- Lancôme Paris, the beauty brand owned by L'Oréal, has partnered with developer Perfect Corp. for new mobile app experiences that let users virtually try on makeup and make direct purchases, according to a press release. Perfect's YouCam Makeup app uses augmented reality (AR), which overlays digital images on a real background seen through a smartphone camera, to let people experiment with lipstick, mascara, liner and shadows on a live selfie.
- Users can now sample complete beauty looks inspired by the brand's French chic style, per the release, and can make in-app product purchases to recreate these "je ne sais quoi" looks in real life.
- Lancôme experts will also use the app to host exclusive live streams to demonstrate how to apply the products and create popular looks. The first show was Oct. 30 and featured Halloween styles. YouCam Makeup is free on the App Store and Google Play.
Lancôme's new app integration with Perfect is the latest example of how beauty, entertainment and bleeding-edge mobile technology can converge for a compelling mix, especially when targeting younger consumers who are only spending more time on their smartphones. By leveraging live streaming, Lancôme and Perfect can connect more directly with shoppers who often look to YouTube for video tutorials in order to learn about the latest makeup and beauty trends and how to apply them.
Lancôme's mobile AR product demonstrations follow a collaboration announced in July between parent company L'Oréal and Perfect. At that time, the companies said they would integrate their brands into the YouCam app, letting customers buy products seen in tutorials without ever leaving the app — a capability that removes friction on the path to purchase. This type of service will only become more essential as the traditional retail landscape continues to be disrupted by e-commerce sites like Amazon.
Other major beauty brands like Estée Lauder and Sephora have begun to incorporate AR into their marketing to engage customers at home and help them explore new products. It's logical that cosmetics brands — particularly established ones with greater bandwidth like Lancôme — will continue to beef up their digital presence to attract tech-savvy consumers. Perfect's 500 million app downloads demonstrate that people are becoming comfortable with AR to virtually try out new looks.
AR-powered apps will soon become a critical part of the retail experience, according to a report in the Harvard Business Review. By using AR to demonstrate products, retailers can lead their customers to more accurate expectations, more confidence about purchase decisions and better product satisfaction.