One player on the scene is Odore, a London-based company that is based around a fragrance samples dispenser machine that can be placed on shop floors and in boutique retail settings, along with hotels and restaurants.
The device is based on a simple premise: consumers exchange personal data in exchange for free samples of perfume products.
The whole process aims to be as frictionless as possible, to encourage consumer participation, with founder Armaan Mehta telling Cosmetics Design that answering a few quick questions should take the device user no more than 20 seconds.
Mehta suggests the concept responds to the millennial demand for interactive retail.
“We saw there was this big digital transformation shift taking place in the fragrance industry, and there was a need for new tech and a new way to engage with millennials,” he says.
The interactive nature of digital technologies seems to offer a win-win situation for beauty players: they can respond with greater ease to consumer demand for authentic-seeming brand interaction, while simultaneously gathering data insights on target consumers.
“Much more than a sample dispenser, it is a real research and marketing tool that collect data to create rich customer profiles,” Mehta explains.
While Odore’s dispenser is a new contender on the scene, other similarly interactive technologies include selfie mirrors where consumers can digitally apply makeup, apps like L’Oréal’s Makeup Genius which offer a similar function, and chatbots run by companies and brands on social media.
Indeed, augmented reality, or AR, capabilities from technology companies like Perfect365, YouCam, ModiFace and Meitu are being quickly incorporated by cosmetic brands across the board to allow consumers to virtually try on products in the comfort of their own home using nothing more than their mobile phone.
The appeal of these types of technologies is built around offering consumers more engagement and experience, while providing brands with insights and data which can be applied in other parts of the business.