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Period: November 15, 2018 to December 1, 2018
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Select AI Innovations Show How It Could Transform Selection Of Skincare And Beauty Products

Advances in artificial intelligence are impacting the way beauty industry provides services to its customers and various examples show how this is playing out. One industry-changing example comes from skincare company Proven, which developed an assessment system that selects and then delivers a ‘totally personalized’ skincare product. Another innovation comes from startup Function of Beauty, which offers customized shampoos and conditioners based on customer information gathered using big data and machine learning. Last, a mobile app called Mira, which is still in the beta phase, uses artificial intelligence to recommend beauty influencers and products that are specifically suited for customers.

"Six AI innovations that could change skincare and beauty", Dazed, September 19, 2018

Skin Care Start-up Opu Labs To Use its Own Cryptocurrency To Pay For Images Of Consumers’ Faces

Opu Labs has created its own cryptocurrency, Opucoin, that it will use it to reward users who upload images of their face. The company will use AI to analyze the images for skin conditions and to be able to recommend appropriate treatments and to link consumers with dermatologists and personal beauty brands. This is part of an effort to build a database of facial images and personal data that the company can use to hone its AI and as a base to sell products and services. Founder Mark Bookman claims consumers are losing faith in advertisements for beauty products and would value an objective assessment to guide their choice. However, a reviewer of the AI-driven analysis found it to be inaccurate and the company acknowledges it remains a work in progress.

"Cryptocurrency Is Coming For The Beauty Industry", Fashionista, September 19, 2018

Sephora Unveils A New And Interactive Concept Store in China

Sephora opened a new concept store in Shanghai on September 21, 2018 that encourages customers to explore its popular beauty products using interactive technologies like Discovery Tables and Magic Mirrors. SEPHORA Asia president Benjamin Vuchot states that the store offers an excellent customer service that combines the Sephora website with the in-store experience creating an unprecedented omni-channel experience. The store also uses the photo editing app, Meitu, alongside its interactive Ecommerce Walls and Virtual Artist technologies. Sephora is known for using disruptive ideas and technologies to promote creativity and diversity across its stores worldwide since its establishment in Paris in 1969.  

"SEPHORA Asian new concept store opens in Shanghai", China.org.cn, September 22, 2018

Beauty Tech Startup Wow How Integrates Gaming Technology Into Beauty App To Aide Color Choice

Wow How launched an app technology based on virtual and augmented reality that aims to offer women a higher level of personalization for color cosmetics applications. The advantages of the technology include real-time functionality and a Virtual MUA (Makeup Academy) function that has the ability to recognize facial features. Wow How CEO, Gaynor Matthews, claims that the app addresses a gap in the market, providing a tool that can help women save time when choosing the color of their cosmetics. Another important feature of the app is its check and correct function that is enhanced by a split screen 3D view.

"Wow How incorporates gaming technology into a beauty app", CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com, September 26, 2018

Cosmetics Companies in China Use Technological Innovations To Attract Young Consumers

Brands are working with retailers in China to devise novel ways to engage consumers. Korean cosmetics brand, Innisfree, partnered with Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba to establish a store in Hangzhou where consumers can use Tmall’s AR-powered Magic Mirror to virtually apply makeup.  Startup 17Beauty established 12 “beauty boxes” in Beijing and Shanghai placed at busy locations. Consumers enter the self-service booth by scanning a QR code with a mobile app and once inside can get personalized makeup recommendations generated by a facial recognition system. Each booth contains a range of beauty products as well as some limited-edition makeup kits to attract new shoppers.

"Beauty tech", J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, September 27, 2018

New Technologies Are Boosting Online Beauty Sales, Sometimes Bringing Disruption

Key catalysts accelerating the growth of online beauty include increasing use of artificial intelligence, smaller beauty brands' adoption of direct-to-consumer marketing, and richer online content such as instructional video. Coty launched an AI-powered Fragrance Finder at the Boots website in the UK. It uses a 7-step questionnaire then suggests fragrance products to shoppers. Falling costs mean brands with $10-$15 million in sales can now offer DDTC experiences that compare well with major brands, leveling the playing field.  And richer and educational content is engaging consumers. CEO of beauty retailer FeelUnique, Joël Palix, says the growth of online video content accelerated the shift of beauty to digital channels Online has room to grow strongly. Euromonitor estimates that just 1 in 9 dollars US shoppers spend on beauty products is transacted online, substantially less than other categories. 

"Beauty Is Finally Heading Online: Five Ways New Technologies Support The Growth Of Beauty E-Commerce", Forbes, September 27, 2018

Benefit Cosmetics Launches New Augmented Reality Tool That Greatly Increased Conversion Rate

Benefit Cosmetics launched a browser-based augmented reality tool called Brow Try-On, now live in 40 markets, which caused an 80 percent increase in conversion rate. This performance echoes a 2016 study by Poshly and Perfect365 which found that 78% of millennial women would be more inclined to purchase makeup online if they could first virtually try it on. Vice president of global digital, Cindy Shen, claims that previous augmented reality tools produced poor results which prompted the company to collaborate with facial mapping technology expert Modiface. Brows play a key role in the Benefit brand – it claims to be the #1 brow brand globally - and the company is expected to achieve $600 million in sales of brow products and services in 2018. More than one million visitors have tried the tool, which can create different brow styles on customers' faces via a live 3D option.

"Benefit Cosmetics Boosts Conversion Rate with Launch of Virtual Makeover Tool", Blush Digital, September 29, 2018

Beauty Brands Are Using Salon Tech For Personalization To Help Combat Online Competition

Beauty brands are using technology to help professionals offer clients a degree of personalization they can’t get online, and to encourage consumers to buy their products. Scanners and apps, working with data and artificial intelligence, can evaluate a customer’s precise hair or skin needs and recommend the best product for them. Schwarzkopf’s Professional SalonLab comprises a set of tools and devices that generate and evaluate data on the client’s hair, allow clients to try on products using augmented reality, and then produce personalized haircare product blends in the salon. The service is expected to be available in salons next year. Elemis SkinLab analyzes a client’s facial skin and helps the therapist recommend products and skincare regimes. Although these tools require the intervention of a professional, other devices, such as Neutrogena’s Skin360 app and SkinScanner tool works with a user’s phone for home use. The Beauty Genome Project by Proven, a skincare product company, ...  More

"Perfectly personalised: beauty products that match your needs exactly", The Guardian, October 02, 2018

Beauty Brands Unveil Smart Concept Stores In China To Attract Tech-Savvy Consumers

SK-II and Sephora both unveiled smart concept stores in Shanghai to attract younger Chinese beauty consumers who prefer an engaging experience that can be shared on social media. The Japanese brand's "Future X" Smart Store uses facial recognition technology and artificial intelligence, working with JD.com that provided technological support. Separately, Sephora partnered with Meitu to create a concept store equipped with interactive e-commerce walls and virtual make-up artists. Emil Lanne of the marketing agency Huge that helped develop the SK-II stores cites the importance of having more colors and beautiful settings in building smart stores to attract younger shoppers. Both brands also use social media influencers to promote their stores.

"In China, Beauty Brands Turn to High-Tech Toys to Plug Their Wares", Jing Daily, October 02, 2018

Raya Khanin Highlights How Brands Use AI and Genomics To Improve Beauty Personalization

In an interview, industry expert Raya Khanin, and the founder of personalized beauty company LifeNome, explained talked about how artificial intelligence and genomics, augmented by environmental and lifestyle factors, are being used to create personalized beauty products that best meet a customer’s specific skin requirements identified in their genetic profile. She provided a number of examples of how beauty brands are employing a range of new techniques to enhance personalization. FOREO LUNA recently launched fofo, a cleansing device with skin sensors to generate data that are analyzed by AI to create personalized skincare advice. 

"‘The future of beauty is personalised’: Genomics and AI in bespoke beauty", CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com, October 03, 2018

Symrise and IBM Collaborate To Develop The Philyra AI Perfume Platform

A partnership between fragrance company Symrise and IBM is using machine-learning artificial intelligence to emulate the work of a perfumer. “Philyra” is an AI platform for scents that can be used in products for household and personal use, as well as in fine fragrances. The result has been two new perfumes to be launched in Brazil in mid-2019 by O Boticário, a beauty company. Philyra has the potential to disrupt the fragrance industry. It can analyze millions of bits of data, including taste, demographics and personality, and match them with ingredients. A single fragrance could take up to five years to develop and launch; the O Boticário scents took less than five months, although generating the initial fragrance might take Philyra just a minute or two. Symrise wants to roll out the technology to its master perfumers located around the world.

"Artificial intelligence is set to revolutionize the fragrance industry", Glossy, October 24, 2018

CK Hutchison And Meitu Partner To Provide Magic Mirrors In Watson’s Stores

Meitu and CK Hutchison, the parent company of retailer Watsons, are teaming up to create a new business model based on social media, to improve interaction with millennial consumers, both online and offline. The alliance matches Meitu’s artificial intelligence expertise and technology with CK Hutchison’s retail experience. Watsons Hong Kong will use Meitu’s smart mirror, the ‘Magic Mirror’, to enable consumers to virtually try beauty products on, choosing from some 600 make-up options. It will also provide recommendations from beauty advisors and should be available in around 30 stores by the middle of next year. Watsons China will use Meitu’s social media platform to send personalized messages and recommendations by analyzing changes users typically make to their photos. 

"CK Hutchison and Meitu target millennials by integrating social media into retail", Cosmetics Design Asia, October 24, 2018

Madison Reed Continues To Innovate For The Digital World

Visitors to Madison-Reed.com are now able to “try-on” over 40 of the brand’s hair color products via their device’s camera or by uploading a selfie. The new feature has been developed in collaboration with Perfect Corp., which has developed the YouCam app. It represents YouCam Makeup’s debut within a direct-to-consumer website. The brand has been at the forefront of digital innovation, with the first chatbot analysis of a selfie to recommend color matches and its smartphone voice-controlled app that helps women follow application instructions without having to touch the device. 

"Madison Reed Unveils "Try On" Tool, Enabling Customers to Experience 40+ Shades of Hair Color for a Virtual Makeover", PRNewswire , October 25, 2018

Avon Launches Personalized Beauty App in South Africa and UK

Avon has launched its Personalized Beauty App, a tool to help Representatives offer a more personalized service. The analysis device predicts the customers skincare requirements and assesses their most appropriate shade of make-up, based on a questionnaire and skin tone measurement feature. The app is currently available in the UK and South Africa, and the company claims it has received strong positive feedback. Further development is focusing on making it available across different mobile platforms. 

"Avon Launches Personalised Beauty App", Avon Company, October 29, 2018

‘No Middleman’ Launched To Provide A Curated Showroom For CPG Brands

Selected direct-to-consumer CPG brands now have a searchable online directory, at NoMiddleman.com, from the The No Middleman Project. Brands selected for inclusion also receive a profile on the site. The aim is to provide consumers with curated assistance to help them find consumer brands across hundreds of categories. There is no fee for the brands included on the site, which is also offers an online showroom for the brands, with prospective shoppers directed to the brand’s site for the purchase transaction. 

"The No Middleman Project Launches Innovative "Everything Showroom" for Direct to Consumer Products", PRWEB, October 30, 2018

Retailers Are Increasingly Adopting AR Innovation From The Tech Companies

Large retailers are embracing the use of digital technology like virtual and augmented reality to improve their service to beauty consumers. In the US, Target is leveraging AR in its Target Beauty Studio through the YouCam Makeup app from Perfect Corp. Other large retailers in beauty and other categories, like fashion, are also adopting high-tech, including smart mirrors and AR displays. This interest from retailers is being match by innovation from tech companies. Facebook is reportedly developing AR glasses and Microsoft has already launched HoloLens. Google, Apple and Lyft are apparently working on AR platforms too. Next generation AR might not need screens to display images: “spatial computing” could allow images superimposed on the real world.

"Digital Spaces As Virtual Makeup Studios, Augmented Reality Style", PYMNTS, November 05, 2018

Sephora And Google Partner To Bring The Home Hub To Beauty Consumers

Google and Sephora have teamed up to bring Sephora’s YouTube content and Google Assistant together on the recently-launched Google Home Hub voice device, which forms part of Google’s voice assistant range, along with Home and Home Mini. It will compete directly with the Echo Show, Amazon’s screen device and Smart Display from Lenovo. Sephora customers will be encouraged to use the Home Hub to find beauty tutorials via voice. Google is responding to the growth in searches for beauty-related videos on YouTube. The collaboration marks the first formal partnership between the two. The Home Hub is available on Sephora.com and will also be sold in 10 flagship stores around the US.

"Google dives deeper into beauty with Sephora and Home Hub partnership", Glossy, November 07, 2018

New Subscription Platform Brings Squarespace Closer To One-Stop E-Commerce Offering

Squarespace was launched around 15 years ago as a web hosting service. It now offers a subscription platform to its Commerce Advanced clients. Within five days of the launch, around 400 of its merchant clients had started using it, with beauty one of the top categories for adoption. Lauren Napier Beauty in the UK is one of the brands. It launched LaurenNapier.com on Squarespace in 2014, but focused on selling through third-party retailers, including Net-a-porter.com and Harvey Nichols. In the last few months, it has started to sell DTC. The brand sells facial wipes, a product suited to a subscription offering. 

"Squarespace caters to DTC brands with new subscription feature", Glossy, November 15, 2018

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