Joining the growing enthusiasm for digital try-before-you-buy brand experiences, British haircare brand Vidal Sassoon has developed an augmented reality (AR) app called VS Shades that allows users to virtually try out 24 hair dyes before making a purchase.
US-based facial recognition specialist ModiFace (which creates virtual simulation mobile apps for use in the beauty industry) is behind the key technology, transforming clunky, unconvincing overlays into hyperrealistic virtual renditions. For more on these developments, see Bespoke Beauty: New Retail Strategies and Virtual Immersive Commerce, part of our Post-Digital Macro Trend. See also Rethinking Beauty: Digital Worlds, which explores how digital technology is transforming beauty for tech-savvy consumers.
Beyond allowing users to visualise various hair colours, social media integration enables the sharing of photos, helping users seek affirmation from their peers. This is especially relevant in appealing to millennials: positive shared recommendations increase their purchase intent by 9.5% on average, according to a 2014 study by the developers of ShareThis – a tool now used by more than 2 million publisher websites and 120+ social media channels. See also Luxury Online for Millennials and The Social Media Sell, 2015.
Each colour in the palette also links to 'how-tos' and product information, feeding the fun of the virtual hairstyles directly back to Vidal Sassoon products on the brand's e-commerce site.
Mobile-focused retail solutions are becoming an increasing necessity as a growing number of physical purchases are being aided by digital research – a study by Google (May 2015) found 82% of smartphone users turn to their devices for help with making product decisions in-store. For more on digitising the beauty industry, see Beauty Retail Trends 2014, Moda in 3D: Digital Printed Beauty and Selling Beauty Online. For more on AR-based commerce, see Augmented Reality Retailing, Holition: The Interview and Media-Enhanced Packaging.