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Is AR the new lipstick tester?

With Covid-19 norms in place, testing your favourite shade of lipstick in the makeup store looks like a faraway dream.

Published: 24th June 2020 11:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th June 2020 11:17 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Millennials and and Gen-Z constitute the majority of the target audience in the beauty industry. 78 percent of millennial customers are more inclined to try a lipstick at the store and see how it looks like on their face prior to buying it. Covid-19 has changed the purchase behaviour and hygiene and safety is the priority; hence, eliminated the skin testing of the products. Would Augmented Reality (AR) be the new lipstick tester in the new world of beauty? Absolutely, believes Sravanth Aluru, Founder and CEO of Avataar.me, an AI company that enables digital marketing and commerce experiences using latest AR technologies. 

This generation practically lives on cell phones and the internet and technology influence buying decisions immensely. “We deliver interactive camera-based experiences to consumers, augmented with their mobile camera feed, enabling them to create interactive and fun videos with life-size avatars of celebrities and influencers in AR. We are working with several top digital consumer companies empowering their online marketing campaigns and generating strong traction with user-generated content. We are integrated with social media apps to deliver live camera AR experiences to users across all these platforms,” he says.

Sravanth hails from Hyderabad and calls Secunderabad his home. “I got excited about AR almost a decade ago when I heard about it while  I was working in Hyderabad for four years at Microsoft before I went abroad.” He then went to The Wharton School to do his Major in Finance and General Management.  “So far we have been shopping for furniture or outfits on e-commerce sites by seeing their 2D photographs. Now, the same can be experienced in a 3D format where you will be the model. For example, you are shopping at an online makeup store and see a model wearing a neon pink lipstick, you second guess it and buy it assuming it will look great on you as well.

Now, with AR, you switch on the camera, your face comes on the screen and with one click, you can try out the lipstick and see how it looks on you. As easy as that.” If you have shopped in Amazon or saw a 3D AR video in Volkswagen, it is probably Sravanth’s work. “We have the technology to replace 2D into a 3D format. That makes shopping of cars, fridges, clothes, earrings, jewellery, contact lenses, sunglasses, etc that much more easier. AR bridges online and offline gap”. In fact, during the Covid-19 times, they have helped phone brands like Samsung and Vivo ‘unbox’ phones to customers and get them a feel of what it is to hold the phone. “There has been a 150 percent conversion after 3D videos started playing on e-commerce sites instead of the ordinary 2D,” he informs.

So can one expect intimate clothing like lingerie also being shopped using AR videos? “There is no end to what one can do. However, we need to address some privacy issues before we apply to it,” he adds. 
Beauty is a personalised industry and the industry is struggling as the new norms prevent physical contact. Looks like it may take at least a year before things go back to where we started this year. And such AR technologies which emulate what happens in the store to the screen on phone are going to rule. Previously, they were used as value addition, but in the Covid-19 times, it has become a must-have,” he adds.

With Covid-19 norms in place, testing your favourite shade of lipstick in the makeup store looks like a faraway dream. However, an Augmented Reality concept which can convert any 2D image into a 3D one can help you try it on like you are the model. Plus, the concept is replicable in every industry, says Hyderabad techie Sravanth Aluru 

Manju Latha Kalanidhi  kalanidhi@newindianexpress.com  @mkalanidhi

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