- Perfect, the developer of augmented reality (AR) beauty app YouCam Makeup, released software tools to help beauty brands showcase their products on WeChat. The technology offering includes a software development kit (SDK) for mini programs that work inside WeChat, the most popular messaging app in China, per an announcement.
- Perfect's Virtual Makeup Try-on uses AR technology to let mobile users test digital versions of cosmetics while using WeChat without the need to download a separate app. With the technology, consumers can try on seven lipstick textures, along with eyeshadow, eyeliner, blush, concealer and other products.
- Perfect's artificial intelligence (AI) offerings include an AI Skin Diagnostic tool to scan a WeChat user's face and provide skincare tips, while the AI Smart Shade Finder helps to find the right makeup foundation among 90,000 skin tones. Sellers of beauty products also can use Perfect's AI-powered Beauty Advisor service to offer personalized recommendations to their customers, per the announcement.
Perfect's expanded technology offering for WeChat aims to help beauty brands connect with users of the messaging app, which has 1.16 billion users worldwide, parent company Tencent reports. Using Perfect's software tools, beauty brands can now offer everything from immersive AR try-ons to personalized skincare advice while making recommendations on which products to buy. As Perfect found with its popular YouCam Makeup app that offers AR try-ons from major brands, users were 1.6 times more likely than non-users to buy beauty products and typically spent 2.7 times as much, per a study commissioned by the company.
For Perfect, the expanded offering for WeChat shows how the company is marketing its technology on other digital platforms outside of its own apps, which have been downloaded more than 800 million times worldwide, according to its announcement. WeChat was innovative in expanding the functionality of lower-cost Android phones, making them more like iPhones, with a broad selection of mini programs that handle everything from messaging to mobile payments.
Among its efforts to expand its enterprise clientele during the coronavirus pandemic, Perfect in March offered cosmetics brands free AR experiences, web subscriptions and product listings in YouCam Makeup. Perfect also waived subscription fees to YouCam for Web, a browser plug-in that helps brands integrate virtual makeup try-ons into their websites, through July. These efforts can help to expand Perfect's clientele among beauty brands that need mobile commerce channels to market their products during lockdowns on retail stores that sell high volumes of beauty products.
While some municipalities are relaxing those restrictions, consumers who are wary about shopping in stores are likely to use apps to place orders for delivery or pickup. Only 33% of consumers said they would feel safe shopping at malls, making them less popular than department stores (37%) and big box retailers (45%), drug stores (50%) and grocery stores (54%), per a study by retail analytics company First Insight. The discomfort means that virtual try-ons of makeup may be more important for beauty brands until consumers are comfortable visiting cosmetics counters.