As the fashion industry grows increasingly smitten with wearable technology, a previously overlooked aspect to the commercial potential of these technologies is gaining traction. The cosmetics industry – including those beauty arms of global fashion brands that are now as vital to revenue as handbags and shoes – has started to embrace new technologies in a bid to harness customer loyalty and boost business. From Google Glass as make up tutorials to facial mapping beauty apps, the new beauty brand initiatives all share a common objective: to attract a digitally savvy customer, who wants her online/offline shopping experience to be as seamless as her go-to red lipstick.
One such cosmetics brand that is keeping ahead of the pack this season is YSL Beauté, the L’Oréal-owned subset of the fashion powerhouse. Launched in London’s Selfridges last week, the brand are hoping to transform party season beauty routines with their Google Glass collaboration – which will give Glass to YSL make-up artists in order to capture the make-up application through the eyes of a professional. Does it work? Take it from one who has tried it – and who doesn’t know the first thing about a five-step smokey eye – this is an equal parts fun and useful service. Once the application process is fully recorded, you get a personalised email package once you get home: including ‘Before’ and ‘After’ pictures, the personalised Glass-recorded tutorial in full and, of course, a customised list of products to purchase.
Other whisperings of tech in the beauty industry have come direct from L’Oréal, Makeup Genius is the brand’s beauty app for iPhones and iPads (Decoded Fashion reported). Using a facial mapping technology, the app is a virtual make-up tester that allows you to layer beauty looks onto your face using your device’s front facing camera. These looks might be your own creations or curated by make-up artists, but they all use purchasable L’Oréal Paris products as standard. Thanks to the app’s sophisticated algorithm that is able to spot up to 64 data points on your face, the app moves with you as you turn your head or change your expression.
From multi-national corporations to a less established name on the scene, MiniLuxe is a chain of beauty salons that is set to disrupt the big players of the industry. The high tech company, which aims to do for beauty what Starbucks did for the coffee world, is increasing its physical locations throughout the US as well as employing high tech point-of-sale systems. MiniLuxe’s large data mining and collection system can respond to changes in the environment that might lead to higher or lower bookings of manicures and pedicures – for example, better weather will lead to more bookings, and that will require more staff in store. This responsive approach extends to the customer experience, with the company recently announcing a new booking app for customer’s smartphones (and a $23 million round of investment).
The key reason why these three different business models of the beauty world are going about implementing tech in the right way? Rather than trying to directly recreate the invaluable in-store experience of trying on make-up, they’re adding dimensions to the process of purchasing make-up at every possible point of contact. When it comes to attracting make-up lovers, it’s this combination of online and offline integration that makes for the real lesson in beauty.
Reported by Claire Healy