The world’s largest cosmetics company, L’Oréal, owns a unique international portfolio of 36 diverse and complementary brands ─ covering makeup, cosmetics, haircare, perfumes, and skincare. Its products can be seen across all distribution networks around the world ─ be it mass market, department stores, pharmacies and drugstores, hair salons, travel retail, branded retail, or e-commerce.
In order to sustain its 100-year-old legacy, L’Oréal fully embraces research and innovation at the core of its business strategy. The company has invested €985 million in research and innovation in 2019 alone. Technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have helped the beauty giant customize beauty experiences according to its customers’ needs through a wide range of creative solutions.
In 2018, L’Oréal announced the acquisition of ModiFace, an internationally recognized leader in the application of AR and AI in the beauty industry.
Following the acquisition, L’Oréal launched an AR- and AI-powered mobile app called StyleMyHair, which allows consumers to virtually try out different haircuts, colors and styles using their smartphones. The app uses a face tracker algorithm that detects face shape and hairstyle, while applying the desired style and virtual color on the user in real-time. Using location technology, the app displays the nearest hair salons where users can get their hair styled immediately.
L’Oréal also launched an AI-powered skin diagnostic tool called Vichy SkinConsult AI, a mobile app service that measures skin aging from a selfie. The app uses an algorithm that grades facial features against a databank of 10,000 graded images. Based on one selfie, the algorithm tracks seven major aging signs to deliver a personalized skin assessment and prescription to the user.
Earlier, in January 2020, L’Oréal introduced a smart skincare at-home assistant called Perso – a hardware and software system that creates personalized skincare formulas using AI technology. The system uses Breezometer geo-location data to assess local environmental conditions that can influence the state of the user’s skin ─ including weather, temperature, pollen, UV index, and humidity. With regular use, Perso’s AI platform can assess skin conditions over time with increasing levels of personalization.
In partnership with Google Lens, L’Oréal has expanded its AR and AI services to in-store shoppers as well. The feature is currently available only for L’Oréal’s Garnier Nutrisse and Garnier Olia hair color products. Using the Google Lens image-recognition mobile app, shoppers can point their phone cameras at the hair color boxes to activate the virtual try-on service. The app identifies the product and color and applies it virtually on the shopper in real-time.
L’Oréal also partners with the e-commerce website Amazon to allow online shoppers to virtually try on its makeup products before purchasing them. Using the front-facing camera on their mobile phones, Amazon customers can virtually try on different shades of lipstick in live videos of themselves or on their selfies.
It was reported that customers who virtually tried-on beauty products were three times more likely to purchase them. With the help of AR and AI technologies, L’Oréal’s e-commerce sales grew about 52 percent in 2019.
Very recently, L’Oréal introduced makeup recycling bins for its Maybelline brand across 1,000 branches of Tesco, Boots, Sainsbury’s and Superdrug stores across the UK. The used makeup products collected from the recycling bins will be sorted, cleaned and recycled into plastic pellets, which can be used to make other products, such as outdoor furniture.
L’Oréal uses location technology through the store locator feature on Maybelline’s website, to promote the availability of the recycling stations. Using the ‘Makeup Recycling Locations’ filter, customers can easily find the nearest makeup recycling locations near them.
It is well known that L’Oréal was one of the first brands to utilize location technology in its marketing activities. Even as far back as in 2013, L’Oréal had teamed up with CrowdOptic, Cundari and Location Based Marketing Association (LBMA) to use location-based AR to create a ‘virtual art gallery’ experience at the Luminato Festival in Toronto. The event created the first ever human heat map logo in the world.
With a dedicated research team of over 4,000 employees, L’Oréal is constantly accelerating its drive for research and innovation, reinventing beauty experiences around the world for the consumers of tomorrow.
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