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Campaigns Retail

Magnum partners with Benefit for interactive pop-up in Shanghai

Magnum hosted a temporary beauty store in partnership with Benefit offering products and experiential activities to celebrate the launch of its new premium flavor range.

Taking place at the Réel Mall in Shanghai the pop-up made use of augmented reality and an interactive LED wall to bring its “Release your Beast” theme to life. A lion, polar bear, leopard and tiger were viewable as 3D characters, which visitors could take pictures with in a photobooth and then share on social media.

At the Benefit Beauty Bar, guests could test the brand’s latest products and book make-up artists. The environment included life-sized Benefit eyebrow pens and giant customized ice-cream installations.

The pop-up had a total of seven zones with a variety of activities. It attracted around 25,000 guests during the time it was open (May 24 to June 9).

Magnum has used the concept of “Release the Beast” in a couple of campaigns. In 2017, it teamed-up with fashion brand Moschino for a film on the theme starring Cara Delevingne and Jeremy Scott. Before that, to launch the Magnum Double ice cream in Singapore, it asked guests to release the beast of their passions in fashion, art, music and taste.

How are you thinking about immersive experiences? Want to learn more about how we worked with Google? The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to hear more.

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data Editor's pick Retail technology

From relevancy to regulation: Why SXSW 2019 was the year of the individual ?

There was undeniably a continued focus on culture at SXSW this year, as what was once the behemoth tech festival aligned itself with broader societal shifts as well as the consumer itself.

Author Brene Brown set the tone by opening the first day of the event with a discussion on empathy and the simple notion of belonging and connection in a digital age. Now, this as a concept isn’t new for SXSW – it was our top takeaway from 2018 off the back of rising concerns around the ethics of artificial intelligence. But this year, it wasn’t said in the context of how we should build technology to behave, but instead really on how we as individuals can live better lives.

On the simplest end of the scale, that of course meant experiences – evidenced by the brand activations that continued to pop up around the city of Austin. Offering opportunities for people to have a great time, isn’t going anywhere. But on top of that was everything from politicians fighting for what society deserves through to an increased focus on wellness.

Underpinning all of it? How we create greater than ever relevancy for individuals in a way that is both fair and meaningful.

Smart wellness
Current Global's co-founder and CEO Liz Bacelar and Calm founder Michael Acton Smith
Current Global’s co-founder and CEO Liz Bacelar and Calm founder Michael Acton Smith

It’s easy to say wellness was a trend at this year’s festival – its presence was felt more than ever, from the huge volume of cannabis-related programming (60 sessions to be precise) to the second year of the wellness expo, which featured everything from breathwork 101 to a conversation on Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. There were also activations including the Real Self House, which offered free consultations with medical doctors and complementary treatments such as lasers and injectables.

Our Innovation Mansion also heavily focused on wellness, with speakers including Calm founder Michael Acton Smith, Dirty Lemon, Recess and Under Armour all playing a role. Where these conversations proved particularly interesting, was in the way connectivity played a role. This wasn’t so much about wearables, nor about that “quantified self” trend from years gone past – rather it was around how technology is more passively enabling me to find out more about myself to then achieve better results.

One key example was in L’Oréal’s announcement of its partnership with microbial genomics company, uBiome, which the Current Global’s Liz Bacelar explored with Guive Balooch, VP of L’Oréal’s technology incubator, on the SXSW main stage. This is about deepening its research into the skin’s bacterial ecosystem in order to develop more personalized skincare solutions for individuals. The end goal is quite literally prescribing products based on exactly what the science of our own bodies tell us we need. “When it comes to skincare, people often audition product after product to determine what works for their unique skin. At L’Oréal, our goal is to advance scientific research and leverage new technologies to change this relationship, by allowing deeper levels of personalization.”

Meanwhile, futurist Amy Webb dedicated a good portion of her trends talk to biometrics, not just for identification scanning, but predicting behaviors. “These are systems that take all biodata and are constantly learning from it in some way, she explained, referencing Pivot Yoga’s connected yoga pants, which monitor poses and correct users’ form while syncing the data to an app. It’s the first time behavioral biometrics made it into her trend report, she noted. She related such a trend to “Persistent Recognition Systems”, which are algorithms that use our unique features, like bone structure, posture, or facial expressions to recognize not only who we are, but our frame of mind in real-time and make personalized suggestions as a result.

In doing so, consumers often end up giving out more information than they realize, Webb added. At Walmart, a smart shopping cart could measure your temperature, heart rate, and grip strength. If the cart senses you’re angry, it can send a representative to help you out. Walmart is reportedly using this data to create a baseline of biometric information about individual users to drive better customer service.

Personalization
Atlantic Pacific for Amazon Fashion

Optimizing data about individuals is the million dollar question for brands. We hear this at every trade show, conference, festival and exhibition we go to around the world. We hear it from every client. How do I better get to know my customer? And how do I then ensure relevancy for them in order to drive my conversions upwards?

SXSW was no different. Amazon Fashion’s CTO, Tony Bacos, said relevancy is his number one goal. “We’re focused on helping connect people to the products that we know are going to delight them. Not just in their individual taste and style but in their bodies,” he explained. By that he meant thinking about how to drive personalized discovery when the challenge is the huge scale of Amazon’s catalog, and then how to solve fit and sizing issues. With the latter he referenced machine learning in order to map sizing from one brand to the next as well as understand the role consumer preference and buying history play. Virtual try-on, where users can visualize themselves in items, will play a role for Amazon in the future, he hinted.

“No one has nailed these things in fashion yet – both the opportunity to create better and personalized experiences online and to solve the fit challenge,” he said. “That’s why it’s an exciting category.”

Kerry Liu, CEO of artificial intelligence software company, Rubikloud, agreed the future of retail really is about relevancy, and about using AI behind the scenes to facilitate it. In the words of Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, it’s about using tech to “quietly but meaningfully improve core operations”, he said. But more than that, it’s about optimizing decision making, which increasingly humans alone cannot do.

Walmart CTO Jeremy King, said it’s about efficiency, which ultimately means giving humans the tools to make better use of their time. As Marie Gulin Merle, CMO of Calvin Klein, reminded everyone: “Fashion is an emotional business; you still need people to shake the hearts of the consumers.”

Data regulation
Dennis Crowley from Foursquare

With a focus on data, of course comes conversation around privacy and increasingly, regulation. When the programming suggestions were submitted to SXSW last summer for inclusion in this year’s content line-up, top of mind were two major subjects within this: the GDPR regulations in Europe, and the Cambridge Analytica scandal with Facebook. Cue such continued debate come March.

Roger McNamee, early Facebook investor and one-time advisor to Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, spoke about the importance around regulation. “Users and society have not had a chance to debate whether companies should gather information and profit from people’s financial transactions, health data, or location,” he noted. An avid critic of Facebook today, he nonetheless understands the problem is endemic to a world where the most profitable business model is tracking people, using data to predict their behavior, and steering them toward the companies’ desired outcomes.

One company keeping a close eye on regulation is Foursquare, whose co-founder Dennis Crowley explained the company’s evolution from hyperlocal advertising to a business-to-business data play. “Now, Foursquare offers a base map of the world,” he said. But it refuses to sell data on individual customers in the process.

For Facebook, by comparison, the pressure around data privacy continues to heat up. Just before SXSW, Zuckerberg announced the platform will shift its focus away from public posts to encrypted, ephemeral communications on its trio of messaging apps. To McNamee, this supposed commitment to encryption and privacy reads like a stunt. “They’re not getting out of the tracking business. My problem with Facebook is not whether it’s end-to end-encrypted. It’s what are they doing with the tracking, what are they doing to invade my private spaces. I don’t want them buying my credit card history. I do not want them doing business with health and wellness apps to get all that data. I do not want them buying my location data from my cellular carrier.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren also took to the SXSW stage to address her tech regulatory proposal, announced the day before. This seeks to undo massive tech mergers that exist and introduce legislation that would prohibit marketplace owners from developing products for sale on their own platforms. “Amazon has a platform to sell you a coffee maker, but that company also sucks out an incredible amount of information about every buyer and seller. Then they can make a decision to go start a competing coffee making-selling outfit, and drive out of business everyone else in that space,” she said. McNamee revealed he’s now advising Warren as a presidential candidate for 2020, on her data regulation agenda.

For global brands, the role of data privacy is only going to continue apace. Regulation looks inevitable in the US, as it has been in Europe. The question is, how to balance that pressing consumer demand for personalization with the protection they equally expect.

Additional reporting by Larissa Gomes.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Campaigns technology

Emporio Armani creates life-like 3D printed ad

A new outdoor advertising campaign from Emporio Armani has turned to 3D printing to make its designs come to life.

The ad features a 3D version of the model’s right leg extending out of the billboard, making it seem as though she is stepping into the real world.

The effect was created by an Italian 3D printing and industrial photography company called Colorzenith, which printed the foot and a partial leg to then attach it to the billboard.

The company explains that for the project it used a Gel Dispensing Printing (GDP) technology, which differs from the more mainstream application of other polymer-based 3D printing processes.

Out of home advertising is getting a new lease of life in a digital-first world, with other brands increasingly using the medium in innovative ways.

For example last year Adidas Originals launched a campaign to promote the launch of its P.O.D. shoe, for which it set up a series of personalized outdoor ads in Los Angeles and New York, which each spoke individually to a group of influencers.

While this is new territory for Emporio Armani, the label has been expanding its focus on lifestyle and hospitality, having very recently re-launched its Empori Caffè and Ristorante in Milan, which now sits in the same building as the Armani Hotel and the Emporio Armani megastore.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick Retail technology

Mulberry launches interactive retail experience for the holiday season

The #MulberryLights installation
The #MulberryLights installation

British luxury brand Mulberry has teamed up with innovation consultancy, Current Global, to create an interactive retail installation that will travel around the UK for the festive period.

The initiative, which is tied to the brand’s #MulberryLights campaign, celebrates how light, colour, shapes and people come together to create a modern British Christmas.

It is anchored by a smart vending machine that will appear in stores in London, Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh, designed to reward participation, amplify social engagement and capture data. The experience invites users to share their lights-inspired images with the hashtag #MulberryLights, to gain instant access to the prizes stored.

The machine works by verifying that the social media share has taken place on either Instagram or Twitter. It then invites users to interact in a bespoke gaming experience through its digital portal, before rewarding them for taking part. Each day, one lucky player will win the top prize of a £1,000 gift card. Other prizes include small leather goods, stickers and festive chocolate. Every user can also enter the chance to win a further £5,000 to spend on gifts at Mulberry.

The #MulberryLights smart vending machine
The #MulberryLights smart vending machine

The experience was produced by Current Global, an innovation consultancy transforming how fashion and luxury brands intersect with technology.

Liz Bacelar, CEO of Current Global, said: “Mulberry came to us seeking a creative and interactive experience that would help drive store footfall during the holiday period. Smart vending machines are currently having a moment in retail; creating incredible engagement with fans as well as relevancy in a noisy and overly saturated market. With a portfolio of thousands of startups and top technologies from around the globe, Current Global was able to quickly identify the ideal partner to co-create the #MulberryLights concept. This is another example of how open innovation – collaboration with external partners – is the most effective route to real innovation.”

The installation will be in Mulberry’s Regent Street flagship from November 15-18. It kicks off with an immersive pop-up light experience, alongside drinks and live music while the Regent Street lights are turned on. It then travels to Leeds November 22-25, Manchester November 26-28, and Edinburgh November 29 – December 2. A second machine will also appear in New York in December.

Further stickers, fly posters and projections from Mulberry will be dotted around London, Manchester and Edinburgh, encouraging consumers to take photos and tag them on social media with the hashtag.

How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick Retail technology

Macy’s celebrates the holidays with plethora of interactive experiences

Macy's new holiday campaign, Space Station
Macy’s new holiday campaign, Space Station

Macy’s is deploying technology and personalization to celebrate the holiday season, allowing consumers to find their perfect gifts through online tools and offline experiences.

On Instagram, the American department store is creating personalized gift guides in the form of Instagram carousels targeting specific recipients, such as a user’s friend or family member. To join they will have to answer questions about their interests and price range, for the Instant Gift Guide to generate a list they can swipe through, with the final frame being shoppable.

Meanwhile on Pinterest, Macy’s is creating a 360-degree tool that allows users to experience being inside a miniature snow globe that alludes to an element of its holiday commercial, Space Station. The globe will be filled with colorful holiday decor and enable users to pan around to find gifts and inspiration hidden within the scene. Customers will be able to shop their finds as well as share wish lists and send items to themselves.

The use of technology will expand online, as the retailer promotes new ways to trial beauty and visualize furniture. In approximately 50 stores nationwide, the beauty department will introduce an augmented reality mirror for instant try-ons, which will also showcase more than 250 beauty products. The mirror experience will be triggered when the consumer looks into a camera, allowing them to try on different shades from eye shadow to lipstick.

The beauty department at Macy’s most icon store, at Herald Square in New York, is also getting a makeover with the Instagram consumer in mind: the retailer has launched a 270-square-foot space that allows shoppers to discover brands in new ways and snap and share. The space is anchored around revolving themes, with the current one, titled “Beauty on Display”, being set up as a luxury boudoir where visitors can snap photos near a claw foot bathtub as well as shop for products.

As for furniture, Macy’s is following many home goods retailers and deploying virtual reality to enable store visitors to visualize furniture in their homes. The “See Your Space IRL” experience, available in select stores, lets shoppers virtually design their living spaces and place Macy’s furniture within it. Through VR headsets, they can then step into the virtual spaces to help them make more informed decisions.

Small business showcase by Facebook and Macy's
Small business showcase by Facebook and Macy’s

Lastly, the updated Macy’s app will serve as a connected hub so customers can get their goods seamlessly. For instance, it will allow shoppers to scan items while they shop and check out through self-serve machines, thus avoiding the holiday crowds.

The retailer is also diversifying its merchandise offering in order to tap into a broader and more connected consumer. For example at its now year-old The Market @ Macy’s space at selected stores, it is teaming up with Facebook to provide small businesses and e-commerce brands the opportunity to sell in real life during the holidays.

How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick Retail

From simulators to bouncy rooms: 3 NYC pop-ups innovating the customer experience

THE ARRIVALS pop-up

In an ever competitive landscape both online and offline, retailers are upping their game to attract customers to their stores by creating more immersive and interactive experiences.

The success of initiatives including the Museum of Ice Cream and Refinery29’s 29Rooms, has resulted in brands understanding the power of experiential campaigns for engaging digital and social natives.

New York has become a hub for many such activations, and we’ve seen endless examples over the summer and fashion week season: everything from a seven-room “experience” at Winky Lux, to an interactive market that Calvin Klein created in partnership with Amazon Fashion.

More experiential stores are popping up this fall. We toured three that recently opened in Soho to check out how they’re upgrading the customer experience in a bid to compete for foot traffic and ultimately drive sales.

Cartier Parfums Pop-Up

Cartier Parfums pop-up

From workshops to an art installation, the first-ever Cartier Parfums pop-up offers lots of activities to entice customers to step inside. This is part of the brand’s strategy to celebrate the launch of their new perfume: Carat, which is inspired by diamonds.

Upon walking in, shoppers are met with a colorful wall of mantras written on postcards, inscribed with phrases like “Reveal all the carats that shine through you” and “To live it all, you have to scent it all”. Visitors can send them to anywhere in the world for free. The store also has several of the brand’s iconic red jewelry boxes, which emit the scent of the perfumes when opened, offering an “olfactory journey”.

Flower workshops, hair styling, and even scented meditations are some of the experiences curated at the store – and they are free of charge. Taking place from Friday evenings to Sunday mornings, the activities need an RSVP.

The icing on the cake, however, is a multi-sensory light installation called Mille Facettes. Store-goers step into something that looks like the inside of a baguette-shaped diamond, in which a white light is diffused into a million facets of colors, plunging the visitor into the creative mind of the perfumer. The 90-seconds experience is also a beautiful background for an Instagram photo. In addition to that, visitors get a shareable image and a video over email.

Moncler’s House of Genius

Moncler’s House of Genius concept store

Moncler’s new concept store looks like a modern art museum. It’s part of the brand’s Genius project, in which eight designers were invited to redesign Moncler’s signature down jacket. Selling genius collections exclusively, the store has eight spaces that each designer transformed into their own. All the rooms are numbered and unique, prompting curious shoppers to walk through them to see the different interactive designs.

Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli, one of the chosen designers, created a capsule collection for Moncler combining haute couture and skiwear. He took his inspiration from the renaissance period, so his space in the store displays mannequins similar to the ones seen in the Costume Institute exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Meanwhile, there is a space dedicated to the Grenoble collection, which is designed to be like the top of a ski slope, with angled mannequins that look ready to ski. There’s also Moncler’s “Yellow” collection, which is full of cult items like dog jackets – in the store they adorn statues of French bulldogs right at the entrance. Even though a typical Moncler jacket costs at least $1000, it’s easy to overlook this detail when a dog is welcoming you.

THE ARRIVALS Pop-Up

THE ARRIVALS pop-up

With the Holiday season in mind, NYC-based, digitally-native outerwear brand, THE ARRIVALS, has opened a pop-up in partnership with Dyson Supersonic. The concept is based on the intersection of where high-tech design and innovation meet functionality.

Earthy tone clothes are displayed against cushioned walls in soft millennial pink. Highly Instagramable, the space even has a wind-tunnel-meets-bounce-house, in which customers can jump while being blasted with the force of 36 high-powered DYSON fans. This is a great feature for a Boomerang-effect video.

The pop-up offers THE ARRIVALS collection Release 5.O and 5.1, in addition to limited edition items that are only available at the brick-and-mortar location. The pop-up also offers a selection of partner brands, including: Fates jewelry, BLYSZAK eyewear, Von Holzhausen handbags, and Sennheiser headphones.

After visiting all of the stores, one thing was certain: selfies aren’t going anywhere. Customers were willing to take their heels off to take pictures on the bouncy house, walked into Cartier asking for the sensorial room and Instagrammed everything in Moncler’s new store. Retailers that use unexpected physical experiences to generate buzz end up generating a ton of online traffic. As their customers would tell you: “Pics or it didn’t happen.”

How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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business Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce product Retail Startups sustainability technology

ICYMI: Chinese moguls rebooting fashion, biotech shaping the industry, smart checkouts rising

China’s internet moguls are rebooting fashion
China’s internet moguls are rebooting fashion

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • How China’s internet moguls are rebooting fashion [BoF]
  • How biotechnology is reshaping fashion [BoF]
  • Smart checkouts will process $45B in transactions by 2023, study says [MobileMarketer]
  • 5 tech innovations we’re talking about from fashion week season [TheCurrentDaily]
TECHNOLOGY
  • When it comes to technology, fashion is still a laggard [BoF]
  • How Diageo is using Amazon Echo and Google Home [Digiday]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • John Lewis invests in plastic reduction [Drapers]
  • Why does so much ethical fashion look the same? [Fashionista]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Express is the latest retailer to launch a clothing rental service [CNBC]
  • Fruit of the Loom celebrates Seek No Further with interactive shopping experience [FashionUnited]
  • Forever 21 invests in online styling service DailyLook [RetailDive]
  • Is the future of online deliveries allowing drivers access to your home? [TheIndustry]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Hollister partners with Sit With Us [WWD]
PRODUCT
  • Why mainstream brands are embracing modest fashion [CNN]
BUSINESS
  • Revolve officially files for IPO [Fashionista]
  • Walmart buys Eloquii for undisclosed amount [RetailDive]
  • Anya Hindmarch losses mount to £28.2m [Drapers]
  • Payments startup Klarna raises $20M from H&M, its second backer from the fashion world [TechCrunch]
CULTURE
  • The London Underground is getting vending machines to clean all your dirty clothes [Wired]
  • Meet the robotic museum guide that will turn art into sound for the visually impaired [FastCompany]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Events Retail

Sephora taps into beauty fandom with Sephoria convention

Sephoria: House of Beauty

In the year of its 20th anniversary, Sephora has announced SEPHORiA: House of Beauty, a two-day experience that will give beauty fanatics education, inspiration and immersive and shareable moments.

This marks the first time the retailer is joining the ever-growing Con culture of consumer-facing festivals dedicated to a single category or hobby, which so far in the beauty space has been dominated by Beautycon.

Taking place in downtown Los Angeles on October 20-21, 2018, the event will host more than 50 beauty brands throughout interactive rooms that merge the physical and the digital.

Deborah Yeh, SVP of marketing and brand at Sephora, says: “At the heart of it, SEPHORiA sets out to celebrate the often indescribable euphoria you get from playing in the vast world of beauty — from discovering game-changing products or trying out a new look to engaging with digital technology that takes personalization to a whole new level.”

Yeh adds that to build the event, the company has drawn from the insights and learnings of physical and digital experiences that Sephora clients love in stores, and created a place where its community can live out all of their beauty fantasies.

So far, the company has hinted that during the event, guests will have the chance to meet with influencers, brand founders and other industry pioneers, attend classes and take home personalized products. Brands will likely include LVMH names and Fenty Beauty, which the retailer exclusively sells in the US.

Although Sephora is the first major beauty retailer to enter the Con space, it has not become unusual for brands to deploy one-off events or museum-like experiences to promote their ethos to a new or existing fanbase. The approach works not only as a brand awareness exercise, but gives a niche – and highly-engaged – audience the chance to experience the brand through new mediums, such as education and personalization.

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Editor's pick mobile social media technology

Facebook Messenger intros AR capability with Nike as key launch partner

Nike AR on Facebook Messenger
Nike AR on Facebook Messenger

Facebook has introduced an augmented reality feature that will enable brands including Nike to offer fans more immersive experiences when speaking on Messenger.

The launch, which was announced at Facebook’s annual F8 developers conference this week, also includes other brand partners such as Sephora, ASUS and Kia.

Nike will allow superfans to buy limited-edition sneakers in AR. At the F8 keynote, the brand introduced a new pair of limited edition Kyrie Irving shoes called “Red Carpet”, which sold out within minutes of the announcement.

To access the experience, users had to speak to the SNKRS chatbot via the Messenger app by sending basketball-related emojis, which unlocked a pair of the shoes. After that, a virtual render of the Red Carpet shoe appeared on the user’s phone, which meant they could move it around to experience it in 3D, before committing to purchase.

The launch is in line with the sportswear brand’s evolving strategy towards an increasingly mobile experience. Last year, it launched an AR feature within its SNKRS app that allowed users to buy a pair of SB Dunks; to promote its Momofuku collaboration in the restaurant’s hometown of NYC, it encouraged fans to partake in a scavenger hunt across the city where shoes could be purchased by triggering AR experiences via physical posters.

Facebook Messenger AR
Facebook Messenger AR

Beyond Nike, other launches include Taiwanese electronic company ASUS, which demo’ed a feature where you can play with the ZenFone 5 to learn more about its features; Sephora, which is introducing a selection of make-up looks to virtually try-on and share; and Kia, which is giving potential customers the opportunity to customize the Kia Stinger.

For Facebook, new features allow the social media giant to further enhance its mission to deepen connections between peers and brands alike. David Marcus, head of Messenger, said at the conference: “This feature, launching in closed beta, helps people get valuable, instant feedback about purchases, and more. Developers will be able to build experiences that let people virtually customize or try-on merchandise, walk through new products, or simply express themselves in a fun way.”

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Editor's pick Retail technology

Bourjois unveils virtual try-on triggered by physical products

Bourjois Magic Mirror
Bourjois Magic Mirror

Coty-owned makeup brand Bourjois has unveiled a new smart mirror experience that enables shoppers to virtually try on make-up simply by picking up a cosmetic product in store.

Available at the brand’s newly relaunched boutique in Paris, the blended reality mirror is said to be an industry first as it integrates physical product – in this case makeup – with the augmented reality experience happening on the screen.

Shoppers can, for instance, pick up a lipstick and the chosen colour will instantly appear on their lips via the smart screen. The connected screen currently features the ‘pick up’ experience with the Rouge Velvet lipstick collection, and shoppers can then complete the digital look via onscreen eye make-up and blush, which is matched to their individual skin tones.

“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,” said Elodie Levy, Coty’s global digital innovation senior director.

“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.”

Coty’s innovation comes from research that shows that 72% of consumers want an in-store beauty experience to be a mixture of both physical and digital elements in order to feel more ‘believable’. Moreover, the company believes virtual product try-on solves other retail-related issues such as testers not being available, as well as general hygiene concerns.

To create this experience, Coty worked with London-based digital studio Holition and retail marketing experts Perch. Holition is also responsible for Charlotte Tilbury’s in-store smart mirror, as well as Rimmel London’s makeup filters on Facebook Stories, but what differs in the Bourjois experience from other mirrors, however, is that it is customizable by product, as opposed to previous mirrors that focus on looks. Holition’s FACE software also allows skin tones to be analysed, thus providing a more personalized experience.

The experience is complemented by NY-based Perch’s expertise in the mirror’s form and function, where the smart camera monitors a defined area for activity, and automatically triggers visual content.

On the future of in-store marketing, Perch Interactive CEO Trevor Sumner says it 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.”

Tapping into the digitally-connected beauty shopper’s need for peer engagement, the mirror also offers three playful filters and a feature that takes selfies, which can either be printed in-store or sent to the customer via email, which links to purchase all trialled items at Bourjois’ online channel.