TLB The Lip Bar, based in Detroit, prides itself in being founded and owned by women of color. Founder Melissa Butler, “Bawse & CEO” of the company, left a career on Wall Street to begin TLB because she was frustrated by the lack of affordable vegan lipsticks in bright colors.
Butler began making vegan lipsticks out of her Brooklyn home’s kitchen and selling them on the side. Two years later, she quit her job to focus on The Lip Bar full-time. The company soon became famous for its Bawse Lady Red lipstick, with its bold, deep color. More colors followed, as did the company’s entry into complexion and other skin products.
In addition to its strong direct-to-consumer business, TLB products are sold in 750 Target Stores and 500 Walmart Stores. TLB identified the power of AI-powered augmented reality to give consumers a virtual try-on experience. However, it needed to find the best partner to work with to ensure its beauty products were precisely rendered for consumers.
TLB chose to partner with Perfect Corp., which offers cutting-edge AI+AR-powered virtual try-on technology. “We saw the precision virtual try-on technology of Perfect Corp. as being a way to build trust with our customers,” says Alexia Amerson, Assistant Vice President for Marketing, at TLB.
Spectacular Colors. TLB prides itself in having the “best red on the planet” with its Bawse Lady Red.
Enabling customers to try before they buy became even more important as the success of TLB lip products led the company to expand its quality offerings into complexion and other skin-related products.
TLB initially deployed Perfect Corp. virtual try-on for its lip products. Impressed with the success they saw, they expanded their virtual try-on experience to its complexion products, including its popular Just A Tint 3-in-1 tinted skin moisturizer.
The company also makes use of Perfect Corp. Shade Finder technology, enabling TLB customers to explore different shades of their favorite matte palettes.
“We wanted to lower the barrier for customers who love our lip products to explore our complexion products,” Amerson says. “With lip and complexion, there are so many undertones and pigment variations, we needed the precision of Perfect Corp. virtual try-on so they could truly see exactly how a product would look before they committed to purchasing it. We wanted to shorten that gap between considering a product, and deciding: Yes, I’m making the purchase.”
TLB has enjoyed a number of benefits since deploying Perfect Corp. AI+AR-powered virtual try-on technology, including:
TLB has seen impressive results from deploying its Perfect Corp. virtual try-on—including the fact that users of virtual try-on add more products to their cart than shoppers who don’t make use of the technology.
“Site visitors who use our virtual try-on add 88% more product to their cart,” says Amerson.
In addition to making more purchases, virtual try-on also converts more consumers from visitors to purchasers. Amerson reports that 25.5% of visitors who use VTO convert to purchasing.
Proof Points. TLB uses virtual try-on to create powerful real-world proof points for its customers.
TLB uses the precision of Perfect Corp. AI-powered augmented reality to create powerful before and after ads showing the real-life, real-skin benefits of its products. Making such ads even more powerful is the constant invitation from TLB for customers to try on the brand’s products by redirecting them to The Lip Bar’s virtual try-on page.
“We use before and after to show real-world results,” Amerson says. “And we always invite users to try it for themselves, because our virtual try-on provides strong proof points. They can see how our products work on their own skin. They can experience our color accuracy."
In addition to ads, TLB is training its influencers to use VTO in their content, to further encourage users to try virtual try-on for themselves.
A strong motivator all the way through is a sense of fun and exploration
“Virtual try-on is fun,” Amerson says. “It's like going back a bit to your youth. It's nostalgic: ‘Let's just play in makeup today. Want to try some new shades on? No problem.’ Virtual try-on is helping us to forge different relationships and new consumer behaviors. We provide a gaming experience. Consumers might first see our products on a social media site or in an ad, then they get to come to our site to try things on for themselves."
Astonishing Colors. TLB is renowned for its amazing colors, which consumers enjoy exploring through the company’s Perfect Corp. virtual try-on experience.
A key element of the proof point is the extreme accuracy of Perfect Corp. technology.
“Color accuracy is extremely important,” Amerson says. “It is one thing for an app to locate and identify your lips. It's another thing to get the right color. And to have the color be as precise as possible to the actual formula. Perfect Corp. gives us, and our customers, the full confidence that what they see on the screen is how our product will look on their own face.”
TLB uses virtual try-on to maximize the impact of introducing new products. Incorporating virtual try-on into product launches helps draw users to the site for a deeper experience.
“Since launching new shades for complexion using virtual try-on, we saw a 45% increase in page numbers,” Amerson says.
Once there, users are drawn into the fun of exploration, with Amerson noting: “The number of shade interactions on the page increased by 82.5%”
The company has also found virtual try-on to be an effective motivator for cross-channel exploration. This proved especially valuable as the company expanded from lip to other categories.
“TLB made its name with our vegan, cruelty free, liquid matte lipsticks,” Amerson say. “As we expanded into complexion, we had to prove our worth, and our users could see that worth through exploring our complexion products with virtual try-on.”
Customers were so impressed with the virtual try-on experiences they had with TLB lip
TLB values the sense of personalization that customers achieve using virtual try-on for their lip and complexion products.
“Virtual try-on is helping us to talk to the consumer in a way that feels as though she is the most important person, that her complexion is unique, and we can match it,” Amerson says. “We're inclusive. We’re showing them that they don’t have to force our products to fit their skin.”
The matches are so good, that Amerson describes the virtual try-on technology as “having a skin twin.”
Bawse & CEO. Melisa Butler, Founder & CEO of TLB, and creator of the iconic Bawse Lady Red.
“We aren’t using augmented filters to change these women, and this is incredibly important, because every face is different,” Amerson says. “Virtual try-on is very exciting because our consumers come back to us and they say, ‘Hey, that product actually does look great on me. I like using that tool.’ We see this in our comments and on social media. Sometimes a person might ask, ‘Can they really match my skin?’ And someone else will say: ‘Yes. Just go try it. You’ll see for yourself.’”
TLB integrates virtual try-on across their marketing campaigns, reinforcing their proof point messaging of try before you buy.
“VTO is a vital part of our marketing funnel,” says Amerson. “Virtual try-on is part of our marketing tech stack. It shows up in our emails, text messages, and all of our other forms of customer outreach. Once a consumer enters the funnel, and begins using VTO to explore lip or complexion, we can introduce them to our other products, such as our Fast Face makeup collection.”
Using VTO provides the company with a fast and easy way to invite their consumers to alter their colors and shades as summer gives way to winter. And it provides a way to respond to trends they detect from the products, colors, and shades they see consumers exploring with VTO on their site.
“We market to women who live very busy, active lives,” Amerson says. “They’re probably traveling in the summer, maybe their complexion is changing. It's becoming a little bit more toned and melaninated in the summer, whereas it becomes a little bit more cool and a little lighter in the winter. Our ability to market with VTO helps us cut through the noise and guide them toward a new shade they will like.”
TLB has a wealth of much appreciated social media supporters who help introduce the company’s products to an ever-larger realm of users. While the company has a program in place to provide products to its influencers, it doesn’t want to ship products out that won’t be used for expanding brand awareness.
“Rather than sending someone our entire catalog, we can invite them to visit our site to use our virtual try-on to find the products and colors they would like to share with their followers,” Amerson says. “This accomplishes two goals: First it introduces influencers to our precision VTO, and helps them find the exact products, colors, and shades they want to share; and second, this tightened focus reduces the cost of goods for our influencers program.”
TLB appreciates the tight relationship they enjoy working with Perfect Corp., including Perfect Corp.’s dedication to helping TLB introduce new products.
“Our product development team works really closely with the Perfect Corp. team,” Amerson says. “Perfect Corp. is always ready to jump on a new launch and help us figure out whatever backend tech is needed. It's incredibly important to have a partner like this. They really understand our business and want to help us. Sometimes they will catch something that we had missed. And as we prepare for a launch they have an all-hands-on-deck attitude."
Perfect Corp. (NYSE: PERF) is the leading SaaS AI and AR beauty and fashion tech solutions provider, dedicated to transforming shopping experiences through empowering brands to embrace the digital-first world. By partnering with the largest names in the industry, Perfect Corp.’s suite of enterprise solutions delivers synergistic, technology-driven experiences that facilitate sustainable, ultra-personalized, and engaging shopping journeys, as well as equipping brands with next generation of consumer goods.Perfect Corp. offers a complementary suite of mobile apps, including YouCam Makeup and YouCam Perfect, to provide a consumer platform to virtually try-on new products, perform skin diagnoses, edit photos, and share experiences with the YouCam Community. To learn more, please visit PerfectCorp.com.