At the SXSW conference and festival in Austin, Tex., on Saturday, Perfect Corp. hit the stage for WWD’s Style Lounge to talk tech — specifically augmented reality and artificial intelligence — as it applies to the world of beauty.
AR and AI are shaping the cosmetics industry, delivering data and insights for partner companies and new experiences for consumers. Developers like Perfect Corp. — with more than 550 million users across its portfolio of YouCam apps — sit at this juncture. Its software lets people digitally try on virtual cosmetics that represent real products from more than 100 brands.
The key to the company’s success and traction, said Adam Gam, Perfect Corp.’s vice president of marketing, is making the experience engaging for consumers. “There’s a really practical pain point that gets solved,” he said, remarking about the physical chore of putting on and taking off test makeup in stores, along with the uneasiness around wondering about cleanliness.
The YouCam apps were designed to take away those issues. “And it really is entertaining,” he added, emphasizing the gamification aspect. Users find that trying on different looks with YouCam is fun, he said. “There’s also a social community that sits underneath the platform — the Social Circle. We’re always looking for entertaining experiences.”
The more users there are, the more data Perfect Corp. benefits from, and its insights help to identify broad behaviors and trends. For brands, that sort of analytics is gold.
One of Perfect Corp.’s partners is Estée Lauder. Gen Obata, the brand’s vice president of retail marketing and operations, joined Gam onstage, along with Wayne Liu, Perfect Corp.’s general manager and vice president of business development.
Being a global beauty brand, Estée Lauder has a breadth and depth that allows it to constantly test innovations. “Before we launched [YouCam’s] virtual try-on, we tested it across a number of markets,” Obata said. “The results have been very positive; that’s why we made it global.”
Perfect Corp. unveiled its latest feature — a live, on-demand Beauty Advisor — in conjunction with SXSW, and Estée Lauder is one of its partners. Gam added that, for a company with 11,000 beauty consultants, the upcoming feature will also allow it to deploy beauty education across the organization easily.
Scalability matters, said Liu. In fact, it’s a crucial consideration when choosing a tech provider. “You have to make sure the technology partner can scale beyond the [proof of concept],” he said. “Always think about scalability in any kind of tech investment.”