L’Oreal bring AR virtual trials to Amazon

The beauty giant launches the tech on the ecommerce site amid a shift to digital that has been accelerated during the pandemic.

L-Or-al Canada Inc--Canadian customers to benefit from safe AI-p

L’Oréal is bringing its AI-powered virtual try-on technology to more online beauty shoppers in Canada through a new partnership with Amazon.

L’Oréal’s augmented reality and artificial intelligence entity, Toronto-based ModiFace, has augmented reality tech that lets consumers test their favorite shades of lipstick, eyeliner or eye shadow by using the front-facing cameras on mobile devices. The simulation is based on information provided by makeup brands, as well as product images and descriptions on social media.

The technology, which runs on Amazon Web Services, will be available to Canadian Amazon shoppers beginning today, and will feature L’Oréal Paris, Maybelline New York and NYX professional makeup brands.

Since acquiring ModiFace in 2018, L’Oreal has been using its AI and visual recognition technology in more digital channels in the beauty category, where trial is vital. In October, the beauty giant partnered with Shoppers Drug Mart to bring the technology to its ecommerce platform, while also incorporating information gathered from customer images and reviews posted online.

Robert Beredo, chief digital officer of L’Oréal Canada, says the beauty sector is experiencing a revolution in services, “enabling a much richer relationship with the consumer,” and that gaining trust is critical to the company and its brands. L’Oréal’s global chief digital officer, Lubomira Rochet, says COVID-19 lockdowns have accelerated the move to online shopping in the beauty sector, particularly among a customer segment that has, up until now, been the most reticent about ecommerce: older women.

Leaders like L’Oréal and Estée Lauder were already investing heavily in online capabilities as challenger brands powered by celebrity influencers were nipping at their heels (in May, Estée Lauder brand MAC Cosmetics launched its first virtual try on tool).

According to WARC, approximately 20% of L’Oréal’s revenue now comes from online sales, be it through its own sites or through e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Walmart. In Q1 2020, L’Oréal’s online sales were up 53% year-over-year, bucking the overall decline of 4.8% the year earlier. But there has also been a broader decline in demand for cosmetics due to the pandemic and a steep decline in occasion-based socializing.

The brand has also upped its online marketing during the pandemic, taking it from 50% of total marketing spend before the crisis, to 70%.