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Digital Technologies Enhancing the In-Store Experience.

With many companies focusing on ecommerce presence, digital technologies can also enhance the in-store beauty counter experience. Of course the benefits of online shopping are limitless, however in the recent decline of bricks and mortar sales, could digitally enhanced in-store experiences be the answer to saving our high streets.

When it comes to beauty products (particularly expensive, luxury products), consumers still have a desire to try products before making a purchase. Brands such as L’Oréal have experimented with augmented reality experiences around their beauty products, in an attempt to drive their e-commerce sales. Utilising the technology to allow consumers to ‘try on’ products certainly enhances the online experience. But can shoppers truly trust the results the see? With a technology as young as AR, there is often a lack of trust, particularly from older generations. And if they don’t feel as though they can trust the results they see; they are likely to head in store or to a competitor to make their purchase. With beauty products, there is always an uncertainty of how a product will look or work on your skin, and this will keep us heading in-store, to counters with tester pots.

When it comes to the in-store experience, there is no reason why these technologies can’t be utilised to enhance the consumer journey. In fact, brands who have digitalized their in-store experiences are seeing great results, specifically when it comes to Millennials & Gen Z consumers. When we look at these emerging consumer generations, there are often high levels of anxiety and stress associated with them. Removing this from an in-store retail experience will drive them into bricks and mortar stores. Often, approaching a digital interactive display rather than a store assistant, can be less confrontational, driving younger consumers to have a ‘conversation’ with your brand in a way they feel comfortable. Whether this is through a diagnosis tool to find out what products will work on their skin; or an infrared interface that suggests their perfect foundation shade, technologies like these will enhance an in-store experience.

Now before you go firing all your retail assistants and replacing them with tablets and smart mirrors, it is key to remember that human touches and a friendly face can’t be replaced with technology. At least not yet anyway. One of the major advantages of in-store beauty counters is the consultations they are able to offer, allowing your brand to advise and demonstrate directly to the consumer on a personal level. It is personal touches like this that help form deep consumer loyalty relationships between consumer and brand. Using digital experiences to enhance these consultations is a great way to bridge the gap, allowing consumers to begin to trust the technology on offer.