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Augmented Reality is Transforming the Beauty Industry- In Style!

Augmented reality, previously connected to the Pokémon Go world, has now become a huge player in the beauty industry. It’s important to note that augmented reality and virtual reality are two very different things. Virtual reality requires bulky headsets while AR is much more user-friendly through cameras on tablets or mobile devices. The combination of both user-friendliness and real-time consumer experience is why AR has reached the mainstream at such a rapid pace. Especially in the beauty industry where buyers love instant gratification and personalization. After all, who doesn’t love the idea of trying before you buy?   How does it work? Augmented reality uses a front-facing camera to let consumers test thousands of shades of lipsticks, eyeshadows, eyelashes, and other cosmetics, instantly via an app or in person. While brick and mortars are dying, for the beauty industry that’s not the case.  AR is giving them the ability to create an engaging shopping experience by giving their customers an instant virtual makeover. Allowing customers to “try-on” beauty products they’re interested in purchasing has taken the beauty experience to another level, without once having to wipe anything off your lips. It’s even being used to match skin tones to foundations, identify skin dryness or moisture percentage to recommend specific products, or even just for an in-store selfie.     Why does it work? The reason that AR has become an effective way to engage consumers is because of the new generation of buyers. This new generation gets most of their beauty tips and tricks online, 65% of millennials would rather listen to their favorite YouTuber than an instore beauty advisor. Chances are, if a millennial is coming into the store to buy a product they have already gathered information from their favorite beauty gurus. However, by providing an opportunity for millennials to experiment with products they normally wouldn’t, you engage them and their social media followers. The reason we mention social media followers is that a lot of these on-site AR selfie booths, allows customers to send themselves a copy of the photo they take. Often times, as millennials do, they will share it on their stories. We like to call that-free influencing. Voila! Their friends will be in to get the same shot for their gram, and if you’re lucky a product or two. The concept of “try before you buy” is a huge phenomenon and has created a whole new market for Gen Z and millennial buyers through ipsy boxes, FabFitFun boxes, and even for that cool new first-time free yoga class. Beauty industries leveraging AR in a way that’s enticing for how their customers consume in today’s age will innovate how they sell a product while acquiring buying trends like never before.   Where is it going? Soon we’ll be seeing AR everywhere. We will soon be seeing smart mirrors in retail stores, airports, hotels, and even hairdresser salons. These mirrors will take into account your complexion, weather, fashion, makeup, and even change your hair color virtually to help you pair looks, like a virtual stylist. What every consumer wants is a personal experience, and that’s what AR creates – ultimate personalization. Brands getting an early start include Benefit, Estée Lauder, NYX, bareMinerals, and Sephora. All of which have their own try-on apps, some even include a Facetime style option where you can get face-to-face tips from a beauty professional, all within the app. AR’s ability to integrate digital data into a consumer’s real-time environment is why it’s going to take over the beauty industry. This powerful tool will not only drive sales while increasing engagement through the added experience it provides consumers, but it will win the devotion of buyers who have matured alongside the technology.   Written by Raquel Beltran.
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