Brands Look to AR for a New Face for Shopping

During the pandemic, traditional work environments underwent a transformation into virtual settings, pushing retailers to explore inventive methods to maintain relevance and strong connections with their consumers. This need for innovation persists even today, driving retailers to seek new avenues to engage and connect with their audience.

In today’s evolving retail landscape, it is key is to establish a meaningful presence in consumers’ daily lives, resonating with them beyond the confines of brick-and-mortar stores or online platforms.

The effort allows company’s to forge deeper connections with their customers, enhance their brand identity, and ultimately drive long-term profitability.

Maybelline Leverages AR and Microsoft Teams

Cosmetics brand Maybelline New York has introduced its collection of virtual makeup looks in partnership with Microsoft. The collaboration aims to provide a novel approach to prepare for video calls, ushering in a new era of virtual beauty experiences.

“Maybelline’s mission is to give everyone self-confidence to express their beauty. Whether you are working in-person or virtually, feeling good about yourself can help put your best foot forward,” said Trisha Ayyagari, global brand president of Maybelline New York. “That’s why we partnered with Microsoft Teams to develop virtual makeup looks — now even on the busiest day, you can put makeup on with just a click. We hope we make people’s lives a little easier.”

With the Maybelline Beauty App integrated into Microsoft Teams, users can customize their personal style during Teams meetings. This feature allows for quick adjustments directly within the meeting interface. The virtual makeup looks, serving as a low-barrier gateway, enable users to explore diverse styles, promoting the democratization of makeup. 

In partnership with the Geena Davis Institute, Maybelline leverages the advanced Modiface AI to offer users an array of makeup looks tailored to enhance their appearance during meetings. This collaboration seeks to represent a diverse population, promoting inclusivity. By embracing this technology, Maybelline endeavors to empower users to experiment with makeup styles.

“At Microsoft, empowering people through technology is at the core of what we do,” said Nicole Herskowitz, vice president, Microsoft Teams. “The new Maybelline Beauty App in Microsoft Teams is a great example of how, together with our partners, we are giving people more ways to express themselves in hybrid work environments using the power of AI.”

Brand Success: Becoming Household Names

When you think of a facial tissue or napkin, you may think of Kleenex. When you think of request a ride to the airport, you may think of Uber, and when you want to search for something online you may think of Google.

Maybelline’s foray into Microsoft Teams might appear like an unexpected move, seemingly far removed from the familiar world of cosmetics and personal care products. However, this venture represents a strategic step taken by the company to leverage the power of technology and digital platforms to bolster brand exposure and provide consumers with an empowering makeup experience. The ultimate ambition behind this initiative is to etch Maybelline’s name as synonymous with makeup in the minds of consumers worldwide.

As businesses, professionals, and individuals use Microsoft Teams for meetings, presentations and collaboration, Maybelline’s presence within the platform offers an opportunity for the brand to introduce makeup-related content directly to potential consumers.

Furthermore, this digital strategy enables Maybelline to gather valuable data and insights about its consumers’ preferences, behaviors and interests. By studying user engagement with the makeup content on Microsoft Teams, the brand can fine-tune its marketing efforts, product development and future collaborations.

Pushing AR Adoption

While Apple’s Tim Cook is betting his legacy on augmented reality (AR), solution providers are seemingly willing to make the same bet. Providers like Google and Perfect Corp. are looking to push the augmented experience to gain market share. Google is extending its services to merchants at no cost, while Perfect collaborates with clients to explore novel applications of makeup and other verticals, including the travel industry.

Read more: Virtual Try-on, Clothing Rentals Get Boost With Consumer Travel Plans

Consumers are also inching their way to the feature, particularly Gen Z.

Following a 20% reduction in its workforce last year, Snapchat made a strategic shift, emphasizing AR. The company reevaluated its investments and focused solely on initiatives aligned with its AR-centric approach, streamlining its direction and priorities.

According to numbers presented after Snap’s initial quarter of 2023, Snapchat recorded an average of 383 million daily active users. At the time, the company boasts a user base of over 750 million monthly active users. With its widespread global reach, Snapchat claims to connect with over 75% of individuals aged 13 to 34 in more than 20 countries. The company also shares that, on average, more than 250 million Snapchat users actively engage with AR Lenses on a daily basis.