With the recent COVID-19 outbreak, many restaurants, shopping malls, and shops are closed down while most of us remain in social isolation in our homes. But despite this, people’s urge to shop did not go anywhere. When you look at the search volume of famous cosmetic brands on GoogleTrends, you can see that there is no decrease, even an increase compared to last year. People want to continue shopping, buying makeup; they just want to do it from their homes.
Although we hope to return to our normal lives when this pandemic is over, we have to accept that the concept of “normal” has changed. It is predicted that people will not feel comfortable in crowded environments like before, they can avoid crowded stores, and they will continue online shopping after getting used to it the COVID-19 outbreak. The same picture was experienced in the SARS pandemic, and there was a noticeable increase in online shopping after SARS ended.
Purchasing cosmetic products online does not meet the consumers’ needs and lacks alongside the offline experience. Consumers prefer to go to stores to test products and choose the right colour for their skin tone. Although they want to buy these products online, they are hesitant about clicking the “Add to Cart” button. What if they chose the wrong colour? Will they be able to return the product after they open and try it at their home?
Besides that, there is another problem that will affect the makeup industry, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, which is hygiene. This pandemic is changing our behaviour on social distance and hygiene rules. People started to be more careful with their daily hygiene; therefore, even if they go to makeup stores, they will stay away from the testers with the fear of catching any disease.
Fortunately for beauty brands, it is now effortless to solve this problem with an AR supported solution: Virtual Try-On.
Virtual Try-On is based on augmented reality technology. Augmented reality is basically a virtual reality where users can experience a computer-generated atmosphere. By using optimized algorithms, adjusting textures, and shadows, virtual objects are superimposed on the real image. Recently, we have been experiencing this technology on Instagram and Facebook’s AR Face Filters. With the integration of AR into cosmetic brands, every cosmetic product that comes to mind, from the foundation to eyeliner, can be try-on virtually. Virtual try-on technology can be offered to users in two options: The first is to upload a photo and try-on the products with the placement on this photo. Another option is to try the products in real-time via a computer or phone camera. Virtual try-on technology can be integrated into e-commerce sites, mobile applications, or smart mirrors. This technology can save the beauty industry as consumer behaviour changes radically during this pandemic.
With the opportunity to try the products online, not only online sales will increase, but also it will eliminate the customer’s hesitation in cosmetic products that do not have the possibility of return.