with Perfect Corp.’s AR technology and its YouCam application. Perfect Corp. combines powerful artificial intelligence (AI) technology with its industry-leading AR to provide stunningly lifelike results that delight customers.
Perfect Corp. has the most precise facial-point detection in the industry, which combines with its AI algorithms and AR modeling to create an engaging real-life virtual try-on experience.
YouCam Makeup is the leading AR makeup app, downloaded by millions of smartphone users and is also popular as a browser-based application. It gives users the ability to try virtual makeup looks from hundreds of beauty brand products. Users are loyal to the app because it provides a one-stop location for experimenting with different looks from a wealth of products.
AII prides itself in being the first beauty company to make use of the popular online app with its Ardell Lashes Virtual Try-On. American International Industries makes use of Perfect Corp. technology and the YouCam Makeup app in a number of ways, including:
- Ardell Lashes Virtual Try-On. The company is delighted with the life-like virtual try-on experience Perfect Corp. provides customers with its combination of AI algorithms and AR technology. Customers can see exactly how Ardell’s spectrum of lashes will enhance their looks.
- Punky Studio. When trying to decide whether to dye your hair Flamingo Pink, Spring Green, Lagoon Blue, or any of the brand’s other vibrant colors, customers love seeing the shades applied virtually to their own hair through the power of Perfect Corp.’s AI and augmented reality.
- Ardell Beauty. Ardell Beauty customers can see exactly how blush, bronzer, foundation, highlighter, and other products will enhance their look using Perfect Corp.’s AI/AR powered technology.
- YouCam Community. AII has found a powerful way to introduce its beauty products to the world by making its virtual try-on experiences available through the YouCam Makeup app in over 20 countries, bringing its products to the millions of YouCam users.
- YouCam as a Shopping Tool. The company has also found that YouCam serves as a powerful traffic-driving tool, as customers experience Ardell and other products virtually, then link to product sites to make purchases. Plus, as more retailers experiment with YouCam in stores, consumers benefit as they can test Ardell more closely to the point-of-sale.
American International Industries has discovered many benefits since deploying the Perfect Corp.-powered virtual try-on technology, including providing the best augmented reality experience that’s served half a billion try-ons globally and the extensive marketing power of YouCam’s network. The company found the essential try-on experience it needed for “try before you dye,” and enjoys building within the YouCam community of beauty lovers.
Best Augmented Reality Experience
As American International looked for the best source of augmented reality for its Ardell Lashes brand, it considered a variety of options, including developing its own application.
“AR is extremely challenging for eyelashes, because you are dealing with very, very fine fibers,” Zreik says. “This is further complicated because sometimes the differences between lash styles is very subtle, yet essential to capture.”
After testing a few lash styles, the AII team was immediately impressed with the YouCam AR technology.
“We had a lot of people in the office gathered around the screens, and we were all amazed by the accuracy,” Zreik says. “The YouCam app showed much higher quality than other AR apps we had tested, some of which could only apply lashes onto a photo. The lashes looked so realistic, and YouCam worked on your live camera. We viewed the screen from different angles and distances, and YouCam perfectly matched your face and your eye movement.”
As the company began working with Perfect Corp. they were impressed again—this time by the dedication of their AR and AI team.
“As we prepared to launch Ardell Lashes on YouCam, we had to make sure that each style as replicated appropriately in the app,” Zreik says. “This meant trying the lashes on different eyes, eye shapes, and people. Moreover, since false eyelashes are hand-made, no two lashes are exactly alike. We worked closely with the Perfect Corp. team to capture accurate renderings of each lash style. To their credit, they were patient, integrated all of our feedback, and achieved amazing results.”
The AI/AR power of Perfect Corp gives visitors to Punky Studio the ability to “try before they dye.”
Perfect Corp.’s AI-powered augmented reality worked so well for the Ardell brand that AII decided to implement the same YouCam virtual Try-On experience for its Punky Colour brand.
Exploring Lashes. Perfect Corp’s YouCam virtual Try-On app makes it easy for customers around the world to see how they will look across the spectrum of styles from Ardell Lashes.
Once again, there was a major challenge, as hair—just like eyelashes—is difficult to capture with AR, which is why Perfect Corp. uses AI to precisely identify strands of hair.
“We were all blown away by the accuracy of Perfect Corp.’s AI and AR,” Zreik says. “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.”
Zreik knew Perfect Corp. had captured the try-on experience perfectly just by watching his colleagues when they first saw Punky Studio on YouCam.
“It was amazing just to watch the expressions on faces as our team went from one color to the next,” Zreik says. “People were just amazed and delighted.”
Giving Customers a Great Try-On Experience for Lashes Hair Color “Half a Billion Try-Ons Globally”
Perfect Corp. technology, and the millions of YouCam users around the world have proven to be the perfect solution for American International Industries to give its customers the ability to do virtual try-ons for both its Ardell Lashes and Punky Colour hair colors.
“Since launching Ardell on YouCam a few years ago, we’ve had half a billion virtual lash try-ons globally,” Zreik says. “These numbers far surpassed our highest expectations.”
Soon after placing Punky Studio on YouCam the company saw 72 million try-ons for hair colors.
The company is pleased with the global reach that YouCam provides. “We are averaging more than 10 million try-ons a month with Ardell Lashes,” Zreik says. “And we are delighted that a large percentage of those are coming from our international markets. For a brand like Ardell, that is distributed in over 100 countries around the world, it’s hard to think of another tool that could allow us to provide such a consistent consumer experience on a global scale.”
Powerful Marketing: “YouCam a Huge Benefit for Our Retailers, Too”
Ardell Lashes Virtual Try-On on YouCam has proven to be a powerful marketing tool for the company. The result has been not just new customers for Ardell, but new users of lashes.
“A very significant benefit of YouCam as a platform for our Ardell Lashes Try-On, is that we are reaching new users—people who may have never thought of using lashes before,” Zreik says. “This is significant because in many other segments of beauty, such as lipstick and mascara, deep market penetration already exists. But YouCam is helping us reach a whole world of new lash users.”
The simplicity of reaching millions of users is also a game changer. “With YouCam we can reach millions of potential customers at scale … instantly,” Zreik says. “This is a huge benefit. When we launch a new lash style, we time its release with our YouCam Virtual Try-On.”
The use of YouCam has also proven popular with the retailers who carry Ardell Lashes and Punky Colour.
“YouCam is a perfect platform for special offers and other marketing opportunities,” Zreik says. “Not only does YouCam provide brand awareness for when our users go into retail establishments, but YouCam also has a feature that allows us to link to specific retailers to drive traffic to their sites. Our retailers appreciate that we are on YouCam, and many are bringing YouCam into their stores.”
Virtual Try-On is Essential for Hair “They Want to Try Before They Dye”
While virtual try-on for lashes is loved by customers because they can actually see what a lash will look like on them before they make the purchase, at any point later they can remove the lashes, perhaps swapping them for yet another style.
But when it comes to dying hair, the process isn’t as easily reversed.
“As much as our customers love virtual try-on for Ardell Lashes, I’d say that the virtual try-on experience is even more critical for hair color,” Zreik says. “They want to try before they dye.”
This is especially true with the contemporary colors offered by Punky—exciting pinks, blues, greens and other fun shades. “That’s why Punky Hair Studio is so popular on YouCam,” Zreik says. “Customers see exactly how a color will look on them. They can instantly change their hair color form pink to blue to green to red to purple. This allows them to choose the perfect color for their own personal style.”
Great Customer Data Marketing Insights Across Global Cultures
American International Industries collects valuable customer data and marketing insights as YouCam drives visitors to the Ardell Lashes and Punky Colour websites—where they can sign up for newsletters, and other special offers that result in customers sharing their e-mail addresses and other information that helps the company personalize offerings to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
YouCam also provides marketing and product development insights as the brands can see which lash styles and hair colors customers like to try.
“YouCam gives us a sense of the styles that people are gravitating to, which helps inform our marketing and product development teams,” Zreik says. “We can even see, for example, which lash styles are most popular by geographic regions around the world. We learn a lot about the difference in styles favored in Italy compared to Germany or the UK, and what styles are most popular in Mexico or Egypt. We share these insights with our sales team and with our global distributors,” Zreik says. “This in turn allows us to focus our efforts where we think we have the biggest opportunities, and to identify areas where we may have missed opportunities.”
Building within the YouCam Community of Beauty Lovers
American International Industries early on recognized the value of building brand awareness within the established and ever growing YouCam community of beauty lovers.
While other companies have created their own apps for customers to download, American International chose to partner with the YouCam platform.
“We discussed and analyzed whether it would make sense to create our own app, but we quickly saw that it could take years to create the kind of community that YouCam has already developed for us,” Zreik says. “You Cam has been downloaded by millions of users who are eagerly accessing it on a daily basis. And with Ardell and Punky Color, we immediately become part of that community.”
Another consideration was the potential for app fatigue on the part of users, and the inconvenience of having to open one app for lipstick and another for foundation or hair color.
“From a behavioral standpoint, how many beauty apps will someone put on their phone—and actually use?” Zreik says. “With YouCam you can try on Ardell Lashes or Punky Colour, and then add products from different brands to create your own unique look. YouCam provides a centralized location to do this. And we like being part of that.”
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