Test out make-up on social media before buying

L'Oreal is pairing up with Facebook to roll out virtual tests for shoppers to see how they might look in different lipsticks or eyeshadows.
L'Oreal is pairing up with Facebook to roll out virtual tests for shoppers to see how they might look in different lipsticks or eyeshadows. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS • Maybelline's parent company L'Oreal wants to connect more often with customers worldwide.

To add polish to its bottom line, it is pairing up with Facebook to roll out virtual tests for shoppers to see how they might look in different lipsticks or eyeshadows.

The move will lay a stronger foundation to support its move to drive more sales online and through social media networks.

Cosmetics firms, including L'Oreal rival Estee Lauder and retailers like LVMH's Sephora, are investing heavily in technology, in an age where selfies and beauty bloggers have helped shift the industry on to the Web.

France's L'Oreal, the world's biggest cosmetics group, bought Canadian augmented reality and artificial intelligence specialist ModiFace in March.

It said recently that the Toronto-based company had teamed up with Facebook to develop augmented reality experiences on the platform for L'Oreal brands, starting with NYX and including Urban Decay, Lancome and Yves Saint Laurent.

Customers will eventually be able to try on anything from foundation shades to eyebrow shapes and hues, said L'Oreal's chief digital officer Lubomira Rochet, adding that the virtual tests helped the company to clinch more sales.

Social media networks had become the biggest growth driver of online sales for L'Oreal in terms of attracting shopping traffic, though purchases are redirected to take place on the brands' own sites or third-party online retailers, Ms Rochet said.

The French company said e-commerce revenues reached 9.5 per cent of all its sales in the first half of this year, up from close to 5 per cent three years ago.

The virtual testing technology should eventually be rolled out on Facebook's photo-sharing networking site Instagram, Ms Rochet said.

In China, where Facebook is blocked, she added that L'Oreal was talking to other partners about similar deals, but without naming them.

Luxury goods groups in China do a lot of business through Tencent's messaging and networking site WeChat.

Facebook said it had begun testing augmented reality in advertising as of last month, with Sephora and brands like fashion group Michael Kors.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2018, with the headline 'Test out make-up on social media before buying'. Print Edition | Subscribe