Over the last century or so, brick-and-mortar retail has come under threat on more than a few occasions. From the rise of the mail-order catalogue to the arrival of all-encompassing ecommerce, it has long seemed that the demise of in-person shopping was not only inevitable but also imminent. And yet, at every point, miraculously, it survived, making clear that consumers found the experience of trying on 10 different shades of foundation to find that one perfect match or asking a salesperson which moisturizer would be best for aging skin far too necessary to sacrifice for mere convenience.
Pivoting to AI and AR
But when the Covid-19 pandemic began its vicious spread last spring, forcing businesses around the world to close their doors and people everywhere to stay at home, paying a visit to the nearest Sephora or Bloomingdale’s to procure the latest and greatest beauty products was no longer an option. Suddenly, there was no choice but to shop online, and even as some stores began reopening, trying makeup and skincare before purchasing it was rendered impossible in the wake of new health precautions, and consulting a salesperson’s expertise carried a newfound risk of spreading or contracting the virus. So, as global beauty revenues plummeted and online sales far from offsetting the losses, many brands started to turn to artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR), which had been on the fringes of the industry for several years but had yet to break through in any mainstream way.
Perfect Corp. - Leading Beauty Tech Solutions Provider
Without the time and experience devoted to developing these technologies and no internal resources available to do so now, however, beauty brands big and small looked to solutions outside of their own companies. It was here that they found beauty tech provider Perfect Corp., which had already built several platforms powered by AR, facial recognition, and color matching, all services that were now in huge demand. While the firm’s solutions were a hard sell for the ever-traditional beauty space when it was founded back in 2015, an early partnership with behemoth Estée Lauder helped prove the concept and validate its work. So, by the time the rest of the industry found itself in dire need of AR- and AI-backed tools, Perfect Corp. was the obvious choice.
Comprehensive & Versatile Beauty Tech Solutions
The beauty tech leader is best known for its YouCam technology, which offers true-to-life virtual try-ons of every kind of makeup, hair color, and even accessories, like sunglasses, so that consumers can test out a product before committing to buying. After the success of its first collaboration with Estée Lauder, in which Perfect Corp. created the iMatch Virtual Shade Expert to allow users to find their preferred shade of the brand’s foundation, the two companies joined forces once again late last year to meet the growing need for at-home solutions. This resulted in the launch of iMatch Virtual Skin Analysis, a digital skincare diagnostic tool that harnesses YouCam to discover what skin needs and provide a personalized regimen. Perfect Corp. built a similar service for Neutrogena as an update to the brand’s Skin360 app, which previously required a separate $60 phone attachment, so that customers can get a full skin analysis and more than 2.5 million possible product recommendations. The relaunched app has led to a huge uptick in engagement and has enabled users to get a dermatologist-grade assessment from the comfort and convenience of their own homes.
Perfect Corp. has also worked with a number of other beauty brands to develop AI- and AR-powered services, not only meeting new demand for such tools and helping consumers have a more effective experience but also growing the popularity and sales of their products. In its partnership with Aveda, for which the company provided a virtual try-on tool to allow color experimentation, website traffic increased 220% between March and May of 2020, and traffic to the salon location finder was five times greater. Similarly, after using Perfect Corp.’s technology to power virtual try-ons, e.l.f. Cosmetics saw a 200% higher conversion rate from shopping to actual purchasing. The tech provider has worked with media brands as well to help bridge the gap between print and digital. In its work with Allure Magazine, which sought to bring the experience of the beauty store into readers’ homes, Perfect Corp. 's try-on tools led to more than 6.5 million try-ons and aided the outlet in reaching a younger generation in a contemporary way. Meredith Corporation also benefited from its collaboration with the tech company, offering readers an AR virtual try-on experience and leading to 300% higher engagement and 50% greater page traffic.
In-Person Technology Solutions
While most of Perfect Corp.’s most obvious work in the last year have been online and in-app—be it the firm’s own or that of the brands it works with—it is at the forefront of in-person technology solutions. As the Covid-19 vaccine becomes more widespread and the threat of the virus lessens, there is an increasing hunger for a return to in-person and in-store experiences. However, the beauty industry has learned a lot over the last year and a half and has realized that a return to brick-and-mortar shopping does not mean a return to pre-pandemic ways. With a newfound awareness of health and hygiene, many consumers are reluctant to go back to the traditional beauty counter try-on, and now that they’ve seen the virtual try-on alternative, the old ways of wiping off every lipstick or foundation in order to try the next are a hard sell. As such, Perfect Corp. has worked with brands to build in-store try-on tools and activations to merge the convenience of technology with the comfort of an in-person experience. The pandemic may have provided the long-anticipated opportunity for AR and AI to really take off in the beauty space, but at the end of the day, Perfect Corp. is determined to do more than just create solutions for today’s problems. Instead, it’s about solving the problems of tomorrow, whatever they may be.
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