Virtual try-on – or VTO – refers to the use of augmented reality (AR) to display scanned versions of an object, most commonly seen in an image overlay that aims to give a sense of what what something might look like in the ‘real world’. It is this technology that is at the forefront of Perfect Corp’s B2B offering, alongside other artificial intelligence (AI)-powered resources and technology-enabled retail enhancements.
Essentially, the Taiwanese company has partnered with a series of major beauty brands to bring this technology to e-commerce and physical stores, putting the industry well ahead of consumer demands for technology. To highlight all of its offerings and the work it has done, Perfect Corp hosted its annual Global Beauty and Fashion Technology Forum, where some of its biggest partners took the stage to talk about the advances the latest and how beauty is truly cutting edge. path.
Generative AI and the New Retail Experience
Perfect Corp Founder and CEO Alice Chang kicked off the forum with a keynote, in which she said the company is “committed to the development of generative AI.” Chang then shared Perfect Corp’s latest innovations over the past 12 months, including its AI Fashion Stylist, which allows users of the company’s YouCam app to view IAI-generated styles via a photo of them. themselves. The recently launched AI-personalized makeup experience also provides consumers with information on recommended makeup styles, with tutorials to further enhance the shopping experience.
Each of the participating brands explained how the elements of VTO have taken root in their everyday retail and customer experiences. However, some have also expanded into other areas of digitization where beauty in particular has been a leader. Neha Singh, Founder and CEO of Obsess, talked about her own platform’s virtual store offering, a relatively new form of shopping that has made a mark on the industry. Obsess helps identify a brand’s purpose and design a virtual store experience that then resonates with its consumer. Here, Singh said AI plays a big role in speeding up the design process for these stores, while also generating visuals and increasing the content available to use in experiences. According to her, 25% of American consumers said they have shopped in virtual stores, most of which naturally belong to the younger generations who are familiar with gaming experiences.
The response was welcomed by Marie Driscoll, Coresight Research’s Managing Director for Luxury and Retail, who said, “Having people stay longer in virtual stores means they’re getting more out of the experience. . For physical beauty, on the other hand, it is imperative to provide accessible information. We need in-store technology that delivers the best in online shopping. Driscoll noted that alongside the rise of omnichannel, brick-and-mortar stores must also be prepared to predict exactly what an individual wants the moment they walk into the location, something that can be improved through the use of data and AI.
An additional, and arguably one of the most important, steps in the customer journey is giving consumers the confidence to make a particular purchase. Although still under development, efforts in this direction can already be seen in the implementation of predictive consumer experiences using VTO as a basis. At Colgate-Palmolive, chief technology officer Gary Binstock said this was evident in the company’s recently launched AR teeth-whitening technology, where users can see what using certain products will do once applied.
A similar mindset was present during a fireside chat with Salima Popatia, chief digital officer at Orveon, the conglomerate that acquired BareMinerals, Buxom and Laura Mercier in 2021. Thanks to the takeover, the group said that ‘he hoped to reinvent each of the iconic labels through new platforms delivering zhuzh up store experiences that made the brands more portable and consistent throughout. This strategy has seen the trio make rapid progress. BareMinerals, for example, became an early adopter of VTO technology, first introducing the feature to Japanese stores before expanding elsewhere. When asked what she sees in the future of AI, Popatia asked, “How can VTO be used as a promise in relation to the use of skin care? using this way makes brands responsible.
The idea of personalized predictions was also brought up by Alandra Maka, senior manager, consumer engagement and beauty technology at Unilever. Going forward, Maka believes the technology can be used in more elaborate ways, providing a point of proof to build consumer confidence. She has previously praised Perfect Corp’s ability to work with hair in their technology, noting that with the wide variety, hair can be difficult to process. Unilever’s Tresemmé, however, has already put Perfect Corp’s hair recommendations feature to work, allowing customers to try on different styles and receive personalized schemes and tutorials. Maka noted that this not only provides an educational base for consumers, but also adds value, bringing them to the website to engage directly with the brand.
Metaverses and Digital Sampling: The Big Names Are Leading the Way
Unilever was not the only large-scale conglomerate present. Coty and Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) were also among those showcasing their digital products at the forum, giving insight into how their extensive brand portfolio is handling the tech revolution. Speaking on behalf of Coty, Shanna Weinblatt, Group Vice President, Innovation, Beauty, Technology and Metaverse, spoke extensively about the company’s three-year partnership with Perfect Corp, during which it leveraged all the beauty tools made available by the company. Weinblatt said that because Coty was such a large conglomerate, it was important that digital features were integrated consistently across all touchpoints and that the team always aimed to think one step ahead of how to reach certain consumers in the right way through each brand.
Weinblatt noted that AI has already been heavily integrated into the company, even applied to the roles of its employees, with even in-store beauty advisors using the technology to help inform their recommendations. When asked what Coty is planning for the future, alongside other digital tool rollouts with Perfect Corp, Weinblatt included AI in his vision, adding, “We want to see how to make AI generative more consumer-centric and build trust around it. .” She also commented on an ongoing project that is currently being tested internally – the development of Coty’s own virtual metaverse world. The platform is initially used by employees to understand what consumers are doing online, before being released on a more public scale this fall.
ELC, on the other hand, reinforces its own technological developments in a way that seems to contrast with Coty’s approach. In a talk focused on the evolution of media, ELC’s Tara Sparks, executive director of global media and partnerships, highlighted the group’s efforts to create use cases specific to individual brands, with launches that vary. according to media partners and which allow consumers to explore ELC products. on the platforms that suit them. A highlight was the company’s partnership with Dash Hudson, which worked with ELC on Snapchat lenses that allowed users to claim free samples, a feature that led to the eventual “sale” of those samples.
SoPost founder and CEO Jonathan Grubin spoke at length about this idea of digital sampling, a concept around which his company was built. Grubin spoke about AR technology, which allowed customers to sample live from anywhere and gives brands the power to match them to the right SKU or product shade, which Grubin said was one of the main obstacles to beauty as a whole. He continued: “It can often be difficult to ensure that there is no waste of product and to ensure that there will be a conversion at the end. VTO solves this important question of whether consumers are getting the right SKU for them.