- Condé Nast's Allure magazine partnered with Perfect Corp., the developer of augmented reality (AR) activations for beauty products, to integrate virtual try-ons into its November issue, according to a press release. The AR-powered experience will be available in the publisher's "Ultimate Guide to Shopping" that hits newsstands Oct. 20.
- To see the AR features, smartphone users can scan a QR code in the issue to download Perfect's YouCam Makeup app for free. The app, which overlays digital images of makeup on the live selfie view of a smartphone camera, will showcase beauty products featured in the magazine.
- The AR experience not only showcases products used for the Allure's cover look, but also includes "Michelle's Most Wanted," the top choices from Editor-in-Chief Michelle Lee. The news shows how the publisher is evolving its holiday content strategy to meet shoppers on the mobile channels where they're spending more of their time.
Allure's collaboration with Perfect, billed as the first of its kind, shows how publishers can provide a more engaging experience for their readers by leveraging mobile tactics, including QR codes and AR, that are increasingly used to try on products and complete purchases online. Allure designed the issue around the shopping integrations, recognizing that in-person trips are on hold for many consumers.
The holidays are a crucial period for lifestyle- and fashion-oriented magazines like Allure, but will also be unusual this year as the coronavirus pandemic upends typical retail and puts a bigger spotlight on digital and mobile. While COVID-19 will prevent many people from testing makeup brands in stores, Allure's AR content looks to partly supplant the in-person experience for homebound consumers. For Perfect, the partnership could drive new downloads of its app and grow its audience in a hyper-competitive beauty space that has been thoroughly disrupted by the virus.
Personal safety is a key issue for shoppers, especially consumers of beauty products. The percentage of women who said they felt unsafe trying on beauty products hovered around 80% from April to July, according to a tracking survey by retail analytics company First Insight. That percentage is higher than the 68% of women who said they felt unsafe trying on clothing in dressing rooms, and 61% who were wary of trying on shoes.
Perfect's collaboration with Allure is the startup's latest effort to boost downloads for its YouCam Makeup app that offers virtual makeup try-ons, online shopping and livestreams of makeup tutorials, along with the ability to share beauty looks with other users. YouCam Makeup users are 1.6 times more likely than non-users to buy beauty products and typically spend 2.7 times as much, per a study commissioned by Perfect.
The company this year has undertaken efforts to expand its business clientele, including by offering free AR experiences to brands, web subscriptions and product listings in YouCam Makeup. Perfect also recently released software tools to help brands showcase products on messaging app WeChat.
Other publishers have adopted AR as a means to spice up their output in print and online. The New York Times and Meredith have added AR features to their mobile apps to make both narrative stories and advertisements stand out.