With the recent COVID-19 outbreak, many restaurants, shopping malls, and shops have 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 very clear 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. Our world experienced the same picture 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 color for their skin tone. Although they want to buy these products online, they are hesitant for clicking the “Add to Cart” button. What if they choose the wrong color? 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 behavior on social distance and hygiene rules. People have 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. AR technology uses optimized algorithms, adjusted textures, and shadows, and virtual objects 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 offers invaluable experience for users in two different options. The first is to upload a photo and try-on the products with the placement in 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 behavior changes radically during this pandemic.
With the opportunity to try the products online, brands can increase their online sales. They also offer a great customer experience and therefore decrease the product returns.