The beauty industry is not immune to the rapid rise of technology. Many recent innovations have changed how companies sell products, engage in manufacturing, and engage with customers.
Beauty companies that integrate technological solutions into their business models will have the edge over the competition. Because of the rise of smartphone use, consumers now demand better online and mobile services. This demand influences how beauty companies use tech. This article will explore some of the most prominent tech trends that are impacting the beauty industry.
Artificial intelligence (AI) can have many applications in the beauty industry. Algorithms can use customer data and behavior analysis to determine the best marketing strategies for certain segments and demographics.
Other AI programs can determine the best skincare regimen by weighing data gathered on your skin composition. Similar AI programs can choose the best shade of makeup for someone based on their skin tone and other factors.
Many people complain that finding the right shade of foundation for their skin is an immense challenge that often requires trial and error. Companies are trying a different approach to this problem with AI replacing traditional retail interactions.
Lancôme, a subsidiary of the French multinational L’Oreal, has a custom foundation machine named Le Teint Particulier – French for “The Particular Tint.” The shop attendant first scans your face with a colorimeter to determine your exact skin tone. The result is then analyzed by an algorithm that goes through more than 20,000 shades to pick the right one. The results of the analysis then go to a mixing machine, which makes the right foundation for your tone.
Solutions like these present an element of personalization, which customers appreciate. However, these solutions are sometimes quite expensive, and high prices may put them out of the reach of some consumers.
AI technology has revolutionized platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. Beauty brands are now turning to similar interactive tools to offer virtual “try-on” tools on their websites and apps.
A virtual try-on helps solve the same problem as color-selecting AI: personalization. With good quality face recognition and tracking technology, virtual try-on makes it possible to try different shades by applying them virtually on an image of a person’s face.
One common use of these apps is for viewing lipstick shades. These try-on apps allow consumers to see many different shades before buying them at the store or online. Some companies even allow you to make a purchase in-app.
The main challenge with virtual try-on applications is that they are not a foolproof replacement for actually trying on the products. However, they can help with the selection process and limit trial and error to a few shades instead of many options.
Smart Beauty Devices
Smart beauty devices are bringing significant advances to the world of skincare. AI algorithms play a prominent role here. Different brands have taken various approaches to smart devices, ranging from simple hand-held scanners to smartphone apps to smart mirrors.
Smart beauty devices can analyze your skin and determine its health in real-time, telling you whether you need moisturizing or specific skin treatments or solutions, such as a hydrating serum. These devices can even recommend the right kind of moisturizer for sensitive, oily, or dry skin. They can even determine the amount of wrinkling around your eyes and the best eye creams to address this issue.
As Elle MacLeman, our inhouse biochemist and skin specialist discusses, the issue with these AI programs is that they often miss underlying causes of skin health and focus on marketing rather than targeted solutions.
By using these devices, beauty brands can collect lots of data on consumers and promote specific skincare products to them. This can drastically improve the effectiveness of their marketing and, ultimately, positively affect sales revenue.
Just like the food industry, the beauty industry is looking for plant-based, organic ingredient options. There has long been an intimate relationship between food and beauty. Ingredients commonly used in foods, such as moringa, probiotics, coconut oil, and turmeric, are commonly used in beauty products as well.
The line between food and beauty products is only likely to become thinner and thinner with time, which will lead to stronger partnerships between beauty brands and farms.
Brands that are focused on sourcing natural ingredients and minimizing their impact on the environment will seek organic ingredients. This strategy is not without its issues, as some of these ingredients often face crop shortages, and less ethical brands may attempt to use greenwashing to leverage the trend without actually committing to sustainable practices or ingredients.
To address this issue, beauty companies will have to vertically integrate their business models, working closely with and even basing their entire businesses on farms. These farms can also double as labs, where the companies can test technologies and ingredients.
Marketing and Social Media
Social media plays a huge role in how beauty brands reach and sell to their customers. Instagram is a major platform for cosmetic and beauty companies.
Instagram has increased its in-app shopping capabilities, allowing companies to go entirely digitally native when marketing and selling their products. Since Instagram is essentially a photo-sharing platform, and beauty is a visual industry that depends on peer recommendations, the two couldn’t be better suited for each other.
Instagram is looking to go into e-commerce by allowing checkouts in the app. By making purchases easier on the platform, Instagram gives beauty brands the opportunity to source customers, engage them, and sell to them in one place. Augmented reality features make virtual try-ons easier, and in-app reminders allow companies to send announcements to consumers.
3D makeup (e-make up) apps allow users to download different types of makeup and enhance their digital self through filters. Many artists have bought into the trend, making different filters for users on Snapchat and Instagram, some of which have gone viral.
This is a promising strategy for beauty companies, which can create makeup filters based on their products. Consumers can “try on” these filters using their profile pictures without the commitment of buying actual makeup. It’s a great way to promote products; if consumers like how they look with the filters, they may buy the real thing. There are also innovations related to 3D printing. For example, Proctor and Gamble have the Opte wand, a makeup printer that scans the skin and applies just the right amounts of makeup to hide various blemishes on the face.