Sephora: Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence & Future of Beauty

Sephora: Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence & Future of Beauty

Beauty companies have traditionally relied on sales from department stores to drive revenue. However, if you want to stay relevant in the beauty industry today, you have to use technology to your advantage to enhance the customer experience. Sephora provides a prime example for achieving this feat.

Sephora is no ordinary beauty retail chain. The company has morphed into a juggernaut that is taking beauty to the next level via its in-depth use of advanced technology, including augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI). And it’s shaping the beauty industry’s future. Here’s how:

Virtual Makeup Try-Ons

When you make your products and services easy for customers to use or try on, then you can enhance your customer’s shopping experience. Sephora knows how to take simplifying the shopping experience to the next level thanks to its AR-powered Sephora Virtual Artist. Customers can use this tool to try on a variety of the beauty retailer’s products, including eyeshadows, lipsticks, blushes and even false lashes. This virtual assistant works by using AR to scan the face of its users so they can try on makeup.

Staying Innovative Means Better Shopping Experiences

To enhance your customer’s shopping experience, it’s important to stay on the innovative, and that means focusing on digital solutions. Sephora’s lab in the Dogpatch District of San Francisco is constantly on the cutting edge of technology. Here, you’ll find an “army” of lab assistants, researchers and other key stakeholders on the move to test and develop new products that leverage AR and AI. The company opened up its Innovation Lab in 2015, which is comprised of executives from various industries, including technology, marketing and product development. This team of executives plays an integral role in sourcing, testing, evaluating, launching and developing the innovative technologies that help enhance the customer experience both online and in Sephora stores. It’s part of why Sephora is touted as the top specialty beauty retailer.

Transforming the Beauty Customer’s Shopping Experience with AR and AI

AR and AI will continue to transform the customer’s shopping experience, and Sephora continues to push the envelope with its innovations. From scented sampling to AI-powered skin foundation matching, the company continues to focus on its customers by giving the tools its customers need.

One of the key components of knowing which direction to go is to focus on your customer. Sephora continues to do this and has enhanced its customers’ shopping experiences because it keeps its customers’ wants and needs at the core of the solutions the company provides. Since Sephora’s customers continue to be digitally-dependent, the company focuses on using technology to enhance the customer experience.

Adding Value Via Education and Inspiration

The customer experience is also enhanced when you can provide value, and Sephora has managed to accomplish with the help of AI and technology. The store offers classes and workshops in its concept stores where beauty shoppers can receive tutorials and inspiration for different looks they want to achieve. Sephora enhances the customer experience further by equipping customers with iPads in its stores where they can access the Virtual Artist.

To amplify customers’ fragrance experience, Sephora developed the Fragrance IQ system. This system allows shoppers to answer a questionnaire on an in-store digital screen to find a fragrance match based on perfume preferences and lifestyle. Through its partnership with cloud-based scent system Inhalió, they then developed the sensory technology InstaScent, which uses a dry air delivery system to let users explore fragrances emitted from a nozzle. Customers can now smell up to 18 scent families without needing to try them on.

Personalization Powered by AI

With the help of artificial intelligence, you can personalize the shopping experience for your customer. Sephora was able to achieve this with Color IQ. This shade-matching technology helps Sephora shoppers find the ideal foundation that matches their skin tones. One of the biggest issues with shopping online or via a mobile device is being able to find products in the hue of your choice. This becomes even more troublesome when a shopper is trying to match a foundation to her skin tone. With Sephora’s Color IQ, the shopper’s experience is personalized because she can now find a shade that works best for her or matches closely to her skin tone rather than a standard or pre-determined shade. The technology is science-based and is a partnership the company has with Pantone. With the help of Pantone, Sephora was able to create technology that its shoppers can leverage to find the right shade of foundation.

Enhancing Customer Interaction

It’s crucial to get customers to engage with the products and services you sell if you want to increase your sales and, ultimately, improve your bottom-line profits. Sephora’s achieved this via its continuous drive to use advanced technology, such as AI and AR. As a result of using its Color Match, Virtual Assistant tools and enhancing its mobile app and in-store shopping experiences, Sephora has been able to improve customer interaction. The company has experienced more than 8.5 million visits to its Sephora Virtual Artist feature since its launch.

Final Thoughts

Sephora’s journey into AR and AI is just the beginning of how far beauty retailers can enhance the shopping experience when using advanced technology. By exploring and leveraging AR and AI, you can also help shape the future of the beauty industry and enhance the customer experience.