- Color&Co, L'Oréal's direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand for at-home hair coloring, added augmented reality (AR) technology to its website to let customers virtually sample new hair colors before placing an order. The "See Yourself in Color" feature works with an uploaded image or in a live photo through a phone or desktop camera, according to details shared with sister publication Mobile Marketer.
- Customers view a side-by-side view that shows a before-and-after shot of the hair coloring, which they can share on social media to get input from friends and family. After the virtual try-on, they can complete a video consultation from Color&Co's team of professional stylists or take an online quiz to determine their ideal hair color goals.
- L'Oréal's virtual try-on tool relies on AR technology developed by Modiface, which the cosmetics giant bought last year for an undisclosed amount. L'Oréal introduced Color&Co in May as a DTC brand that sells at-home hair coloring.
By overlaying digitized coloring on a shoppers' hair, Color&Co can more effectively demonstrate its products and increase the likelihood that consumers are satisfied with their purchase. Improved customer satisfaction can help Color&Co stand out in the $1.4 billion at-home hair color market, per Nielsen data cited by L'Oréal, especially as up to 70% of at-home hair dye users aren't sure which color works best for them.
The addition of an AR try-on feature for Color&Co indicates that L'Oréal's acquisition of Modiface continues to reap benefits for the beauty giant. The Modiface purchase in 2018 was the first time that L'Oréal bought a tech company after years of scooping up other beauty brands like Redken, Kiehl's and Matrix.
L'Oréal in June brought Modiface's AR technology to Amazon via virtual lipstick shades in yet another move toward digitizing its commerce capabilities and meeting consumers on their preferred platforms.
Color&Co is the latest beauty brand to adopt AR technology to enhance the customer experience. DTC beauty brand Younique last month introduced its "Younique Beauty Guide" to let mobile users try on products from seven cosmetics categories before making a purchase. Modiface's rival, Perfect Corp., rolled out its "YouCam for Web" feature in July that helps consumers test products via AR.
DTC brands like Color&Co aim to reach consumers who prioritize conveniences like mobile shopping, in-store pickup and home delivery. Almost half of consumers now purchase from disruptor DTC brands, per a study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau that found these shoppers tend to be younger than consumers who shop traditional brands.
L'Oréal is among the established marketers that aim to reach these consumers with a DTC brand, especially as rivals like Madison Reed adopt similar AR technology to demonstrate its at-home hair coloring products. Other companies are buying DTC brands to avoid losing out to startups that are building a following among younger consumers. Edgewell Personal Care, which owns brands like Schick razors, in May announced its plan to acquire DTC razor startup Harry's for $1.37 billion. Similarly, Procter & Gamble recently acquired the DTC marketer Walker & Company, which promotes grooming lines for men and women with textured hair, as well as the purpose-driven feminine care products maker This Is L.