Estée Lauder proves the business value of augmented reality

The beauty company is well positioned for retail post-COVID thanks to an AR platform that lets consumers virtually ‘try on’ makeup and other products.

For years, enterprises have struggled to deliver on the promise of augmented reality (AR) in solving real-world business problems. But one organization that has embraced AR technology appears poised to buck the trend: The Estée Lauder Companies, which has deployed AR to better serve customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The 75-year-old operator of more than 25 beauty brands has built a software platform to help it get AR services to market more quickly while enabling consumers to virtually “try on” makeup without a trip to the beauty counter. The Virtual Try On (VTO) AR platform helps consumers gauge the look of lipsticks, mascaras, foundations, eyeshadows, and other beauty products before they decide to purchase them.

Consumers may access this contactless try-before-you-buy experience anywhere via their connected device of choice. Brands such as Estée Lauder, Clinique, and MAC trialed the platform last year as the pandemic made in-store experiences untenable.

Enabling consumers to try products through digital channels and share those images on social media improves customer satisfaction and broadens the consumers’ willingness to experience new products, says Chris Aidan, Estée vice president of digital technology and engineering. “Using our Virtual Try On Augmented Reality Platform, consumers are able to see the exact tone and pick  products they know are  going to look good,” he says.  

AR must solve a business problem

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