BEAUTY CARE

Estée Lauder adds chatbot to e-commerce offerings

BY David Salazar

NEW YORK — Estée Lauder is expanding its omnichannel reach and its partnership with ModiFace by bringing a conversational lipstick advisor to its flagship brand’s e-commerce offerings.

With the chatbot, Estée Lauder shoppers can search for and virtually try on the full assortment of Estée Lauder’s lipstick shades, take a quiz that will provide personalized shade recommendations based on the shopper’s preferences and perform a search by color, allowing them to search for lipsticks based on any photo.

The new chatbot is the next step in Estée Lauder’s partnership with ModiFace, which started with the May rollout of augmented reality virtual try-on technology on the company’s e-commerce product pages. The chatbot will allow users to explore and interact with Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Envy Sculpting lipstick and its new Pure Color Love lipstick.

"We see Augmented Reality as an essential layer of interaction between beauty customers and brands,” ModiFace founder and CEO Parham Aarabi said. “Estée Lauder is among the leaders in embracing the notion of AR being used everywhere. We are very excited by the latest step in our partnership, and look forward with great excitement to the many steps that together we have in store for the near future.”

The ModiFace partnership is an extension of the company’s efforts to use technology to meet consumer needs by leveraging technology, Estée Lauder said. 

“One of the key pillars of our partnership with ModiFace is the application of Augmented Reality and AI across all platforms where customers interact with our brand,” Estée Lauder global brand president Stephane de La Faverie said. “Messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger are the perfect platform for consumers to search, explore, try-on, and ideally purchase Estée Lauder products.”

Anyone with Facebook Messenger can access the chatbot through m.me/esteelauderlipartist.

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Retailer Brandless makes a brand play for no-frills value online

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO — The retro value-oriented online retailer Brandless swung open its (virtual) doors for business on Tuesday, featuring a bevy of nameless, national-brand equivalent products all retailing for a flat $3.

It's a counter-movement to today's retail brand progression that has evolved from the NBE, black-and-white label store brand options of decades past to "own brand" adaptations that seek to rival the innovation and appeal of brand name products.

"Today, 7-11-2017, is our starting line," noted founder Tina Sharkey in a blog on the Brandless site. "Our everyday essentials collection — aka the things you use all the time — just launched with an extensive array of awesome products, from snacks to soap to serving spoons. All for just $3."

Helping to streamline the back-end is a limited selection, Sharkey noted. "We’re not overwhelming you with options (there aren’t 100 pasta sauces to compare, there are three) or forcing you to over-consume (no need to stock up to save, you can get great value buying just one)," she shared. "We don’t want you to spend your time and energy trying to figure out the difference between 20 different Italian dressings or hunting for the best deal. We’re bringing you an edited assortment of better products at a fairer price."

To help market that no-frills packaging, Sharkey shares with potential consumers the concept of the "BrandTax," otherwise known as the "hidden costs you pay for a national brand often associated with production and retailer margin," she wrote. "We’ve been trained to believe these markups increase the quality of the product, but they rarely do. And those markups seriously add up. In fact, you pay an average of 40% more to have a big-name brand on the label."

In addition to delivering value through its "brandless" promise, the company donates a meal to Feeding America with every Brandless order. "At Brandless, we care about kindness and generosity, we care about trust and honesty," Sharkey wrote. "[W]hile $3 is a great starting point in making better stuff accessible to more people, we know that doesn’t include everyone," she noted. "Though today is our official launch day, we’ve already donated thousands of meals thanks to the early believers in the Brandless promise."

 

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L’Oréal ups omnichannel strategy by joining YouCam Makeup app

BY David Salazar
 
NEW YORK and CLICHY, France — L’Oréal and Perfect, the company behind augmented reality beauty app YouCam Makeup, on Monday announced that the app would be integrating collections from L’Oréal’s brands worldwide through a new partnership. 
 
L’Oréal said that using the app at L’Oréal counters in-store, coupled with the possibility for beauty shoppers to access the looks through the app, was a way to create a seamless online-to-offline customer journey. 
 
“The Perfect Corp.-L’Oréal partnership accelerates on building omnichannel services to enhance the consumer experience at every touchpoint,” L’Oréal chief digital officer Lubomira Rochet said. “Virtual make up, live streaming, augmented reality shopping are key features in a modern beauty journey that mixes online and offline. These services delight our consumers and increase conversion rates for our brands.”
 
Perfect last week shared research from a yearlong study of YouCam Makeup users, which found that app users were 1.6 times more likely than non-users to buy cosmetics, and that overall its users spend 2.7 times more on beauty products than non-users. 
 
“We are delighted to partner with the beauty industry leader L’Oréal to offer a seamless makeover experience that brings brand products to life through AR technology,” Perfect CEO Alice Chang said. “This partnership allows beauty fans around the world to experience L’Oréal products like never before and represents a significant milestone that transforms the way consumers discover, try and buy beauty.”
 
The partnership between the two companies began with brands L’Oréal Paris and Yves Saint Laurent in Japan, with the first phase beginning at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The two companies showcased 64 virtual beauty looks for fans in the United States, India, Mexico and Russia to try in the app. 
 

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