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Brief Published: 20 Aug 2014

M&S' Virtual Beauty Counter

M&S Virtual Beauty Counter

Continuing its mission to revamp its online offering (see our earlier blog post M&S Editorialises E-tail Site), British retailer Marks & Spencer has launched a virtual beauty counter on its e-commerce site. This allows consumers to test products virtually before they purchase, and firmly demonstrates how virtual retail concepts are filtering into the mainstream.

Users can either upload a photo of themselves, or choose an image of a model that best matches their look from a selection provided. The tool then overlays the image with the make-up of their choice, ranging from foundations to eye shadows and mascaras.

For shoppers interested in trying out trends, there is also an option to apply one of six pre-existing looks (including four complete looks), and another four purely for eyes. There is also a ‘before and after’ view mode, enabling users to compare their look with and without make-up and, for that little bit of extra validation, an option to share via social media.

All the products are conveniently displayed in a shoppable side column on the same page – echoing a growing trend for content from which consumers buy directly, as inspirations grabs them. For more on this, see Shoppable Content: Publishing.

Try-before-you-buy technologies based around augmented reality (AR) are gaining considerable traction among consumers seeking more personalised online retail experiences. For more, see Future Beauty: Science & Technology in Selling Beauty Online, and the Bespoke Beauty section in Retail Beauty Trends 2014.

For more on AR, see Augmented Reality Retailing, Goldrun & AR RetailingHolition: The Interview and Virtual Immersive Commerce – part of our new Post-Digital Macro Trend.