In a move that should be officially titled "clash of the retail trends," augmented reality firm ModiFace has integrated its simulation technology into a chatbot for Facebook.
With the aim of selling lipstick.
Using the ModiFace AR bot, shoppers can upload a picture of themselves for a "beauty chat" on Messenger. That selfie can then be modified so that users get a preview of how a particular shade of lipstick would likely look on their face.
The move is a first of its kind application on Facebook Messenger, though the company's CEO believes it will likely not be the last, as AR and facial simulation technology opens up a whole new world of digital marketing and commerce options.
The move has gotten attention as retailers are looking to find inventive and novel applications to the Chatbot integrations. While it is considered unlikely that chatbot-enabled consumer assistance will be able to replace in-person interaction and customer support, there is an increasing body of evidence that the availability of more sophisticated technological options for managing online customer contact is raising the level of customer expectations.
The gateway to that radical change may not be caused by any single retailer, but rather the readiness of messaging applications to enable chatbot services to use their applications in new and interesting ways. A couple of months ago, Facebook announced it would open Messenger to chatbot services, and ModiFace's beauty advisor and lipstick try-on simulation is one of the first results.
Which, in turn creates a market space for firms like ModiFace, which offers customer-branded AR services that are meant to work flexibly over a variety of promotional styles.