- L'Oréal, the cosmetics giant with $29.5 billion in sales last year, is demonstrating more beauty brands on the YouCam Makeup mobile application developed by augmented reality (AR) company Perfect Corp., according to a statement by the company.
- The AR tools let both Android and iOS users virtually test cosmetics with digital overlays on a live selfie, learn about the products and shop in the app or in stores.
- The renewed partnership follows a smartphone promotion in May tied to the Cannes Film Festival. YouCam Makeup showcased L'Oréal products with 64 makeup suggestions for viewers in the U.S., India, Mexico and Russia.
Perfect Corp.'s 400 million downloads of its makeup and apparel apps indicate that consumers are experimenting with AR technology to try on new looks virtually. The company's CEO Alice Chang has touted the company's strengths in AR as a way to engage customers and guide them toward a transaction in an innovative and omnichannel way for seamless customer journeys.
Cosmetics marketers are seeing major upheaval partially due to the sweeping success of stores like Sephora, which lets people sample a wide range of products before buying, oftentimes using digital tools and face scans to match skin tones to products. Other brands like Estée Lauder and Meitu recently launched virtual makeup apps, so it's not a stretch to expect that most fashion and cosmetics brands will eventually incorporate some sort of AR into their mobile capabilities to help consumers browse online. But for now, such technology can be quite resource-intensive for brands to develop on their own, which is why companies like L'Oréal are partnering with established tech platforms like YouCam.
Meanwhile, embattled department stores are resorting to discounting cosmetics — which were not historically marked down — as a way to draw customers, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. Lord & Taylor last month offered 15% off almost all cosmetics and fragrances. Bloomingdale's gave members of its loyalty program a $25 reward card for every $100 beauty purchase, and Macy's offered 15% off cosmetics, which it touted in national TV ads last spring. More shoppers are avoiding malls as they increasingly buy online, so it's logical that beauty brands like L'Oréal are beefing up their mobile presence, especially with younger consumers who like to share their makeup and clothing styles on social media.