Sometimes more is more.
That’s the case with ModiFace E-Commerce, a new tool the Toronto-based creator of virtual makeover technology will unveil today.
Rather than individual products, the tool, which can be integrated into partner Web sites and mobile apps using three lines of code, focuses on multiproduct looks.
After landing on a product page and trying on, say, a single lipstick or eye shadow using a model’s photo supplied by ModiFace or a selfie she uploads, a shopper can quickly click through suggested sets that complete the look with additional products and render the resulting combination on her preferred image.
Next, she can add the look to her shopping cart and check out to buy.
It’s more than a matter of up-selling. Online and on mobile devices, selling multiple makeup products that work together may actually be easier than convincing shoppers to spend on a single item — especially when it’s a cosmetic brand or hue she has not used in the past.
Says ModiFace chief executive officer Parham Aarabi, “Maybe they have this eye shadow that they’ve tried on, but what we found is that if you, in that moment, tell them that you can complete this look with this combination of blushes and lipsticks, the interesting thing is, they’re much more likely to buy the bundle than an individual product.”
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The results from ModiFace beta tests of the technology bear this out.
“ModiFace’s tech has been a good fit, and the initial tests that we have done on the e-commerce side indicate significant potential,” Slate Cosmetics’ Gentry Ford told WWD.
Slate Cosmetics was one of three partner companies to test the technology before today’s unveiling. ModiFace declined to name the two other partners who participated in the beta test, but said the e-commerce tool increased its testers’ online and mobile conversions by 158 percent.
It’s an attempt to leverage digital photo visualization technology to address an age-old hurdle in the beauty market: Convincing consumers to spend on cosmetics they haven’t bought before. While free samples and retail testers have long been the industry’s answer to the challenge of new product discovery, virtual try-on tools are slowly ushering in an alternative with appeal to always-connected Millennial shoppers.
So far, virtual makeovers and try-on tools have largely been marketing plays that aid product discovery and encourage sharing on social media. But now that smartphone cameras are increasingly capable of capturing high-quality images and consumers continue to embrace taking and sharing selfies, the potential for virtual try-on tools to emerge as online and mobile sales drivers is real, said Euromonitor beauty and personal-care analyst Nicole Tyrimou: “As applications of trying on makeup and hair styles increase in popularity, so will consumers’ trust in the technology, thus their power as a purchasing tool will increase, too,” she said.
With about five percent of global beauty sales taking place online today, compared to more than 10 percent of apparel and footwear sales worldwide, according to Euromonitor International, it is clear there’s ample growth potential for online and mobile sales in the cosmetics industry.
Tapping into that potential will mean “beauty brands and retailers believing that something like this works,” said Aarabi, who noted that many major players in the cosmetics industry have been slow to embrace new technology as a strategy for increasing online and mobile sales.
Despite that, ModiFace has managed to grow organically except for a $500,000 seed round of funding secured in 2008.
The firm reports year-over-year growth of 82 percent, with its technology currently reaching 3.6 million monthly active users who upload about 10 million photos each month. Among its 40 makeup and skin care partners are L’Oréal, Cover Girl, Sephora, Inglot and Make Up For Ever.