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Beauty care pioneers self-service AI, AR technology – Retail Customer Experience

Artificial intelligence and augmented reality are still in the early stages of adoption in retail. The beauty care sector, however, has grabbed these bulls by the horns, which isn’t surprising when you consider how personal the buying experience is.

“Try more, (you) definitely buy more,” observed Forbes contributor Laura Heller in introducing “Beauty Tech 360: AI and AR Personalized Solution” during the recent CES show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The session, moderated by Adam Gam, U.S. chief marketing officer at Perfect Corp., addressed how brands and retailers are leveraging custom technology solutions across omnichannel touchpoints — including interactive kiosks — to better understand and meet customers’ needs.

Adam Gam and Alice Chang of Perfect Corp., Jay Anderson of The Estee Lauder Companies, Jamira Johnson of Sally Beauty and Natasha Haubrich of Johnson & Johnson discuss artificial intelligence. 

Perfect Corp’s AI-powered YouCam beauty app allows customers to “try on” beauty products and has launched in several stores.

The facial mapping creates an AR image from a photo or print image of the user and allows them to see what they would look like wearing new makeup or hair color. AI allows the user to access a database of thousands of products to “try on” in real time, along with recommendations. 

A camera using three-dimensional facial tracking recognizes the users’ age, gender and mood. Deep-learning algorithms provide facial mapping for a true-to-life makeover experience with color and texture matching of real products.

Meeting customer needs

“The modern-day consumer craves personalized products made just for them,” said panelist Alice Chang, founder and CEO of Perfect Corp., a beauty technology provider. “This means brands need to know their customer’s unique demands to best serve them across all consumer touchpoints — online and offline.”

The technology’s goal is to provide customers personalized recommendations and allow the retailer to move from a product-centric to a customer-centric experience, Chang said.

“Beauty AI is the game-changer that helps beauty brands and retailers understand customers’ unique needs and effectively generate personalized style and product recommendations based on their demand and preferences,” she said.

“Everybody’s face has different conditions,” she said.

A customer needs to find the product that fits their individual skin tone, she added.

“It’s a liberating experience,” said panelist Jay Anderson, senior vice president of global brand technologies at The Estee Lauder Companies, which adopted Perfect Corp.’s YouCam Makeup app in 2015.

Reaching new heights

“Artificial intelligence and augmented reality technologies like YouCam are taking the prestige beauty shopping experience to new heights, helping our consumers find their perfect lipstick color, foundation shade and more, anytime, anywhere,” Anderson said. “By fusing breakthrough technology with prestige beauty, our brands are providing our consumers around the world with innovative, personalized, aspirational and seamless experiences across in-store and online.”

Customers today can now view 30 shades of lipstick in 30 seconds using the technology, Anderson said. The use of mobile apps is increasing for beauty care shoppers, especially Gen Xers, he added. 

“It’s a very robust algorithm,” said panelist Natasha Haubrich, head of global for Neutrogena at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health, which helps consumers in their personal quests to find “the next best thing.”

Anderson said the technology enables customers to have an omnichannel experience since they can engage with the products that are available both in the physical store and online.

Sally Beauty steps forward

Sally Beauty has introduced its ColorView virtual hair color try-on kiosk, also powered by Perfect Corp., in 600 stores, said Jamira Johnson, vice president of digital innovation for the beauty retailer which has more than 1,000 shades available in its stores.

ColorView, which has also launched on the Sally Beauty app, plays to a consumer-centric strategy by matching customers with suggested hair product categories and hair color shades based on their individual preferences to help beauty shoppers make more confident purchase decisions.

“Changing your hair color or your product regimen is a highly personal choice for customers,” Johnson said. “Our ColorView technology helps take the guess work out of selecting products and makes it easy to try on, share, and buy dozens of our best products.”

The technology aggregates hair color and makeup product recommendations across a variety of Sally Beauty brand offerings, including Ion, Arctic Fox, Wella, Ardell and COL-LAB. The ColorView will also have a hair texture diagnostic feature, Johnson said.

Neutrogena introduces app

During the CES show, Neutrogena introduced its Skin360 app that eliminates the need for a separate skin analysis tool. The 180-degree selfie analysis is now powered by Perfect Corp.’s technology and provides fast analysis for a broad range of skin parameters, including wrinkles, fine lines, dark under-eye circles, dark spots and smoothness.

“Consumers crave a holistic view of the internal and external factors impacting their skin and want expert guidance on how to achieve their best skin ever,” said Natasha Haubrich, senior director of global innovation for Neutrogena at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health.

“By eliminating the need for a separate skin analysis tool, the advanced diagnostics and behavior coaching within the Neutogena Skin360 app is more accessible so everyone can create an actionable, personalized plan to achieve their skin health goals,” she said.

Photos courtesy of Networld Media Group.

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Muhammad Zeeshan

Freelancer and a blogger with a focus on technology.

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