Beauty Brands Love Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is having a makeover moment, with more and more beauty brands turning to the tech to engage young consumers, show off their products—and reportedly boost sales as well…

This year, augmented reality is continuing to outshine virtual reality—between the face filters adopted by Instagram (clearly “inspired” by Snapchat), magic-sounding AR sans-goggles from Disney, and viral dancing hotdogs, it’s clear that brands and consumers alike are embracing the AR future wholeheartedly. But perhaps no industry is showing their love for augmented reality as much as the beauty business. Brand after brand are implementing AR apps and tools to engage young consumers, show off their products—and reportedly boost sales as well.

Snapchat has acted as a stepping stone for many, thanks to their lenses and many brand partnerships. Last June, L’Oreal launched their first makeup lens, which added cat-eye eyeliner, mascara, foundation, blush, and lip color to selfies. When a user raised their eyebrows, camera lights flashed around them, and the L’Oreal logo popped up. Urban Decay's Lens, which allowed users to "try on" multiple colors of lipstick, reportedly boosted engagement and sales for the brand. Both brands have since pushed further into AR territory with their own apps. Urban Decay’s Vice Lipstick app allows fans to try on any color they wish before buying.

Sephora is especially betting big on AR to sell beauty products online. The retailer recently launched new augmented reality features to its mobile app which allow users to virtually try on products while learning the steps to perfecting looks. Meanwhile, their new concept store is putting a digital spin on makeup shopping for the Customization Nation with AI assistants to show before-and-after looks and provide digital skin care…

 
 

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“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

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