Beauty meets IT for customized experience
[THE INVESTOR] The Korean cosmetics market is a jungle. With its vast spectrum of cosmetics brands at every price point and rapid-fire changes in the latest trends, it is one of the most competitive consumer industries here.
But the zeal of brands to constantly come up with new, exciting products can often overwhelm consumers who find it difficult to decide on products to buy.
A Korea Herald reporter has her face scanned at the Remede store in Seoul to create a customized serum. Shim Woo-hyun/The Korea Herald.
To increase convenience for customers and to help them find their optimal choices, Korean cosmetics companies have been moving to incorporate technology into the cosmetic shopping experience.
Among the firsts are blending technologies in stores to allow consumers to create products customized for their skin on the spot. The Korean government legalized the blending of customized cosmetics on a pilot basis last March, with an amendment to the relevant law currently proposed in the National Assembly.
Cosmetics powerhouses Amorepacific and LG Household & Health Care were the first to introduce customized cosmetics. Amorepacific consumers can apply for consultations that produce lip products and moisturizing creams to fit their skin tone and type.
LG Household & Health Care launched a new line called Remede under its cosmoceutical brand CnP, which provides intensive one-on-one consultations to create highly concentrated serums for each shopper‘s skin. Based on an analysis of skin type including pores, wrinkles, and elasticity, a virtual system determines which ampoule ingredients should be mixed together to create an ideal serum.
“We operate on a reservations-only system, and we are often fully booked on weekends and for most time slots on weekdays as well,” said an official with CnP.
Technology is also being used in brands’ stores to give consumers more information about the products they are buying. Amorepacific has outfitted its Aritaum multibrand shops with Beauty Mirrors that automatically scan a person‘s face and allows them to virtually try on different looks and shades. Vending machine-style perfume selectors invite customers to answer virtual surveys about their lifestyles to choose an aroma that fits their personality.
LG Household & Health Care’s Nature Collection multibrand shop in Gangnam has been transformed into a Smart Store. Using the smartphone application “My Makeup Today,” customers can take photos of their face to be evaluated by artificial intelligence. The AI robot scores the customer‘s makeup based on skin, eye, contouring, lip, and eyebrow makeup, gives tips for improvement and recommends products.
The app was created in conjunction with a research team at Seoul National University and the Big Data Center at the national information society agency.
Technology has also been used to fuse together the experience of offline shopping with the convenience of online shopping. Amorepacific’s Beauty Delivery allows customers to ship items they buy at offline stores to their home address without having to carry them home, and Beauty Takeout lets customers who buy online pick up their items right away at offline stores.
“Customers are looking for more personalized experiences offline that cannot be emulated yet through online stores,” said an official with Remede. “By providing better information about our products and offering one-on-one consultations, we are better able to serve customers who feel that they have trouble navigating through the flood of products online.”
By Won Ho-jung/The Korea Herald (email@example.com)