Brief

Sephora's Virtual Artist app now includes AI-powered color matching

Dive Brief:

  • Sephora has rolled out the new Cheek Try On service that lets mobile app users virtually sample over 1,000 shades of blush, bronzer, contour and highlighter, according to a press release by the company.
  • This is the latest expansion of the cosmetic retailer’s Virtual Artist app, an augmented reality (AR)-based feature where beauty consumers can explore different beauty styles through digitally overlaying Sephora products on a selfie. The technology, developed by ModiFace, uses a smartphone’s camera to map the shape of each user’s unique facial features.
  • The expansion also includes a color match tool powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that deciphers an image and estimates the shade of any product in a photo. From there, it links users to a similar lip, cheek or eye product at Sephora that they can then virtually try on and purchase in the app.

Dive Insight:

After debuting a similar trial tool for virtually sampling thousands of eyeshadow shades earlier this spring, Sephora continues to drive mobile engagement on iOS and Android apps with added AR features. Cheek Try On is just the latest in a series of enhancements by the Sephora Innovation Lab to boost the retailer’s growing beauty tools.

Last fall, the brand enlisted a bot on Facebook Messenger to test the color match tool for lip products before launching it in updated mobile app. By adding AI color matching to its app, Sephora is taking the experience to the next level, as the technology can quickly process mountains of data to provide the most relevant results for users, who can then make a purchase directly within the app. 

As a leader in beauty retail, Sephora has beefed up its mobile presence, as consumers spend more time online engaging with influencers through Instagram, Snapchat and step-by-step makeup tutorials on YouTube. To many, these beauty bloggers replace the role that store sales clerks traditionally played in product advising, and they have more sway on consumers than ever before. There's a clutter of voices and industry experts — from beauty gurus on YouTube to Instagram influencers — and Sephora is tapping into this audience with its new website feature that lets users virtually try before they buy and connect with other beauty gurus via #VirtualArtist and #InstaMakeover.

Other brands like L'Oréal and Estée Lauder recently launched similar virtual makeup apps, so it’s not a stretch to expect that most fashion and cosmetics brands will eventually incorporate AR into their mobile capabilities to help people shop for beauty products online. However, such tools can be resource-intensive to develop, which is why brands like Sephora and Estée Lauder are partnering with platforms like ModiFace for its technology and expertise.

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Filed Under: Apps Mobile marketing trends Tech and platform developments
Top image credit: Sephora Discover