L’Oreal is partnering with Facebook to roll out virtual tests for shoppers, allowing users try on virtual makeup samples through augmented reality (AR), and aiming to drive more sales online and through social media networks.
The brand said the partnership will start with makeup line NYX, Urban Decay, Lancome and Yves Saint Laurent.
The collaboration follows L’Oreal acquisition of Canadian AR and AI tech specialist ModiFace in March. ModiFace’s software allows consumers transform a 3D image of their face in real time as they virtually try on different kinds of lipstick, blush and eyeshadow.
Customers will eventually be able to try on anything from foundation shades to eyebrow shapes and hues, said Lubomira Rochet, L’Oreal’s chief digital officer.
She added that the virtual tests helped the company clinch sales.“What we’ve seen on our sites is that when there is a virtual test facility, conversion rates increase significantly.”
Cosmetics firms including L’Oreal’s rival Estee Lauder and retailers like LVMH’s Sephora are investing heavily in technology, in an age of selfies and beauty bloggers that has helped shift the industry onto the web.
Rochet said, social media networks had become the biggest growth driver of web sales for L’Oreal in terms of attracting shopping traffic, though purchases are redirected to take place on brands’ own sites or third party online retailers.
The brand said e-commerce revenues reached 9.5% of all its sales in the first half of 2018, up from close to 5% three years ago.
Rochet expected the virtual testing technology should eventually be rolled out on Facebook’s photo-sharing networking site Instagram. While Facebook is blocked in China, a particularly important e-commerce market for the brand, Rochet said L’Oreal was also talking to other partners about similar deals, without naming them.
Facebook said it had begun testing AR in advertising as of July, with Sephora and brands like fashion group Michael Kors.