NYX Professional Makeup is partnering with Samsung for an in-store virtual reality experience, according to a company press release. NYX said it will use Samsung's Gear VR Controller technology, which is powered by Facebook's Oculus platform, to create virtual makeup tutorials.
The "Impossibly NYX Professional Makeup" experience, as it's been dubbed, gives customers access to three makeup tutorials led by video bloggers Kristen Leanne, Mykie (or "Glam & Gore") and Karen Sarahi Gonzales, followed by a discount on the featured items.
The experience will be available starting Dec. 18 at select stores, and the brand, part of L'Oreal, is planning a larger rollout over the course of 2018, with the aim being to create a more personalized experience for customers.
Beauty as a sector has been on the forefront of in-store technology experiences. That being said, the big technology focus for beauty retailers in the past has been augmented reality, not virtual per se.
Sephora's Virtual Artist feature and QVC's partnership with YouCam Makeup, for example, both give shoppers the ability to try on makeup through mobile augmented reality apps, meaning users could test out products quickly and efficiently, without the hassle of physically applying and removing them. MAC Cosmetics rolled out a similar experience in stores, releasing an AR try-on mirror that focused on eye makeup just a few weeks ago.
ModiFace, a tech company that has been deeply involved with augmented reality use in the beauty market, also announced a platform back in August that performs virtual skin consultations — another signal that beauty is shifting towards a more tech-heavy experience.
For that reason, NYX's virtual reality experience isn't out of place in the category — and it could actually do quite well with the level of shopper interest in VR technologies. But it is a step beyond what most others are doing. And according to Mehdi Mehdi, vice president of digital at NYX, the brand has future plans for the technology, which he calls "the new frontier in the beauty industry."
"Our community is passionate about their connection to beauty influencers, and Samsung's Gear VR technology provides our customers with a level of immersion and proximity to their favorite beauty vloggers that they've never experienced before," he added.
And indeed, beauty does seem to be a category where technology has been embraced. Retailers need look no further than a Sephora store to see how it's changed the shopping experience. Whether virtual reality will provide the same genuine utility to shoppers that augmented reality has so far is uncertain, but it comes as little surprise that the beauty sector is one of the first to test it out.