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Brief Published: 24 Feb 2015

Virtual Mobile Retail: Face AR Beauty App

Face by Holition

Aligned with the growing consumer appetite for personalised beauty experiences, British augmented reality (AR) firm Holition – which specialises in initiatives that overlap a virtual layer of content onto the physical landscape – has developed a 'try before you buy' virtual makeover app, dubbed 'Face'.

By integrating an accurate real-time face-tracking technology into the tool, users can virtually trial different coloured beauty products including lipstick, mascara and eye shadows. They can see the effects on-screen from different angles – meaning the virtual make-up stays in place even when smiling or moving your head.

Consumers can save looks as videos and share them via e-mail or social media for peer validation. This is especially relevant to millennials, who are twice as likely to seek advice from social media compared to the generation before them, and almost four times more likely than boomers, according to a 2013 study by UK digital marketing agency Base One.

The app is also equipped with a scanning feature. This allows users to scan looks from printed ads to receive similar product suggestions and then try them on virtually. Consumers can also scan beauty products in-store to launch the app. In both instances, this only applies to products by retailers that have partnered with Face. It also has a full e-commerce capability, allowing consumers who try products to purchase them immediately, within the same app.

Holition has confirmed to Stylus that several brands have shown interest in the app – all yet to be disclosed.

Mobile-focused solutions that are able to enhance the consumer retail experience are becoming increasingly relevant, as research shows. Thirty-five per cent of shoppers used mobile devices as part of the purchasing process in 2014 – a 10% increase since 2012, according to US marketing group Integer and US research agency M/A/R/C Research.

For more examples of brands using virtual reality to sell beauty, see Rethinking Beauty: Digital WorldsBeauty Retail Trends 2014, Selling Beauty Online, Virtual Immersive Commerce and the Post-Digital Macro Trend. For more on AR-based commerce, see Augmented Reality Retailing, Goldrun & AR Retailing, Augmented Reality Summit, Holition: The Interview and Media-Enhanced Packaging.

For more on concepts that talk to consumers constantly on the move see our Industry Trends Roaming Retail and Anywhere Retailing