The power of AR for fashion, health and beauty brands
The reason why in-store experiences are so important for many brands is because of the importance that customers place on the visual or physical aspects of their products.
Beauty brands in particular have known this for a long time and have geared their in-store experiences to capitalise on this reality. Everyone is familiar with the army of beauticians on hand across the shop floor to help customers test products and provide lengthy consultations.
What has changed is the advance and availability of technology to engage our senses. Of course, the advance of technology doesn’t mean that in-store experiences will disappear, as the 91% of US retail purchases that still occur offline confirms.
Instead, it allows retailers to enhance the experience they provide, especially during the product discovery and research stage, where traditional in-store strategies have focused.
Developing digital authenticity
The best executions of digital are able to nurture, inspire and entice customers by developing the right solution for the right time. To do this, one of the key technologies they are employing is Augmented Reality (AR).
For ASOS, this has meant experimenting with AR to drive its inclusivity agenda by showing products on different size models and giving customers a better sense of how something might fit their body shape.
Zara is also using AR to upgrade how its products are shown to customers, through a completely different approach. By stripping back its window displays to ‘make space’ for AR experiences, the company hopes to bring its products to life on moving models rather than just static mannequins.
In China, Alibaba teamed up with InTime shopping centres to develop an AR mirror for customers to test makeup themselves. This clever use of technology while they’re washing their hands serves to complement rather than obstruct the shopping experience.
Other brands have recognised the importance that beauty specialists play in influencing buyers and are using AR to assist them here. Estée Lauder, which has 17,000 beauty advisors around the world, is using Augmented Reality Training to teach them about products.
Much of this innovation is possible because of the focus that hardware producers are putting on new AR software capabilities. Samsung, through its S9 and S9 Plus phones, has introduced an AR makeup tool that was developed with Modiface, a Canadian beauty tech company which has also assisted Estée Lauder and Sephora in the past.
Significantly, Modiface was recently bought by L’Oreal, which just goes to show how the company considers AR - not as a fad but well and truly on its digital roadmap.
Complementing buyer experiences
These market leading beauty brands are obviously taking AR seriously as part of a wider drive to enhance customer experience through technology. They have already tested the water and are now so confident of its significance that they’re making big moves.
For fashion, health and beauty brands wanting to do the same, it is vital that they first understand how convenient browsing and research fits into their overall brand experience.
At Maido, we believe that getting close to customers helps brands to understand how and - most importantly - why people interact with their products and services in the way they do. With this knowledge, we build innovative solutions that empower users to decide what they want, helping to drive customer loyalty over the long term.
Find out how our Innovation Sprints can help you explore the opportunities within emerging tech for your brand.