Walmart is piloting Garnier's Virtual Shade Selector, a tool that uses 3D technology from L'Oréal's Modiface unit to help shoppers choose and "try on" hair color products, in 10 of its stores, according to a Garnier press release.
Garnier originally launched Shade Selector as an online tool to be accessed on retailers' websites via computer or mobile phone, but the brand is now rolling out a shelf-based version for use in-store. Garnier said it will be deployed in 37 stores of select retailers this year.
Shoppers can use the shelf-based display screens to learn about hair color product options and take a one-minute diagnostic test that leverages Modiface's technology to allow users to virtually try on a range of recommended Garnier shades, the press release stated.
Walgreens will be another retailer using Garnier's Virtual Shade Selector beginning in June 2019, and beauty advisers in those stores will be able to supplement the tool's capabilities with in-person feedback.
The retail sector has witnessed the launch of a variety of different virtual try-on applications, though most of them have been mobile app-based or web-based, at least in their original iterations. Modiface has a been the technology specialist behind several of these try-on tools, and most recently enabled L'Oreal's new artificial intelligence-based skin diagnostic tool.
Now, virtual try-on seems to be moving in-store, as retailers rely more on augmented reality and virtual reality technologies to transform the in-store experience. Helzberg Diamonds, for example, launched a virtual ring try-on tool at seven of its stores earlier this month.
Macy's has done something similar in its beauty departments, demonstrating that a beauty department, aisle or counter is where this technology might be a good in-store fit. Customers may spend a lot of time picking up different brands and putting them back as they try to decide what to buy, perhaps without having a good understanding of how a product will perform. The process takes time and can leave shoppers unsatisfied and the retailer without a sale.
The Shade Selector is an example of how in-store technology can make the shopping process quicker, easier and more satisfying. It's still relatively new technology in an in-store setting, which might be why Walmart is pursuing a relatively small pilot project. But in order to make customers comfortable, retailers may need to encourage shoppers to test it — or rather — to try it on.