Sally Beauty Holdings this week expanded its ColorView AI Technology that allows customers to virtually try hair color and cosmetics before purchasing them. The feature will be available on the Sally Beauty app and in 500 Sally Beauty stores in the United States.
Through the use of AR and AI technologies, consumers will be able to test out select shades of products and be given recommendations from Sally Beauty's assortment of brands, including Arctic Fox, Wella and Ardell.
Products are automatically added to a shopping list once a customer tries them on virtually, allowing them to purchase or save an item for later. Customers who use the feature also receive recommendations for complementary accessories like gloves, brushes or dye bowls.
Beauty retailers are focusing on digital features to attract consumers, and Sally Beauty seems to know exactly what its customers want with its augmented reality expansion. "Sally Beauty customers over-index on mobile phone shopping and are hair color enthusiasts," JC Johnson, group vice president of digital commerce, strategy and insights, said in a statement. It's far from the only retailer to focus on digital to boost sales of cosmetics and hair color.
Ulta announced last year that it would slow physical store expansion plans in favor of a focus on digital, well after rival Sephora dipped into augmented reality with its Virtual Artist mobile app to allow virtual try on and color matching.
But stores aren't the only ones playing with virtual try-on: The popular YouCam Makeup app from Perfect Corp., which boasts more than 700 million users, allows for testing of products from more than 200 beauty brands. And L'Oréal-owned Modiface has launched AI-powered skin diagnostic technology that allows customers to get treatment advice based on their uploaded selfies.
Sally Beauty's app only debuted in June 2019 (for comparison, Sephora's Virtual Artist app launched in summer 2017), but the company reported that the app has been downloaded more than 550,000 times. One of the major features of the app at the time of launch was allowing customers to track their loyalty rewards. Sally also revamped its website this spring for a mobile-first focus, and began to allow customers to shop via Instagram feed and make purchases with Apple Pay.
The strong digital focus appears to paying off for the beauty retailer. Sally Beauty on Thursday reported that fourth quarter e-commerce sales increased 27.4% year over year.