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MAC Cosmetics Extends AR Try-on for E-commerce During Lockdown

MAC Cosmetics has tested augmented reality (AR) in a few of its 4,500 stores. The company is taking quite a risk on an AR try-on tool for its e-commerce portal.

Apart from its huge fleet of stores, MAC sells via department stores, such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s. YouCam has been collaborating with MAC to come out with AR smart mirrors in its stores since 2017 end, and as of now, just 2.6% of stores have these mirrors. In August 2019, it rolled out an AR try-on tool via a website tab with YouCam. However, since March 2020, the company has been introducing the tool to nation-specific websites for Brazil, the U.K., Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Mexico, France, Germany, Australia and Italy. The tool is available for eye and lip products, and the company is expanding the feature to its foundation at a time not yet determined.

The company’s AR try-on tool arrives at a moment when the retail environment and shopping habits continue to alter post-coronavirus lockdowns. MAC is hoping that its AR-play is going to be utilised as an omnichannel tool in the future.

MAC Cosmetics global CMO and svp, Ukonwa Ojo, stated that even though Covid-19 has considerably influenced the beauty industry, make-up still plays a significant role in the lives of several people as they want to appear and feel their best. She continued that since only the digital-first brands can win in this novel atmosphere, identifying new ways to connect virtually with consumers whilst they are practicing social distancing at home is important.

MAC Cosmetics has tested augmented reality in collaboration with YouCam. Image source: wwd

Linda Smith, founder and CEO of FaceCake Marketing Technologies, a firm which creates AR online and in-store experiences for brands, such as Physicians Formula and Nars, said that heritage clients of FaceCake experience a rise in online basket size and monthly conversion of 350% to 400% when they introduce an AR tool. AR also assists in decreasing returns by a rate, which reflects the rise in conversion.

Ojo refused to reveal the percentage of MAC sales from e-commerce. However, she said that the brand saw a huge increase in its international online business over the previous fiscal quarter and is witnessing a recovery in China.

Smith remarked that irrespective of whether buyers are shopping on desktop, in-store or their mobile devices, their identity goes with them. Hence, AR can link a person’s in-store activity with their online activity and vice versa. As a result, a brand learns a person’s product preferences and how often they use them. This helps the brand to offer customised recommendations as well as regular replenishment assistance. Ojo said that at present, MAC keeps track of AR data only in aggregate like how many people are using the tool and how many use a model image versus the camera feature.

She went on to express that the shift toward social distancing is a great chance for the brand to rethink how they can offer such experiences for customers whilst they are distancing themselves socially at home. She feels that this makes innovative digital platforms to engage with customers all the more vital.

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