EZ FACE: DOING YOUR OWN MAKEOVER ON THE INTERNET
Byline: Janet Ozzard
NEW YORK — The more a consumer can customize a site, the better its chance of survival, according to Internet gurus. EZFace, a new technology developed in Israel, allows shoppers not only to shop for goods on a site, but to see how they look on them.
“It’s a ‘Try before you buy’ technology,” said Gary Savage, a beauty-industry veteran who is chief operating officer of the new company, founded in Israel.
“I’ve been in the beauty business for 20 years, and the hardest thing has always been sampling,” said Savage. “Customers go into stores, and either a makeup artist jumps on them and slaps on a look, or they spend the day sampling different shades on their wrists and their arms. It’s even worse in the mass market, because it’s all blister pack.”
To use EZFace, a consumer takes his or her picture either by using a digital camera or via a regular photo that can then be scanned at any number of locations, such as a Kinko’s. The resulting file is e-mailed to EZFace.com, which processes the image, encrypts it and sends it back to the consumer.
The image is then stored on the consumer’s hard drive. EZFace was founded by Rami Orpaz, a communications executive, and Ruth Gal, a former vice president of finance at a software company.
“You need a code to get it off your own hard drive,” said Savage. “It’s not floating around on the Web.”
EZFace has signed its first agreement with Kirabo, a high-end jewelry and accessories e-tail site in development with offices in Rockville, Md., and Israel.
Once the shopper’s image is in the computer, it can be accessed anytime the consumer is at a site that is using the EZFace technology. EZFace reproduces skin tones fairly exactly, said Savage, and shows different intensities of color makeup.
When the user is shopping on one of those sites, she can “try on” any product, from makeup to accessories to eyewear. She can, for example, click on a blush or eyeliner to see how it looks; she can increase or decrease the density of the color, and if she wears glasses, she can see how the makeup will look behind her lenses.
Another option that EZFace offers beauty sites in particular is the ability to let customers try their seasonal looks. For instance, a customer could go to a brand’s site, click on its newest look and then click on her photo. The brand’s makeup look is then imposed over the shopper’s photo.
Once a company licenses the EZFace technology, said Savage, “We will license the technology to them and customize it so that it looks like part of their site. The customer can go onto any site that carries this encrypted technology.”
The shopping experience becomes fun, said Savage, because consumers can try different looks and communicate with friends.
“It creates a tremendously sticky site,” he said. “You are seeing makeup exactly the way it will appear on your face, or how an earring will look with your hair. You can do multiple integrations. People will stay on it forever.” Once they get to know their customers, brands could even customize gift-with-purchase options, Savage said.
This version of customized computer shopping doesn’t have to be done just at home, Savage said. A store could install a kiosk with a digital camera, and customers could take instant photos of themselves, try the looks on and then buy them.
The technology also works with accessories and eyewear companies. Shoppers also can save different looks and e-mail them to friends, or they can get friends who are online at the same time to see their image as they try different looks and do real-time chat, called “Shop With a Friend.”