Smart beauty … the augmented reality mirror that’s activated when shoppers pick up a lipstick

April 22, 2018

Beauty is one of the most exciting, disrupted and innovative sectors right now – harnessing the power of technology to reengage consumers both online and instore.

I’ve been working with Coty for a number of years now, originally the traditional French business, then as they acquired Arizona’s Philosophy brand, and most recently as they acquired P&G’s huge beauty portfolio – from CK fragrances to Philosophy skincare, Wella haircare and OPI colour.

The business, now based in London and owned by venture business JBI, has just unveiled a smart augmented reality ‘magic mirror’ in its Bourjois boutique in Paris which lets users try on products virtually when they physically pick them up.

Coty describes the tech innovation as “blended reality”. It’s been designed to promote Bourjous’ new ‘Velvet’ lipstick range and to activate it users stand in front of a giant selfie style camera which then changes their lip colour on-screen whenever they pick up a new lipstick from the adjacent display.

They are investing in the frictionless experience because putting the physical product in shoppers’ hands has been found to increase attitudes and purchase intentions.

Users are able to take a snap and print their mirror images in-store, or email them to themselves.

The Bourjois Magic Mirror is powered by products — and activated by shopper-product interaction. The revolutionary technology integrates physical products with digital content, and represents a first-of-a-kind augmented reality (AR) makeup try-on experience.

Elodie Levy, Coty’s global digital innovation senior director explains, “As part of our desire to reinvent the retail experience through purposeful and personalized innovation, the Bourjois Magic Mirror represents the most extensive integration of physical products and digital content in the beauty industry.”

Levy continues, “Most women intuitively prefer to play with a lipstick rather than touch a screen, as there is an inherent sensual aspect in cosmetics packaging that no technology can replace, and our new Magic Mirror provides this desired experience to shoppers.”

How It Works 

Bourjois Boutique in Paris is the first to offer this unusual shopping experience. A shopper picks up a lipstick — and the chosen color instantly appears on their lips.

Putting the physical product in shoppers’ hands has been found to increase attitudes and purchase intentions of the product, propelling a more seamless path to purchase, Coty states. At the same time virtual product try-on solves the issue of testers not always being available, hygiene concerns and shoppers’ lips becoming stained after only a few lipstick try-ons.

An in-store connected shelf features the Bourjois Rouge Velvet Lipstick collection, and shoppers can complete their digital looks with onscreen eye makeup and blush, which is matched to each shopper’s individual skin tone. The experience is tailored to offer both individual products and bespoke beauty combinations.

In addition to product discovery, the Magic Mirror has a selfie function which is equipped with three playful filter effects and provides all the details of the products shoppers try on. The image can be printed in-store or emailed, with links for purchase on the Bourjois e-commerce site.

Putting the physical product in shoppers’ hands has been found to increase attitudes and purchase intentions of the product, propelling a more seamless path to purchase, Coty states. At the same time virtual product try-on solves the issue of testers not always being available, hygiene concerns and shoppers’ lips becoming stained after only a few lipstick try-ons.

Developing the Magic Mirror

The Magic Mirror was developed by Coty in collaboration with Holition and PERCH.

Behind the form and function of the mirror is a composite of PERCH Interactive’s technology, and Holition’s augmented reality SDK, FACE by Holition. Holition harnessed Perch’s smart camera, which monitors a defined area for activity, as a trigger for the virtual makeup experience.

Jonathan Chippindale, Holition CEO, said, “Approaching this collaboration research first, design second and technology third, we’ve partnered with Coty to create the next generation of the Magic Mirror, blending consumer insight and strategic UX to facilitate a bespoke, personalized experience.”

Trevor Sumner, PERCH Interactive CEO, said, “The next generation of in-store marketing is about blending digital experiences naturally into the shopper journey. The Bourjois Magic Mirror uses computer vision to sense the most important indication of interest in physical retail – when a shopper touches a product – unlocking an experience that encourages natural pathways of discovery, education and engagement.”

More innovation

The launch from Coty comes just days after it was one of the first brands, along with Adidas, to invest in Snapchat’s shoppable-AR experience.

The personal care group, which owns nail polish company OPI and Rimmel London among others, is also having to keep pace with rivals like L’Oreal when it comes to providing digital experiences for consumers. Less than a month ago, the latter snapped up AR beauty platform Modiface to “support the reinvention of its beauty experience”.

In February, Coty launched a tech startup scheme which is offering up $100,000 in cash prizes to young companies who bring the 124-year-old brand AI solutions.

Coty with Microsoft

Another of my clients, Microsoft is working with Coty to implement their future business platform.

Microsoft 365 plays a part in the vision, providing technology that amplifies our strengths and helps drive innovation. In an increasingly complex multichannel environment, Coty saw moving to the cloud as a means to stay ahead of the curve. We use Microsoft Cloud services to focus our energy on creating engaging and innovative products that drive authentic beauty experiences, rather than spending time on supporting IT infrastructure. We were searching for a scalable, agile solution for our business, and we realized that Microsoft 365 allows us to add resources quickly. It also decreases our reliance on local hardware because our users can easily access the rich tools they need to be productive anywhere, anytime.

A recent acquisition of the Procter & Gamble Specialty Beauty business presented us with a unique opportunity: we had six months to deliver an environment for 12,000 employees who would join our company. It was the perfect time to move to the cloud as the new foundation for our growing enterprise. We achieved a global migration to Office 365 in four months, first moving Coty employees’ mailboxes to the cloud and then creating new accounts in Office 365 for the Procter & Gamble employees who became part of the Coty global team. We mapped out the global geographies of employee groups and reporting hierarchies and considered the legislation around privacy in different countries—something that Microsoft is addressing today with the Multi-Geo Capabilities in Office 365.

Enabling highly secure modern work environments is part of our overall vision to create an effortless end-user experience for our employees. The interoperability and similar look and feel across Office 365 creates a sense of familiarity, so we can work productively in all the apps and services. Today, 65 percent of Coty employees enjoy a new laptop provisioned with Windows 10. We are updating the rest of our employees’ laptops as part of our ongoing hardware refresh. We are using Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection and Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics to improve the depth and breadth of our security capabilities, and we will use Microsoft Azure Multi-Factor Authentication for all Office apps and services.

As the organization grows, standardizing  branding across all 150 countries where we operate is essential. One way Coty are doing this is via an app that uses OneDrive to distribute presentation material to our entire Wella sales force. These presentations are available in close to 60 languages. The goal was to make it easy and intuitive for sales reps to give the same powerful presentations to customers and win business in China, the United States, and Germany. Global sales teams also use SharePoint Online to access sales and marketing materials they need quickly, so they can focus on engaging with the customer.

After more than a century in the beauty business, Coty knows that industry-changing ideas come from a collaborative, creative workforce. Our employees are embracing the power of Microsoft Cloud technologies and other compatible tools to ensure our total suite can help us keep the iconic brands in the Coty portfolio on the leading edge of beauty.



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