- MAC Cosmetics launched an in-store try-on mirror for customers to virtually sample makeup looks via augmented reality (AR), according to a press release made available to Marketing Dive.
- The mirror, developed by ModiFace, can overlay 29 virtual eye makeup styles onto a live video of the user. Facial tracking technology maps the user's face 30 times per second, according to the release, and aims to mimic real-life application by a makeup artist.
- The AR mirror is in U.S. MAC stores and is expected to roll out globally in early 2018.
The beauty industry has been an early adopter of AR tech to let consumers quickly and seamlessly try on new looks without using real makeup samples. Similar to MAC's latest move, L'Oréal, parent company Estée Lauder and other brands rolled out AR apps earlier this year. The difference, however, is that most beauty brands thus far have turned to mobile AR tech that uses a smartphone camera. MAC, in this case, is leveraging its brick and mortars across the U.S. and aiming to boost engagement and sales from customers virtually trying samples in stores. At the same time, this new gadget could help to drive foot traffic.
One key reason why beauty shoppers haven't yet fled in-store shopping is that it's generally difficult to get a sense of whether makeup works for a customer's face without sampling it in real life. But even for consumers in stores, trying multiple cosmetic products in a limited amount of time can still be a headache some consumers want to avoid. That's where AR like MAC's new mirror comes in, as users can sample dozens of styles in a matter of minutes with no waste.
As more consumers look to YouTube, social media tutorials and beauty bloggers for makeup tips, cosmetics brands are following suit and beefing up their digital presence in response. Given the benefits, more brands are likely to eventually incorporate AR into their capabilities to help people shop for beauty products in stores and online. This is especially true as the global beauty market is projected to hit a 4.3% annual compound growth rate from 2016 to 2022 to reach nearly $430 billion, per research by Allied Market.
MAC isn't the first beauty brand to tap AR as an in-store sales tool. Major cosmetics retailer Sephora opened a Beauty TIP (Teach, Inspire, Play) Workshop concept store in New York City in April, where customers can learn via group beauty classes and Sephora Virtual Artist technology. Endcap displays at the concept shop in Manhattan feature Tap and Try digital screens that are similar to MAC's new mirror.
Along with the MAC partnership, ModiFace is major player in beauty AR, powering more than 200 AR apps for beauty brands and competing with Perfect Corp.'s YouCam mobile app.