Rimmel launches augmented reality mobile app

Rimmel has launched a 3D augmented reality mobile app to help consumers "steal the look" from friends and magazines.

The 3D augmented reality technology identifies makeup on people and images, allowing customers to match with Rimmel products they can buy online or in store. Customers who wish to steal "the London look" can also virtually try on the Rimmel makeup using the mirror technology within the mobile app, before purchasing the products via Google Shopping.

Using patent-pending technology created by Holition, the app identifies face shapes and skins textures, both physically and digitally. If the app is used to identify makeup from a competitor advert in a magazine, the technology will pair the customer with similar shades of Rimmel products, giving the brand a competitive advantage.

Holition has already partnered with Rimmel's parent company, Coty, creating Manimatch for its Sally Hansen brand, which helps customers choose nail polish. 

Rimmel's core target audience is 'Generation Z' (15-25 year olds), who Passolas said are influenced more by friends and bloggers than brands.

"They are more in the know than us," she said. "And they like to reproduce looks from models and are extremely experimental."

Speaking to Essential Retail, Passolas said the app is not a sales driver, but a brand engagement tool which provides the customer with a digital experience.

"One of the barriers to buying online is that you can’t try on makeup, this allows you to try the looks and colours – how would you look if you tried on a purple eye shadow, is it worth investing your money on that?" she said, noting how even in a store environment, customers cannot try products directly on their faces, only to the back of their hands.

Passolas said the app can direct customers to online resellers of Rimmel makeup, like Boots and Superdrug in the UK, but she also believes customers will screen-grab the recommended products and take their smartphones into a store to assist their purchase.

Rimmel is also working on an exclusive deal with one UK beauty retailer which will link the Rimmel app directly to the retailer, automating the customer's online basket with the products they are interested in.

Passolas said Rimmel will measure the app's success based on the number of app downloads, rather than sales. "It's about engagement, as well as sharing and uploading to our website," she said.

The application will also encourage customers to upload selfies to the Rimmel website. This user-generated content will be used by the brand to learn about its customers and further develop its portfolio of makeup products. 

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