Success in the beauty industry is more than just high-quality products themselves. Brands and retailers must deliver a valuable, enjoyable, and seamless customer experience supported by novel omnichannel strategies and disrupting AI/AR solutions.
Customers nowadays have many ways to interact with businesses, from traditionally brick-and-mortar stores to numerous digital channels and devices. Given the growing global 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 deciding. 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. Brands and retailers must deliver a valuable, enjoyable, and seamless customer experience supported by novel omnichannel strategies and disrupting AI/AR solutions.
"Try before buy" shopping challenge
Given the beauty sector's characteristics, 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 to help consumers 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 and 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 amid 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
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 in offline settings. 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 a unique experience for individual shoppers.
Moreover, makeup virtual reality tools are 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 AR 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 trials is an acknowledged challenge for customers once they start their beauty product discovery online, leading to the abandonment of shopping carts and product returns.
AR applications can bridge 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 beauty gurus video tutorials, and even have online video consultations with beauty advisors without actually visiting the stores.
What is more, beauty consultants can sample different products, create a complete makeup look, then apply it to a customer photo and send it back to that customer. The lack of touch, feel, and play aspect of the 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 customer journey, developing an effective omnichannel strategy facilitated by AI/AR applications is essential. 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 can offer an experiential and customized journey will ultimately win customers' loyalty and escalate revenue from those personalization and virtual try-on initiatives.