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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.

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2016: A designer meets digital year in review

Tommy x Gigi NYFW
Gigi Hadid teamed with Tommy Hilfiger for its first see-now, buy-now show at New York Fashion Week

It’s been one heck of a year… politically, economically, tragically… but in this little bubble of fashion and technology, it’s also been quite an exciting one. Top of the agenda has been discussions around the fashion calendar – debates on which designers should move to a see-now buy-now fashion week model, and what exactly that looks like. It’s been a complicated, detailed, varied topic, and one that certainly isn’t over yet, but it’s also been an interesting one when considering the technologies that can impact what these operational shifts look like.

The same goes for the role tech is set to play in making the fashion industry more sustainable. 2016 has been more of an eye-opener than ever for the damage our organisations do to the environment, and that awareness (on the consumer side especially) is only going to increase, before the effects improve.

Other technology fashion has turned more towards during 2016 has varied from virtual and augmented realities (thanks particularly to Pokémon Go), self-checkouts, connected clothing and beyond. We’re also seeing artificial intelligence gaining greater airtime, and rightly so. At this point, chatbots have been central in that conversation – experimented with this year by the likes of BurberryTommy HilfigerEverlane, SephoraeBay and more.

Here then, are our 10 most popular stories on Fashion & Mash this year. It’s a collection nodding to many of the aforementioned subjects we continue to track, as well as the role of data, evolving start-up accelerator programmes, not to mention a true upping of the stakes in the Snapchat game

Don’t forget to also check out the eight key themes we’re highlighting to know about for 2017 – many of them a continued evolution of all of the above, with a few re-prioritisations made for the coming 12 months. Thank you for reading and see you otherwise in 2017. Wishing you all a very happy New Year…

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What you missed: Blockchain in fashion, the dark side of digital luxury, Alibaba on tech’s future

Blockchain fashion
Blockchain in use at Shanghai Fashion Week

The role Blockchain will play in the fashion industry is our top story this week after it was documented from a storytelling and verification perspective at Shanghai Fashion Week by Babyghost and VeChain. The opportunity for the fashion industry at large to look to embrace it for anti-counterfeiting and provenance is brought to mind.

Meanwhile, the ongoing struggle of luxury brands has been strongly documented this past week, from the positive effect Brexit has had on the likes of Burberry to a new report from Bain/Altagamma on what’s ahead. That sits alongside insight from Luca Solca, head of luxury goods at BNP Exane Paribas, on the strategic threats of digital to luxury brands.

Also worth reading this week are predictions for the future of technology from Alibaba’s Jack Ma and an interview with Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts on turning stores into town squares. Don’t forget to also sign up for our Snapchat Masterclass before the early bird rate ends on Oct 31.

  • Blockchain technology hit Shanghai Fashion Week [Bitcoin Magazine]
  • The dark side of digital [BoF]
  • Alibaba’s Jack Ma just predicted the next 30 years of technological change [Fortune]
  • Speed, transparency and efficiency lead Blockchain’s potential for disruption [Stores]

  • If not for Brexit, Burberry would be in even bigger trouble [Quartz]
  • Luxury isn’t having a very good year [NY Times]
  • 8 experts predict the 2016 holiday shopping season [Retail Dive]
  • Is the new working? [BoF]
  • MPs unanimously back motion to strip Sir Philip Green of his knighthood [The Industry]

  • Why chat may be king of the new mobile landscape [Fast Company]
  • Fashion brand All Saints uses Instagram as a sales channel [Digiday]
  • Fendi extends life of Snapchat stories with international album [Luxury Daily]
  • Here’s how brands like Nordstrom are cashing in on Snapchat’s long-awaited API [AdWeek]
  • How Nike is beating brands like Apple and Adidas at Twitter customer care [AdWeek]

  • Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts on turning stores into town squares [Fortune]
  • Everlane mulling brick and mortar efforts [Retail Dive]

  • YOOX Net-A-Porter unveils plans for new London technology hub [Vogue]
  • Why ‘Silicon Valley Fashion Week’ is not a joke [WWD]
  • Charlotte Tilbury’s new virtual ‘magic mirror’ serves as active make-up selling tool [Forbes]
  • Shiseido partnered with Microsoft to create a make-up filter for women who telecommute [Quartz]
  • Mirror scans your face and prints the perfect make-up [PSFK]
  • Brands are testing programmatic catalogues [Glossy]

  • Your brilliant Kickstarter idea could be on sale in China before you’ve even finished funding it [Quartz]

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Charlotte Tilbury opens Westfield London store with “magic mirror” serving as active selling tool

The new Charlotte Tilbury store at Westfield London (Image: Charlotte Tilbury)
The new Charlotte Tilbury store at Westfield London (Image: Charlotte Tilbury)

In just three short years, Charlotte Tilbury make-up has become somewhat of an obsession among its fans. Heralded by the celebrities and models the namesake artist has long worked with herself, it’s transposed into the consumer market at a rapid rate, popping up with counters all around the world and a second standalone store opening in Westfield London this week.

Core to the offering from a marketing perspective is a strong digital presence anchored by beauty tutorials, an eagerness to experiment with new technologies, like virtual reality for its Kate Moss-endorsed fragrance launch for instance, and a true sense of experience in the stores themselves.

Shoppers can book makeover sessions to recreate one of the 10 signature looks Tilbury products are built around – from Bombshell to Dolce Vita. Each take around 45 minutes, and unsurprisingly, serve as an opportunity to sell the items being used, either as a package or individually.

That part isn’t a new concept for a beauty brand. What is, in the Westfield store, is a virtual mirror that aims to help the decision process for which look to go for in the first place, or indeed which items to choose if you don’t have time for one of those tutorials at all.

Sitting atop a plush burgundy seat, users can choose any one of the 10 looks to see it superimposed on their own faces on a screen in front of them, thanks to augmented reality technology from creative studio Holition. In real-time, lips, eyes even make-up on the skin is transformed and mapped to the individual’s features so they can turn their heads, look closer, even close one eye to appreciate the shades even more. From a first-hand perspective, it’s an incredibly genuine and realistic experience.

Rachel Arthur trying out the Charlotte Tilbury magic mirror by Holition
Rachel Arthur trying out the Charlotte Tilbury magic mirror by Holition

Holition’s creative team reportedly worked closely with Tilbury’s make-up artists to understand the way in which the products are applied in real-life, including how they are layered and blended.

Said Jonathan Chippindale, CEO of Holition: “We [needed] to clearly understand how make-up is applied and only then could we start to create this digitally and make the virtual look as realistic as possible… Our creatives spent many months creating and perfecting the 10 looks including colour, shape, skin tone and face tracking.”

The full range of products is available for try-on including foundation, blusher, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, lipliner, lipstick and contouring techniques. A clever button has even been added to show how the look can be transformed for night and day – a nude lip with dark eyes on the one hand, updated with a red lip for the evening for instance.

Users can then save looks to compare them, share them and even email them to themselves. Better yet, they can also choose to see all 10 looks comparatively side by side – in just 40 seconds. That’s a significant boon for anyone not sure what suits them and short on time.

Indeed, while there’s something inherently gimmicky about the majority of so-called “magic mirrors” we’ve seen in the market to-date – augmented reality try-ons often for the sake of it rather than because of the fact it really helps you make a decision – this one serves as an enormous selling opportunity for the brand.

Rachel Arthur’s 10 looks wardrobe via the Charlotte Tilbury magic mirror by Holition
Rachel Arthur’s 10 looks wardrobe via the Charlotte Tilbury magic mirror by Holition

Providing consumers with the option for a real-life make-up session remains an important one, and the heart of the Tilbury experience, but it is hoped the ability to help the decision making process along the way through the use of this digital tool, will result in greater cross-selling, not to mention customer satisfaction.

Indeed, anecdotally, one of the team members from Holition on-hand to launch the magic mirrors to press this week, said a key attendee had believed she was set on one particular look to then go and have done by a make-up artist in real-life, but the mirror completely changed her mind. The ease by which shoppers can similarly determine what they want is a promising one, they said.

On the new store, Tilbury said: “It’s make-up made easy, but also fun and engaging. I can only liken it to falling down Alice’s rabbit hole into a world of make-up enchantment – my stores are all about making make-up easy-to-use, easy-to-choose, and easy-to-shop in a luxurious theatrical, sensory environment.”

Virtual try-on isn’t a new concept in the beauty industry, with brands and retailers including L’Oréal, Rimmel and Sephora all having their own versions of augmented reality experiences to-date. Rather than full-sized physical stands, however, they have tended to be apps at this stage; tools that allow the user to independently play around with different looks and products through their mobile phone screens.

What will be interesting then, will be to see how consumers actually take to engaging with this technology in-store. There’s still a perceived barrier in the retail world for shoppers to willingly interact with screens for fear they’re not supposed to. In this instance, however, the mirrors will be used as assisted selling tools, especially to begin with, thus actively encouraged by associates.

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Digital snippets: Karl Lagerfeld’s Tumblr approach, previewing #ManusxMachina, Nike’s CDO


Your round-up of the latest stories to know about related to fashion and technology…

  • ‘World of Karl’ takes a Tumblr approach to Karl Lagerfeld’s brand [Digiday]
  • A sneak peek at the Costume Institute’s upcoming ‘Manus x Machina’ exhibit [Fashionista]
  • Why Nike has finally hired a chief digital officer [The Drum]
  • Tech is front and centre in new Neiman Marcus store [Fortune]
  • How New Look is getting its senior execs on board with artificial intelligence and virtual reality [The Drum]
  • How Fitbit’s collaboration with Public School aims to cement its place in the fashion world [Forbes]
  • John Lewis reveals how it will collapse the ‘black hole’ of customer data in its stores [The Drum]
  • Misha Nonoo marks consumer-driven fashion week move with shoppable Instagram campaign [Forbes]
  • Bergdorf Goodman gets in on instant fashion gratification act [Trendwalk]
  • Menswear brand John Varvatos boosted a new digital strategy with shoppable video [Digiday]
  • John Lewis reveals how it will collapse the ‘black hole’ of customer data in its stores [The Drum]
  • Apple and fashion: a love story for the digital ages [Vogue]
  • Beware the digital iceberg: reality goes far deeper than online sales [BoF]
  • Marketers should be hunting for a perfect product, not influencers [The Guardian]
  • The future of online retail is collaboration [Wired]
  • Are fashion’s changes putting young designers at risk? [Dazed]
  • Fashion industry scrambles to find a use for Snapchat [NY Times]
  • My little sister taught me how to “Snapchat like the teens” [Buzzfeed]
  • Wearable tech at NYFW: Emoji pins, Fitbit bands and GIF dresses [Wareable]