From artificial intelligence (AI) to augmented reality (AR), technology has not only completely transformed the landscape of beauty but also made it fiercely competitive.
Taking this one step ahead is beauty giant Estée Lauder that has now introduced an in-store app called iMatch Virtual Shade Expert that uses artificial intelligence to match users to their foundation shade. The application has been created in partnership with Perfect Corp's YouCam Makeup and is specifically designed to work with Estée Lauder's best selling Double Wear Stay-in Foundation.
"It's not about just technology for the sake of technology. What we are developing for the Estée Lauder brand is technology to enhance the consumer experience," Stephane de La Favarie, global brand president for Estee, told WWD, adding that iMatch is a "first-to-market app" for precision foundation shade. "Today, we are leveraging tools to really make sure we can engage with the consumer in an even more meaningful way around the world."
While a variety of retailers including Sephora already offer some form of virtual shade matching, until now it was mostly done with the assistance of the store staff who had to scan the customer's skin in three areas. With iMatch, the brand's goal is to enable shoppers to shade match themselves without any help.
Although the technology is currently only being rolled out across the US, UK, and Japan, the brand is working to have it available in more than 30 countries in the next six months.
iMatch was also reportedly introduced after the success of a virtual try-on tool for lipsticks that allowed customers to sample 30 different colors in under 30 seconds.
"We have over 8,000 devices around the world now allowing the virtual try-on for lipstick and what we've seen is the increased use of the tool over time as consumers get more and more comfortable," de La Faverie said.
Although there has been some debate about the accuracy of the virtual shade matching, retailers are increasingly testing the technology. Findation, which claims to be the world's largest usable database of matching foundation colors, has been a hit with consumers wanting to experiment with shades across a number of brands. And earlier last year, Sephora launched an online shade finding tool where just with a series of questions customers could easily pick their foundation shade, saving a trip to the store.