Customers nowadays have many ways to interact with businesses, from traditionally brick-and-mortar stores to numerous types of digital channels and devices. Given the global growing trend of online shopping, many companies have embarked on an omnichannel transformation by investing in beauty technology innovations.
As consumers become more digital savvy, they prefer to combine different modes of engagement before making a decision. The customer journey now is more complicated than ever, which can vary drastically by customer type.
Therefore, success in the beauty industry is more than just high-quality products themselves. It's critical for brands and retailers to deliver a useful, enjoyable, and seamless customer experience that is supported by novel omnichannel strategy and disrupting AI/AR solutions.
"Try before buy" shopping challenge
Given the personal characteristic of the beauty sector, beauty brands/retailers and consumers face the same problem in matching the right products to the right customers, in both online and offline worlds.
Several beauty shoppers love visiting stores to play with makeup products and enjoy the atmosphere at beauty counters without clear purchasing intent in mind. In this case, in-store experience and recommendations from beauty associates have a strong influence over their decisions. However, the most common challenge is the shortage of capacity and human resources in assisting every single consumer to find perfect-matching products.
Additionally, many shoppers need more than one source of information to make a decision.
For example, they may prefer advice from beauty consultants but also want to look for online reviews from previous consumers and honest recommendations from their favorite beauty influencers. All of that could happen within the in-store environment.
Regarding online experience, it's even harder for shoppers to define the most suitable makeup looks and products for their skin tone and face shape without trying it in-person. The tutorials and reviews of beauty influencers are essential yet not sufficient in convincing and building trust with customers.
They will feel more at ease purchasing beauty products online if they can sample as many products as possible at the location of their choice.
"Try before buy" has become the mantra of modern shoppers. They have various available options to consult before shopping, and sometimes they’re lost in the midst of the journey.
Hence, tailoring an easy and fast shopping experience to assist individual consumers in making purchase decisions is a must for beauty brands and retailers. Fortunately, many AI/AR -enabled technologies could address those pain points.
Bringing online elements into the in-store environment
In offline settings, AR 3D Virtual Try-On enables brands and retailers to provide novel offline experiences and increased engagement through seamless access to digital content, product features, variations, availability, and price comparisons. The shoppers could try on a new eyeshadow palette using smart mirrors installed at every section throughout the store, tablets, or even their mobile phone with single-click access to the application.
Not only does the virtual makeup solution help reduce waiting time for beauty advisors to assist each buyer, but it can also increase brand loyalty and offer a special experience for individual shoppers.
Moreover, makeup virtual reality tools are highly helpful when the products aren't available at that specific store but can be ordered online. In this situation, customers can still try on products and get advice from beauty consultants without going anywhere.
Revieve's Digital Makeup Advisor can bring this AR-powered experience to another level by providing highly accurate skin analysis based on customers' selfie pictures, then recommending them the most unique and personalized beauty products for their skin tone, problems, and personalities.
Integrating in-store experiences into the online world
Augmented reality brings out many opportunities to facilitate omnichannel customer experiences by integrating offline experiences into the e-commerce environment. The absence of direct product trial is an acknowledged challenge of customers once starting their beauty product discovery online, leading to shopping cart abandonment and product returns.
AR applications can bridge the gap between offline and online shopping and offer an authentic beauty customer experience across multiple touchpoints.
Customers now can try the most trending makeup looks or the top-selling lipsticks at home with their own devices, desktop, tablet, and mobile phone. They can read product reviews online, watch video tutorials of beauty gurus, and even having online video consultations with beauty advisors without actually visiting the stores.
What is more that beauty consultants can sample different products, create a complete makeup look, then apply it on a customer photo, and send it back to that customer.
The lack of touch, feel, and play aspect of beauty shopping experience is no longer a big problem.
To resolve customers' pain points and understand their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors in each step of the whole customer journey, developing an effective omnichannel strategy facilitated by AI/AR applications is more essential than ever. Digitalization will continue to evolve and be the driving force in shaping the customer journey across all channels and devices.
Looking ahead, beauty brands and retailers that are able to offer an experiential and customized journey will ultimately win customers' loyalty and escalate revenue from those personalization and virtual try-on initiatives.