- Swarovksi, the maker of crystal products with 2,800 stores worldwide, partnered with Perfect Corp. to create holiday-themed smartphone filters that use augmented reality (AR), which overlays digital images on a real background through a smartphone camera. Perfect's app lets mobile users see how they look wearing crystal jewelry and holiday-inspired makeup, according to a press release.
- The collection of filters will be available exclusively at the #CrystalsfromSwarovski holiday pop-up event in New York, which runs Dec. 4-10. After that, the styles will be released for all users on Perfect's free YouCam Makeup and YouCam Fun apps, which are available in the App Store and Google Play.
- The in-app integration will feature three curated looks adorned with Swarovski crystals: Dragon Queen, Woodland Goddess and Eclipse. Designers Heidi Daus, Caroline Néron and Serkan Cura created the jewelry and accessories.
Swarovski's partnership with Perfect gives consumers a whimsical way to try on new jewelry designs while driving foot traffic to the crystal maker's holiday pop-up store in New York. It's also the latest example of how fashion, entertainment and emerging mobile tech can converge for a compelling mix to engage consumers, especially younger generations who are tech-savvy and generally attached to their smartphones.
Swarovski is generally dependent on mall traffic, as many jewelry shoppers like to try on the products in stores. One challenge for the brand is that mall traffic is declining with the growing popularity of e-commerce. Jewelry shoppers can now virtually sample products on their mobile phone, which could encourage foot traffic to the pop-up, stores or online. A number of these fun, interactive features have become available this year and if they prove successful, they could become more essential as the traditional retail landscape continues to shift.
AR-powered apps are becoming a key part of the retail experience, according to a report this month in the Harvard Business Review, and Apple's iOS 11, released in September, has already triggered a significant number of retail-oriented AR apps. By using AR to demonstrate products, retailers can lead their customers to more accurate expectations, more confidence about purchase decisions and better product satisfaction.
Swarovski joins other brands in demonstrating products with AR filters, especially among beauty brands like Estée Lauder, Lancôme and Sephora. Perfect has also worked with home-shopping channel QVC to let viewers try on new looks, and the tech company's 500 million app downloads demonstrate that people are becoming comfortable with AR to virtually try out new looks. Most recently, Kay Jewelers introduced a Snapchat World Lens to let users virtually try on sets of layered necklaces through a smartphone camera, in a similar fashion to Swarovski's latest move.