Shopping network QVC is working with Perfect Corp to use the latter’s YouCam Makeup to enable real-time, augmented reality-based mobile virtual try-on's, according to a press release. The app will be used with a selection of Laura Geller New York beauty products being featured on Tuesday as QVC’s "Today’s Special Value" offering.
Prospective shoppers watching the Laura Geller broadcast event can try the app by texting "QVC" to 20800 to receive a free YouCam Makeup download link, or download it from the QVC website. The app will offer mobile trials of products featured on the broadcast, and throughout the day "shoppers will be invited to experience the products virtually through the app and complete their purchase."
The new beauty customer experience arrives after QVC and its traditional rival Home Shopping Network announced a $2.1 billion merger last month aimed at scaling up to take on Amazon and Walmart, among other retail giants.
We have seen similar augmented reality-based virtual try-on apps before. Sephora's Virtual Artist app has set a standard for beauty retailers getting into the game and Modiface has been a chief enabler of such apps. However, this might be the first time that one has been launched in alignment with a broadcast TV marketing event — QVC's "Today's Special Value." It's an interesting way to both hype up the launch and demonstrate the immediate use of the app, as it encourages users to begin purchasing while watching the show, rather than downloading the app and setting it aside to try at some later point.
In announcing their merger last month, QVC and HSN claimed to be assembling a company that would rank third behind Amazon and Walmart with a combined $12.2 billion in e-commerce and mobile commerce revenue. If it is gunning to become No. 2 or better, the new shopping network behemoth will need to continue to innovate, particularly on the mobile front — and strong marketing event tie-ins won't hurt.
However, its quite possible that QVC’s use of the YouCam Makeup was planned long before the merger was announced. Late last year, QVC announced a multi-platform (TV, website, mobile app) beauty-focused initiative called Beauty iQ, aimed at helping QVC get a bigger piece of a beauty and cosmetics retail segment that has seemed fairly immune to the problems facing other retail segments like apparel and department stores.
Also, last December, QVC appointed Todd Sprinkle as CIO, who had led efforts around the creation of QVC’s iPad. The implication in Sprinkle's appointment was that QVC would push hard to further develop a multi-platform technology strategy encompassing TV, mobile, online and social media. Between his past mobile experience and his appointment to CIO, this sort of mobile-heavy offering is probably what we should come to expect from QVC while Sprinkle leads tech efforts.