Sephora announced more augmented reality features for its Sephora Virtual Artist mobile app, including Cheek Try On and Color Match for Virtual Try On, according to a company press release.
Cheek Try On allows users to virtually try more than 1,000 shades of cheek color, while Color Match uses artificial intelligence to detect and estimate the shade in any photo and match it with lip, eyeshadow or cheek products available at Sephora.
The new features, developed by Sephora's innovation lab, go live this week along with an expanded library of curated looks available through the app.
Sephora is just one of several beauty retailers and brands that have been making aggressive digital innovation efforts to drive sales, but Sephora Virtual Artist, with its frequent updates, arguably has been leading the way over the past year or so.
This update comes just three months after Sephora added an Eyeshadow Try On feature, and around this time last year a false eyelash virtual try on feature joined the roster. In addition to its apps, Sephora has also expanded its virtual capabilities to chatbots on Facebook Messenger.
At a time when pretty much every retailer is figuring out how to best use mobile apps to drive sales — either via mobile apps, through web sites or in stores — Sephora has figured out how to use augmented reality to give customers a shopping experience — in other words, the ability to try things on. The need to test products before buying is likely one reason why many beauty consumers still opt to shop in stores.
It's just as well that Sephora is being so aggressive with this sort of technology and updating its app so frequently. The company and its fellow beauty retailers are increasingly facing encroachment on their traditional turf by department stores. The more Sephora can do to prove its facility with digital technology, the better its chances for holding on to market share as brick-and-mortar beauty counters become more common.