Sephora has announced the launch of its new 3D Augmented Reality Mirror, which the company claims is the first which can simulate cosmetics on a user's face in real-time and in 3D.
The technology can be used either within a kiosk or on a mobile device, and allows users to see their face on a live video stream, via which they can choose to virtually apply different cosmetic products.
Developed by Modiface, an augmented reality virtual makeover technology provider, the ‘mirror’ opens up the potential for try-before-you-buy retail in beauty, where until now the industry has been lacking.
“We believe ModiFace's 3D Augmented Reality Mirror will be a breakthrough technology for our customers as they virtually try out different eye shadow shades quickly and easily,” said Antonio Ferreira de Almeida, general manager, Sephora Italy.
Its release follows on the back of similar launches by L’Oreal this year at Cannes, which saw the introduction of a mobile app with similar ‘mirror’ functionality, and Maybelline’s nail app last year, which allowed consumers to virtually test nail polish shades.
Speaking to Mashable earlier this year, the founder and CEO of ModiFace explained the retail potential of such interactive technology in-store.
“In 2D try-on, the goal is that interacting and virtually trying on makeup or skin products will lead to an increase in sales,” said Dr. Parham Aarabi.
“In many cases, this works well, especially with mobile apps. However, in retail settings, 2D can be slow and cumbersome since you have to wait, pose for a photo and wait for the result.”
Arabi explained that the company’s new 3D, video technology will step past these limitations, enhancing the opportunities and functionality for in-store try-before-you-buy technology.
Before, a consumer might be put off from buying a new product due to the cost investment now, with the emergence of such technology, beauty shoppers can beat the caution.
“Especially when purchasing beauty products, where a lot of them aren’t returnable, you want to make sure you’re going to get something that you use,” notes Michelle Saettler, editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, in a YouTube review of the ‘mirror’.
This increase in pre-purchase confidence seems to have lucrative potential for beauty retail: Modiface note that in their trails of the technology, sales were seen to rise at beauty counters by up to 120%.