L’Oreal Partners with Walmart and Launches AR Hair Dye Tool

Working with newly-acquired AR startup ModiFace, L'Oreal's new augmented reality hair dye tool can improve purchase rates by up to 300%.

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Need to Know

  • L’Oréal expands its use of artificial intelligence and augmented reality (AR) with its Garnier brand, allowing customers to “try on” hair colors before committing to a choice from its Garnier Nutrisse and Garnier Olia lines.
  • Powered by ModiFace, customers using Google Lens point their smartphones at product boxes. The app then identifies the product and color, connecting it with the ModiFace platform. Then, using AR, L’Oreal overlays the hair color on a live selfie.
  • L’Oréal purchased Toronto startup ModiFace in 2018 after working with the company since 2012 on numerous projects including L’Oreal’s ‘Style My Hair’ mobile app.
  • As part of the rollout, L’Oreal is creating interactive in-store displays within 500 US Walmart locations.
  • L’Oreal reports purchase rates improve up to three times when customers can virtually try-on items.

Analysis

L’Oréal is taking the risk out of hair dying with its latest ModiFace-powered AR app. Available anywhere L’Oréal sells its Garnier products, customers can now use their smartphones, Google Lens, and AI to see which hair color looks best before taking the plunge. 

The massive beauty brand looked to Walmart to help elevate its customer experience and created unique “how-to” in-store displays in 500 US Walmarts, a move they hope will boost the integration of the image recognition tech, reduce the learning curve and increase sales. 

According to Lubomira Rochet, L’Oréal’s chief digital officer, L’Oreal sees three times the rate of customers purchasing a product when the ability to virtually “try on” beauty products is available to them. The company has been working with ModiFace since 2012 on various projects that allow for exactly that, and in 2018 decided to purchase the internationally-recognized leader in augmented reality and artificial intelligence. 

“We realized that AR and AI would really change the consumer experience for L’Oréal and the industry,” Rochet told The Wall Street Journal. “We decided that the partnership was not enough. We really wanted to source that capability internally.”

Before acquiring ModiFace, L’Oréal enlisted ModiFace AR tech and beauty industry know-how with their Style My Hair mobile app, an app that included over 22,000 facial images to create an interactive experience. 

L’Oréal’s in-store AR and AI Walmart displays are not the first time Walmart has dabbled with AI. Last year, the discount superstore announced their “store of the future”, a giant experimental playground for emerging technologies, including interactive displays and AI-enabled cameras. The store, called Intelligent Retail Lab, operates out of a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Levittown, N.Y. The retailer also used AR entertainment app, Mardles to bring children’s toys to life from their ‘Toy Story 4’ collection. 

L’Oréal’s new feature is currently available through Google Lens on their Garnier Nutrisse and Garnier Olia product lines. 

Consumers are hungry for different experiences, and by providing these experiences on platforms that people are already using will boost the likability and sales of these brands.

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