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Sephora pays more than lip service to mobile experience

BY Dan Berthiaume

PARIS — Specialty beauty retailer Sephora is launching a new mobile tool that eases the process of selecting a lip color.
 
Sephora is now offering a feature called Sephora Visual Artist on its existing Sephora To Go consumer mobile application. Sephora Virtual Artist utilizes a smartphone’s camera to map a user’s lip location and shape using technology developed by facial visualization provider ModiFace.
 
Customers can then swipe through more than 3,000 lip colors by brand, format or shade, and instantly see how each one looks on their own lips. Using a 3D live view that moves with them like a mirror, consumers virtually try on the colors through an interactive digital overlay on their own lips.
 
The mobile color library is inclusive of all lipsticks and lip glosses available at Sephora. Customers can also filter results by their individual skin tone using the complementary in-store Sephora/Pantone Color IQ foundation, concealer and lip color matching technology.
 
Sephora Virtual Artist also includes special mobile features like Compare Me, which lets consumers see themselves in up to four different shades on one screen in a pop art style, and Shake it Up, which selects four new shades at random each time a user shakes their phone.
 
Furthermore, images can be shared socially to garner feedback from friends or emailed with product links for future reference. Products can be saved to a “My Favorites” list or instantly added to a customer’s basket for purchase.
 
Beauty products are an intensely personal purchase decision, meaning they do not always translate well to the digital customer experience. Sephora Visual Artist is a smart step toward more seamlessly linking the virtual and physical experience of trying on lipstick and lip gloss. The social aspect is an added bonus to make the mobile consumer feel more like they are in a store with friends.
 
“We know our clients wish they could try on every lipstick in our store. Now they can – instantly and effortlessly,” said Bridget Dolan, VP of Sephora’s Innovation Lab. “Our focus is always to launch technology that provides a true benefit to our clients. With Sephora Virtual Artist, our clients can have friends vote on which shades look best on them from wherever they are. We want to make buying lipstick more fun than ever, and maybe a little addictive.”
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