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Digital Technologies Enhancing the In-Store Experience.

With many companies focusing on e-commerce 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. They claimed to see their conversion rates triple.

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 digitalised their in-store experiences are seeing great results, specifically when it comes to Millennial & 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.