A trip to Sephora or another makeup store used to end up with beauty product swatches. We looked for the perfect foundation tone on our wrists, and the outside of our palms looked like a rainbow of eyeshadows and lipstick mixes. Sanitary regulations and the fear of catching a Disease-We-Are-Fed-Up-With have struck a blow to the makeup retail industry. The hand no longer reaches for another tester, and shopping for the perfect shade of red lipstick has become a guessing game.
Technologies couldn’t stand aside. They offered early-developed smart AR and AI mirrors to change the customer experience. Global makeup producers and retailers grabbed this opportunity offering their buyers a disease-proof, convenient, and engaging way of shopping. But can we farewell the makeup testers’ era already? Have the AI and AR smart beauty mirrors come to stay forever? Let’s review this revolutionary approach and find out.
Smart Mirrors Defined
So what are smart mirrors? Do they look like the enchanted mirror from Sleeping Beauty? Not exactly. One thing we know for sure: beauty tech and smart technology are doing their part to help businesses improve the shopping experience and increase sales without risking their customers’ health.
To implement smart mirror technology, companies and consumers need a screen or display with embedded sensors or a camera and an app that will perform the required actions (virtual try-on Banuba, for example). Virtual makeup apps are AR and AI-powered, but each technology contributes its share to the mirror’s function.
AR allows you to detect the face and areas where different makeup products need to be applied — lips, eyelids, cheekbones, eyebrows, etc. This technology recognizes each person’s unique features, and the makeup looks just like in the physical world. Can it be compared to an Instagram or Snapchat filter? Yes and no. A filter is a static mask that the user cannot change. With beauty tech, the customer can select the makeup color and sometimes the intensity of the application, completely customizing it for themselves.
Artificial intelligence and a machine learning algorithm help customers find the perfect product by analyzing their color type, age, skin, eye and hair colors, and other personal parameters.
How Do Smart Mirrors Change Customers’ Experience?
The pandemic has made us love online shopping even more. Behavior and the shopping journey have changed dramatically, and businesses have no choice but to adapt. A third of beauty buyers admitted that they would remain loyal to online shopping even after the pandemic ended and all sanitary restrictions were lifted. Smart beauty mirror technology with AR and AI allows potential shoppers to select and virtually try on any beauty product without leaving the room. In physical stores, customers are often confronted with the absence of the desired shade or a beauty consultant available. Any device with a camera helps solve this problem, the AI acts as a personal assistant who is ready to devote all its time to the buyer, and the delivery service will bring the desired beauty product shortly.
But enough with the theory. Let’s review real cases.
Smart Beauty AR Mirrors and Global Brands
Benefit has always been known for its eyebrow products. And as eyebrows frame our faces, the company has created an opportunity for its customers to experiment with their eyebrows’ shape, color, thickness, and style. In addition to a fascinating and engaging experience, Benefit offers its customers brand products to achieve the desired try-on eyebrows.
Online Sephora shoppers can now try the shades of the featured products directly in the app. The applied makeup looks so true-to-life that you can safely order the shades you like. Sephora states it managed to increase its conversion rate by 51%!
The luxury skincare and makeup manufacturer uses AI and augmented reality technology to the maximum. The Foundation iMatch feature allows customers to find the perfect foundation tone. In addition, customers can try any product individually or create an unforgettable look by trying on all the makeup they need.
Makeup Testers vs. Phygital Beauty — Who Wins?
Though something is mesmerizing and relaxing in swatching makeup in a shopping mall, time is still money. About 45% of shoppers claim that AR features cut the time required for making a shopping decision. Besides, using a phone as a smart mirror can help buyers check the makeup tone and shade in any lightning — cold, warm, or artificial. The products customers test and swatch at stores may change their color drastically outside the shop. Retail stores that have adapted AR as part of their customer journey demonstrate mind-blowing statistics where their clients’ engagement rate increased by 20%, and the conversion rates grew by 90%. When it comes to buyers, they admit they prefer stores offering an AR try-on experience. So, what’s the verdict? Should we wave goodbye to testers at makeup stands? They will probably stick around for some time, but it may seem old-school soon.