MAC’s New Tool Combines Virtual Try-On With Makeup Tutorials

As virtual try-ons continue to redefine how makeup brands reach consumers, MAC Cosmetics is launching a new augmented reality (AR) tool that allows customers to sample multiple styles at once through their phones.

This feature is designed to replicate the experience of sitting at a beauty counter with built-in looks and guidance from Estée Lauder artists. The brand claims the tool is one of the most comprehensive AR trial tools on the market in terms of its ability to connect different products and synchronize experiences with guided instructions.

“This is the first virtual tool on the market that combines the experience of an in-person makeup tutorial with a virtual experience right on your face,” said Mark Jiang, MAC’s vice president of global e-commerce. “The experience is like [the artists] they’re right there with you in your living room and you see the expression on your own face come to life.”

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The launch comes as pandemic-era restrictions and the wider availability of AR have helped popularize at-home makeup testing technology. Jiang said the brand saw three times more engagement on listings from users who launched the virtual try-on tool, with a 62% increase in conversions.

“The pandemic has completely changed consumer purchasing behavior, especially when it comes to makeup,” Jiang said. “While we return to some semblance of normality, online behavior is here to stay.”

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Aesthetics offered in this tool include Sun Strobing, Grunge Glam, and other viral looks with a variety of options constantly updated to match trends among makeup tutorial creators. The company also plans to add a geographic element with local artists and appearances from different regions as the tool expands globally in the coming months. The feature is accessible via a QR code on the MAC Cosmetics website.

Jiang said MAC hopes that combining the talents of its real makeup artists with the latest interactive technology will help the brand stand out in an increasingly crowded field. Brands and platforms from L’Oréal and Sally Hansen to Amazon and Snap have introduced virtual makeup tools as the trend continues to grow as a way to boost online sales.

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“As we envision the future of our virtual testing and our digital efforts overall at MAC, we believe that digital services and tools should enhance rather than replace the human element that is so important to consumers when interacting with them. MAC makeup artists,” said Jiang. “We are excited to bring this new innovation to our digital product suite and to MAC consumers so they can easily experiment with different makeup looks under the guidance of a real makeup artist.”

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