In 2019 the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has acquired InfinityAR, an Israeli company active in the field of virtual / mixed reality with which it had a partnership since 2016. Alibaba had already shown interest in virtual reality in 2016, when it decided to put its money in Magic Leap and to open a research center in China to develop solutions for virtual reality to be implemented within its own e- commerce.
Alibaba, like many other giants, thinks that the future of online shopping will be heavily influenced by the adoption of AR solutions, and this is particularly true for beauty sector.
What is augmented reality?
As defined by AREA, augmented Reality refers to any technology that “augments” the user’s visual (and in some case auditory) perception of their environment. Typically, digital information is superimposed over a natural, existing environment. Information is tailored to the user’s physical position as well as the context of the task, thereby helping the user to solve the problem and complete the task.
Unlike Virtual reality (VR), AR is not a simulation of reality – rather, it integrates and adds value to the user’s interaction with the real world.
AR has moved beyond gaming into industries like manufacturing, healthcare, fashion and beauty.
In fact, when stores closed due to the COVID emergency, brands and retailers engaged more and more consumers via augmented reality and virtual reality applications, simulating the real-life beauty counter with virtual makeup try-ons, livestreaming and beauty masterclasses.
It is easily predictable that there will be an increase in the demand of virtual spaces in which to test the products and that these will replace many physical spaces. An experience that will be playful and commercial for the consumer at the same time.
With the virtual try-on you can wear new products live to see the effect on your face in a completely realistic way.
These technologies have now become the starting point of many experiences for users who are happy to be able to try the product without necessarily having to go to the store.
But probably the biggest benefits are for the manufacturing companies. In fact, the interactive simulation allows:
1)to acquire a lot of marketing information on current and potential customers;
2)to change the marketing comunication because AR provides advertisers with the ability to transform a static object such as a magazine ad into an immersive 3D experience;
3)to better control the delivery of brand value messages.
In short, it is evident that these technologies will be increasingly present in the companies’ strategies and choices.