L’Oréal Paris clearly realised the power of self-image when it paved the way with its Makeup Genius app, enabling users to ‘wear the looks’ without any of the clunky and inaccurate facial scanning associated with earlier versions of the technology. But is this sophisticated sofa shopping set to send Westworld-style tumbleweed floating down the beauty aisles?
One day, perhaps. But not yet, according to Mintel’s 2017 Beauty Online report, which showed slow growth in online consumer expenditure on beauty. It reveals that 47% of people in the UK haven’t purchased beauty products online in the past 12 months – and of the 53% who have, 25% of those sales came from a supermarket website, suggesting that bricks-and-mortar stores build trust. Fenty Beauty by Rihanna still has people queuing around the block for its beauty counter, months after the hype-fuelled launch. ‘It boasts 40 shades of foundation, so customers want to be colour-matched and receive face-to-face application tips,’ explains Harvey Nichols group commercial director Daniela Rinaldi. Make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury has placed her brand ahead of the curve by merging the two – drawing crowds to her London Westfield store with a Magic Mirror, described by Holition, the company behind it, as ‘technology meets human experience’.
It’s the same try-before-you-buy technology seen on the L’Oréal app, and the thinking that led to my surreal experience in the MyAesthetics Ltd office, the key difference being that technology-minded Charlotte has set up shop where consumers are spending their money now: the real-life beauty aisle.
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