There is no question that augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are impacting the world in many ways. Businesses all over the world are finding both technologies are providing them with great opportunities to connect with people and to implement modern technology to help drive the company forward. The world of health and beauty is developing and evolving every day, and VR and AR play a massive part in this evolution.
Now, it’s clear that influencer marketing and content creators play an enormous role in being able to shape the future of beauty brands and the way they choose to market.
And they can work in tandem with AR and VR technologies in order to provide solutions to the beauty industry for enhancing their strategies and targets of product testing and product sampling.
What are VR and AR?
Now, when beauty brands are looking to connect with customers they need to give an immersive and in-depth experience, and this is something that can be achieved through the use of augmented and virtual reality. Looking at more detail into what these are about is very important, as both play a huge role in the direction the industry will take. Learning and getting to know what both strategies offer, will allow brands to further understand how to use them to help their brands connect, grow an engaged and loyal audience, generate leads, and convert sales even in the midst of a global pandemic.
Virtual reality is an immersive technology in which the user is completely engaged in a computer-generated reality. VR saw some of its earliest adoption in the world of video games and entertainment, but has now become an integral component in modern business as well. In the world of business, virtual reality helps customers and users experience something before they buy it, and this is a great way of being able to give customers a snippet of the experience the brand offers and what it’s all about, leaving them wanting more. In the future people should expect to see even more VR applications as brands look to enhance UX and achieve greater sales in the process.
Augmented reality is slightly different to virtual reality in that instead of creating a whole new reality, it enhances the existing one. This is done typically by way of images, text, and other virtual information, and is achieved using smart devices such as smartphones, tablets, and AR glasses. Pokemon Go! is the most well-known example of AR in recent times, and was a game that really took the population by storm. His craze showed the power of augmented reality, and what companies can achieve by using it.
How They Help the Beauty Industry
There are many ways in which VR and AR can and are helping the beauty industry. Since the coronavirus pandemic threw the world into chaos, many businesses and industries have been struggling. People have been forced to self-isolate and socially distance, this has made it increasingly difficult for businesses to connect and interact with customers, and try to generate or build experiences or relationships with them, that ultimately lead to conversion and advocacy. However, this is one area in which augmented and virtual reality have come to support beauty brands to keep offering valuable experiences to consumers.
In conjunction with influencers and content creators, AR and VR technology can be used to enhance livestream and social commerce, by giving users an experience from the comfort of home. Things like product testing and product sampling have become a pain point for beauty brands over the course of this pandemic, as customers have been unable to test them out. And this is where the world of technology has played a role, and many of these VR and AR features are giving people the chance to sample and test products virtually without having to even leave their room.
The Power of Influencers
It has become so important for beauty brands to seek the help of influencers in order to utilise these AR and VR features. Indeed, according to a Forbes research study, 65% of Millennials would rather listen to their favorite YouTube influencer than an in-store beauty expert. Brands can target the digital generation, Millennials and Generation Z, with opportunities for digital engagement via their smartphones, and things like AR and VR play a massive role in this moving forward. Influencers wield great power and influence in the world of business today, and it is important for beauty brands to co-create with them to design new brand experiences that authentically inspire and attract the audience. Influencers are using AR designs to transform the way they experience and review products, and this is a game-changer for the beauty industry as a whole.
Successful Implementation Case Studies
There are a broad array of different ideas that beauty brands are using to implement VR and AR to help their brands grow. These are some examples of successful case studies that have seen beauty brands or stores integrate VR and AR into their marketing and product usage.
John Lewis, Virtual Lipstick Experience
John Lewis is breaking ground with a fresh virtual
experience that’s going to do wonders for beauty brands across the world. The Virtual Lipstick Experience is one of the best illustrations of how AR and VR can be used to boost the beauty industry and bring customers closer to brands. The Virtual Lipstick Experience is a new app feature that can be used to help customers find the perfect shade of lipstick for them. This is done by using the ‘Try On’ feature, where the app will take a selfie of the user, and then apply a specific shade of lipstick to that selfie. This allows people to see how they would look if they were wearing a particular shade of lipstick, without even having to have the product to hand, or even leave their home in the process.
Benefit, They’re Real!
Benefit Cosmetics has also taken big steps to utilise and implement AR and VR in ways that are going to help its customers to feel more connected. Self-care is important, and being able to uphold a routine in these challenging times is key for mental health and wellbeing. In order to achieve this, Benefit has launched it’s new They’re Real! Magnet mascara range, which can be enjoyed virtually. Users can visit one of 6 virtual rooms that contain a photo booth and Instagram filter, and they can use the virtual ‘try-on’ feature through AR. This process utilises entertainment and pre-recorded videos and reviews from influencers in order to give customers a cutting edge experience, and ensure Benefit stays a unique, fun, and interesting brand moving forward.
The try-before-you-buy features are so important for helping customers to connect with beauty brands and help them stay relevant over time. This is why it is important that beauty brands in general, such as Sephora, are providing these experiences for customers. The try-before-you-buy experience allows customers to try things out virtually from home, and see how they will look wearing a particular type of makeup, eyeliner, and lipstick. These immersive and dynamic strategies are shaping the industry and revolutionising the experiences to reach customers on a deeper level. This is a great way to allow customers and beauty brands to connect and nurture their relationships, which in turn is vital for boosting loyalty, advocacy, and sales.
Benefits for Users
And it’s not just the beauty brands who benefit from the use of VR and AR in the industry; customers and users can reap the rewards too. For example, many professionals working remotely will be engaging in virtual conference calls and meetings via apps like Zoom. And this has given rise to a number of opportunities whereby users can use their smartphones to apply virtual makeup filters that provide them with a full face of makeup during these calls. What’s more, these makeup filters allow for fast and effective makeup application pre-call. Cosmetic brands like L’Oréal have launched filters that are already available on Zoom, so all consumers need to do is apply them. For generations that have never known life without a smartphone, this is an effective and fun way of gaining access to products and services through their devices.
More Customers Need to be Aware
Through a combination of esteemed influencers, as well as AR and VR technology, it is possible for the audience to stay connected to beauty and skincare brands and enjoy the value of these new immersive and interactive experiences that are personalized. It allows customers to keep their fingers on the pulse. Fear of missing out (FOMO) has become a real concern over the past year, and this is only getting exacerbated by COVID. So it is important for these brands to look to the future, and think about the technology they can use to make a real difference and drive their online presence to build communities and stronger bonds with their consumers..
According to studies conducted by Perfect, Generation Z shoppers are 10x more likely to make purchase decisions after using augmented reality and virtual try-on apps. Beauty and skincare brands can use virtual and augmented reality to raise brand awareness, generate advocacy and increase lead conversions. Product testing and sampling remains the cornerstone of the beauty industry, and through the use of VR and AR brands are able to ensure that this happens.
Growing Partnerships with content creators.
Another thing to consider with AR and VR moving forward is the number of partnerships we have already seen. Businesses are wising up to this new technology and to the opportunity that it presents for helping to give customers a deeper experience from home. Through influencers, beauty brands are able to benefit from Livestream Commerce, where tutorials, consultations, and skin care sessions can be hosted by influencers and cosmetics experts. Brands can use AR and VR to interact live with customers and push content through the help of content creators.
Some of the biggest and best-known partnerships that have been formed between businesses and AR/VR companies include the Alibaba Group teaming up with Perfect Corp to integrate their YouCam Makeup AR virtual try-on technology and enhance the online shopping consumer experience.
Being able to create virtual tools and applications that allow customers to have a closer and more personalized experience is important. And so many more companies are starting to see the benefits to this moving forward. We can expect to see more of these partnerships start in the coming years, and this is going to have a huge impact on the beauty industry moving forward.
What Does the Future Hold?
The future of augmented and virtual reality in the beauty world will be focused on creating a more immersive and personalised experience for consumers. Whether it’s kissing a phone screen to see what your lipstick stain would look like, or taking a selfie to test out different hair colour or a skin care product application on the consumer skin, the idea of being able to utilise apps to help users have more immersive beauty experiences while at home is key. Not to mention the virtual makeup try-out apps and filters that are available to consumers on their smartphones.
Virtual events, influencer tutorials, and Livestreaming are all going to become more commonplace in the future. These are examples of how the beauty industry has already been shaped by AR and VR, and by involving content creators and influencer marketing brands can capitalize on this.
Key Takeaways and Recommendations:
- AR and VR will be shaping the beauty industry for years to come, and the power of influencers is integral to this.
- Virtual review and livestreaming tutorials are becoming more common and relevant among influencers today, and will keep increasing in the future.
- Augmented and virtual reality help bring customers a more personalised experience from home, being able to enjoy an immersive and more engaging experience with the brands.
- Virtual makeup filters and skincare product applications are getting more immersive with the use of AR and VR.
- There are a lot of techniques that beauty brands are looking to use in conjunction with the right selection of influencers, and this can make a major difference to the process of augmented and virtual reality, and the way it improves businesses moving forward.
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