With every fashion show look, there is a new lipstick colour or hairstyle instantly becoming ‘the look of the season’. While traditional print publications and word of mouth have chartered beauty trends in the past, trends are established, today, on digital screens.
The next frontier in marketing and advertising is augmented reality. With virtual try on apps and kiosks in the news and red carpet, the beauty industry is definitely keeping up with the fast-changing digital landscape.
Combining classic retail truths with digital savvy customer needs, Drupal can help beauty and fashion retailers transform the customer experience. Providing connectivity and contextual relevance to the business logic it can change both online and offline shopping experience.
Augmented reality is redefining consumer engagement.
Shopping has Changed. Businesses too Need to
The beauty industry is one of the first sectors to heavily invest in augmented reality (AR). Primarily this is taking the form of creating virtual makeup apps that are transforming how customers sample and buy beauty products.
Brands are leveraging these apps to elevate the customer experience for buyers. The most obvious way is where people can sample a range of products and see how each shade and effect looks on their face and skin, from the comfort of their homes, using these apps.
But the in-store experience is also being digitized by having these apps on the counter, as a very persuasive aid for the beauty advisors. They can help customers try out practically the entire product range, or several different looks, in a matter of minutes. This ease of use is becoming a critical element in ensuring a final purchase because:
Beauty advisors can showcase a wider range of products, increasing the chances of the customer actually finding something they like
- The customers’ know exactly how every product will look on them, taking out the uncertainty, and thus encouraging them to spend more in store
- This integrated in-store experience is what the Srijan team is creating for one of our prestige beauty clients. We’re leveraging the YouCam Makeup solution and Drupal 8 to build AR applications that customers can use at the stores, to try on various products and looks.
Drupal has been steadily making inroads into the AR space, with consumer experiences in retail as one of its first points of entry. Here’s a quick look
While that was AR for coffee, AR in virtual makeup apps gives a far more immediate and intimate experience, all managed at the backend by Drupal. Here’s a deep dive into the technology behind the scenes.
Building an AR-based Virtual MakeUp App
The goal was to build a highly engaging AR application that allows visitors to sample multiple beauty products. Ideally, solutions like these would have the following workflow:
Users have an AR application that they interact with, clicking on different shades and types of the product they want to try out:
- The application overlays the desired effects onto the users’ features
- The information on which overlay to create is drawn from the extensive and highly detailed product information added to the application backend
- Business logic around product filtering, tagging, availability and recommendations on the app are handled by a CMS
- And finally, all communication between the CMS and the AR app is ensured via APIs.
The Srijan team put this solution architecture in place using three key elements for the app and the backend CMS:
The YouCam MakeUp SDK
The YourCam MakeUp SDK brings in the AR technology that enables virtual trials of different beauty products. It has been significantly improved and advanced over time to deliver an immersive AR experience and is one of the best solutions currently available. And this was used as the base to create the virtual try-on application for our client.
SDK and Perfect Console
The Perfect Console
The second element of the solution architecture is the Perfect Console. This is a CMS that acts as the repository of all products. Every product seen on the app is created here, along with metadata on category, name, colour, finish and several other detailed product information points. It syncs with the AR application via REST APIs, to ensure that relevant product data is pulled as users try on different products.
The Perfect Console can also be used to create specific looks that combine different product effects together.
Drupal and Perfect Console
The Drupal 8 CMS
The Drupal 8 CMS is the final piece of the solution and is used to apply business logic into the application. This handles different features of the virtual try-on app:
- Information on which products are available for purchase at which stores/markets are maintained in the Drupal 8 CMS. This determines which products buyers can try out on the app at those particular stores/markets.
- Meticulous tagging of each product is done in the Drupal 8 CMS, to make them easy to search and filter based on common features.
- Product recommendations for customers, based on current and previous trials and choices, is also delivered by the Drupal 8 CMS.
- Comparing different looks side-by-side is another function achieved through Drupal 8
- Drupal 8 ensures two-way sync with the Perfect Console, so that all product information and business logic is up-to-date, and reflects correctly on the app.
- Drupal’s oAuth module is used to manage access and authorization, to ensure only relevant people can view and edit products in the CMS and in the app.
- Drupal communicates with the app via REST API to display the relevant products.
So there you have it, an AR-based virtual makeup application, built atop available YouCam solution and leveraging Drupal 8’s powerful CMS capabilities.
While this has started off as an in-store application where users can try a product before they buy it, the potential is way bigger. The application will include e-Commerce capabilities to make in-app product purchases. And all this brings in higher customer engagement and increased sales.
Looking to create compelling AR-based virtual try-on experiences? Drop us a line, and our team of experts will be in touch to explore how we can help.