L’Oreal announced that it has acquired augmented reality startup Modiface, a company that helped create many custom AR beauty apps, including those from Estee Lauder and Sephora.
“We acquired Modiface because we absolutely believe that services are the future of beauty,” Lubomira Rochet, L’Oréal’s Chief Digital Officer told Forbes.
“People are really craving for experiences such as virtual try-on apps, skin diagnostics and live streaming for influencers. Technology will only impact beauty more and more.”
Although the personal care company didn’t disclose the amount spent, its Chinese equivalent Meitu is worth billions of dollars. L’Oreal told Reuters that it now owns numerous patents by Modiface that help users visualize hairstyles and makeup on themselves. Modiface has already worked with L’Oreal on numerous occasions, including during the launch of its mobile app called Style My Hair, which lets users try on various hairstyles.
At the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, L’Oreal demonstrated how it’ll soon allow customers of its NYX Professional Makeup brand to book livestreaming sessions with beauty assistants, likely the ones who work at its stores already. The assistants would then work with those customers just as they would at the store’s makeup counter.
The beauty assistants, by utilizing AR, will show customers things such as what a shade of lipstick would look like on their face or if a dramatic eye look would work for them and then recommend those products. The customers can then buy the products and book future appointments to learn from the beauty assistants how to use these products.
“What we are doing with those technologies is to really mimic and recreate this really personal relationship you have with a beauty assistant at the counter,” explained Rochet. “She looks at you, understands you, has more (makeup) experience. You get into a really personal conversation so you can have a really personalized recommendation. This is exactly what we want to do with our AR experience.”
L’Oreal’s new offering will be available from all of L’Oreal’s brands.
According to Rochet, digital innovation helped with L’Oréal’s e-commerce boon: It has now passed the 2 billion euro mark, with online sales representing 8% of the company’s revenues.
At the same time, L’Oreal’s 30% growth rates over the past 5 years have been reinforced by growing numbers of tech savvy staff: The company has recruited not only 2,000 digital employees to boost its technology, but 15,500 existing members of L’Oreal have been trained via its Digital Upskilling program.
For L’Oreal, the world’s biggest personal care manufacturer with an annual revenue of over $28 billion, acquisition of Modiface might have been its first tech acquisition, but it may not be the last.