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Beauty Business Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

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January 08, 2019, to February 05, 2019

Coty Trials VR Fragrance Experience With A Retail Partner In Buenos Aires

Coty Inc. has unveiled a virtual reality fragrance experience in partnership with retailer Julieraque in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The store’s visitors are invited to don a VR headset to virtually “pick up” seven scented stones, each of which activates a short video on a fragrance concept associated with the scent. The VR experience is just one of a number of digital innovations Coty is introducing, including a voice assistant tool for Clairol and stations at Covergirl’s New York flagship store powered by augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Other premium fragrance brands are also trying out technology as a way to address a slowing market: the premium fragrance category is expected to grow 13 percent in the 2017-22 period, down from 16 percent in the 2012-17 period, according to Euromonitor International forecasts. Coty plans to take the VR experience to other markets and to customize it for specific brands.

Beauty Brand YSL Opens Two Pop-Up Hotels, Plans Many More

YSL Beauty has taken the concept of pop-up shops to another level with two-day pop-up beauty “hotels” in New York and Paris. The hotels include five floors, with experiences for guests that include a fragrance workshop and rooftop café, as well a range of interactive features. YSL is planning more hotels, including six in the US.

Coty Builds On Its Digital Push With An AR Mirror For Wella Salons

Beauty company Coty, Inc. has launched an augmented reality mirror for its Wella Professionals salons, allowing customers to “try on” various hair colors and shades. A facial recognition feature enables the consultant to retrieve images of how the customer previously looked. The innovation builds on the company’s drive in digital technology, which includes a virtual reality experience for its fragrances, an AR partnership between Clairol and Snapchat, VR applications for CoverGirl, and a blended reality mirror for its Bourjois boutique in Paris. The new Wella mirror was developed alongside CareOS, a tech company in the health and beauty space. The mirror can capture a 360-degree video for the customer to see the look from all angles. The company plans to develop a version for phones and tablets, for salons without the space or funds for the mirror.

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December 18, 2018, to January 08, 2019

Collaboration Develops AI-Based Age Predictor For Personalized Skin Care

Haut.ai, an artificial intelligence company, and Incscillio Medicine have teamed up to explore how skin ages and to develop an accurate predictor of chronological age. The PhotoAgeClock uses artificial intelligence to look at visual biomarkers of age, to predict age within an average of 2.3 years. Skin around eyes is the best biomarker for assessing age, and the data can be used for personalized medical and skin treatment to slow the aging process. The research was published in the journal Aging.

Foreo Continues Its Expansion In Travel Retail

Beauty tech company Foreo has grown quickly within travel retail over the last two years, reaching over 200 outlets in over 20 countries. One of its innovations is the UFO ‘smart mask’. Although Asia is currently its main geographic region, it will focus on other regions next year, especially Europe, North America and Latin America. South Korea is a very important duty free market for the Swedish brand, with distribution in all of the top Korean travel retailers. The 20th and latest Korean opening was the recent launch at Hyundai Duty Free in Seoul’s Gangnam area. 

SK-II Opens Tech-Based Beauty Pop-Up In Singaore

Procter & Gamble’s SK-II beauty brand has opened its Future X Smart pop-up store on Singapore’s Orchard Road, offering visitors skin care and beauty tech, with an Instagram experience. Personalized skin care comes via the brand’s Magic Ring Skin analysis to provide product recommendations. It’s open until the end of January.

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November 20, 2018, to December 18, 2018

Ulta Has Been Investing In Tech To Deliver Deeper Personalization

Beauty retailer Ulta Beauty is investing in personalization. It has invested in Iterate, a digital workflow company, and Spruce, an online booking platform. It has also acquired QM Scientific and GlamST, two companies to support its augmented reality and artificial intelligence efforts. Ulta said that it may acquire more companies but doesn’t see M&A as a big part of its strategy. As well as personalization, Ulta is also keen to increase the number of digitally native brands it sells, and it aims to better segment and target consumers. Its personalization plans will be supported by the 30 million members of loyalty program, who contribute 95 percent of its sales. 

L’Oréal Introduces The My Skin Track UV Device From La Roche-Posay

L’Oréal has announced the launch of La Roche-Posay My Skin Track UV, a battery-free wearable device to track the skin’s exposure to UV. It’s available in the US on apple.com and in some Apple Stores. The device was unveiled earlier this year at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show and includes a companion app that also measures environmental factors such as pollution, pollen and humidity. The sensor is powered by the user’s smartphone. And clips on to clothing or other accessories. It costs $59.95.

Perfect Corp. Founder Talks About YouCam And Its Place In Beauty 3.0

Founder and CEO of Perfect Corp., Alice Chang, spoke at the CEW Connected Consumer Conference about ‘Beauty 3.0’, the company’s name for what it sees as the future of beauty. It will, she says, combine more personalized and proactive tech involving human touch characteristics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality. The result will be an extremely accurate virtual try-on experience. Perfect Corp. and its YouCam apps are now used by some 200 beauty brands and 700 million users. The company also encourages users to try YouCam’s set of virtual apps, free of charge, to enable them to test their features.

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October 16, 2018, to November 20, 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.

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.

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.  

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October 09, 2018, to October 16, 2018

Digital Technologies Shape New Business Models Of Cosmetic Firms

Digital technologies and applications, including social media, continue to shape new business models for cosmetic firms, challenging established brands to adapt to changing consumer behavior. There is a growing need for cosmetic brands to shift from a product-based to an experience-based model. L’Oréal, for instance, is using artificial intelligence to map out market trends and personalize its service for consumers while Elizabeth Arden partnered with YouCam Makeup app to let customers try products virtually using their phones' cameras. Other brands, like Fenty Beauty by pop star Rihanna, bank on the inclusivity of their products: Its ProFilter Foundation line aims to cater to every skin color with its 40 shades. Social media influencers also present opportunities for brands to reach out to new markets. In 2017, beauty-related YouTube videos recorded 88 billion views, a 60% increase from the preceding year. Consumers won’t accept a one-size-fits all approach from brands, which can leverage consumer data to offer a more targeted service. A recent Accenture Interactive study found that consumers prefer to buy online from retailers that know their previous purchases and can recommend products based on them.

Bourjois' Magic Mirror May Turn Facebook Into A Shopping Experience

British technology agency Holition is working on a new Facebook mobile app feature that will allow beauty enthusiasts to try on makeup products virtually with special camera filters. For this project, Holition will utilize the technology behind the magic mirror of French beauty brand Bourjois in its Paris flagship store. Bourjois's magic mirror uses 3D sensing smart camera technology to show shoppers how cosmetics would look like on their faces when they touch select a product in the store. The mirror can also suggest makeup products applicable to the shoppers’ skin tones. Holition plans to produce similar results with its Facebook filter which will take advantage of the social media app's AR mesh software. The filter will eventually be connected to Facebook's deep linking feature that will help users know where to buy the makeup products.

Saks Fifth Avenue Uses Magic Mirrors To Attract Instore Customers

As part of its efforts to lure buyers into its physical stores and compete with other retailers like Ulta and Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue overhauled its beauty department and installed "magic mirrors”. Customers can opt to have the virtual look emailed to them. Magic mirrors are just one part of the store’s efforts to upgrade its beauty customer experience, which now includes a concierge to assist shoppers and space for treatment rooms and events, such as tutorials and presentations. A move to the second floor has allowed more space for the cosmetics department.

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October 02, 2018, to October 09, 2018

L'Oréal Showcases Beauty Technology Innovations At Industry Event

L'Oréal exhibited a number of its latest digital services and products at the Viva Technology Paris 2018 in May. The ‘New Beauty Experience’ highlighted how the beauty company is incorporating new technology, such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality, for personalization, new services and connected devices. Examples include try-on beauty using its recently-acquired Modiface AR platform; a smart mirror; virtual hair color try-on technology using 3D AI, for the Professionnel Division; a digital voice-based butler for the L’Oréal Paris Men Expert brand; a virtual mirror with a direct link to Alibaba’s Tmall platform in China; customized skin care for SkinCeuticals called Custom D.O.S.E; a new shower concept from La Roche-Posay; and a salon-based scalp and hair diagnostic test for the Kérastase brand.

L’Oreal Receives Approval To Buy Bon-Ton Stores Mailing List

French beauty brand L’Oreal has received approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware to acquire customer data from bankrupt department store chain The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. L’Oreal has agreed to pay $312,900 for the information after winning the right to buy the mailing list in an auction in July 2018. However, the purchase price could still change, with L’Oreal having to pay 35 cents per customer if the customer count falls below 894,000.

Paula’s Choice Faces Fan Discontent And Growing Competition From New Skincare Brands

Skincare brand Paula’s Choice is facing growing consumer complaints over some steps taken by the company and its founder Paula Begoun. After the company was acquired by private equity firm TA Associates in 2016, Begoun was replaced by Tara Poseley as chief executive officer in 2017. Negative consumer reaction began when the company started raising the prices of its products and after the company launched an eye cream. Also, the direct-to-consumer brand is facing growing competition from emerging skincare brands, such as The Ordinary, Cosrx, and Drunk Elephant. According to Poseley, the company urgently needed a rebranding and speeding up the rate it brings new products to the market.

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September 18, 2018, to October 02, 2018

NARS And Shiseido Look To Data And AI To Meet Rising Customer Expectations

NARS, and its Japan-based parent company Shiseido, see data and AI-driven personalization as key in their efforts to cater to the needs of an increasingly digital customer base. Benjamin Lord, NARS executive director of omnichannel of global eCommerce, sees the use of data and AI and critical to stand out in an "oversaturated" beauty market that is cluttered with new players (Glossier, Beautycounter) and established brands (Clinique, Estee Lauder). In 2017, Shiseido acquired AI and AR developer Giran, and more recently, artificial skin tech startup Olivo Labs, and personalization solution provider MATCHCo, in order to help NARS and its other brands (bareMinerals, Dolce & Gabbana…) create new personalized products and seamless experiences for their customers. Shiseido looks to be ahead of most companies: mobile and online sales account for 25 percent of its revenue compared to just over 6 percent for the entire beauty industry as a whole. 

L’Occitane En Province Opens Technology-Enabled Flagship Store In NYC

L’Occitane en Province is opening its flagship store in Manhattan. Known for its natural beauty products, the French beauty brand is adding a host of technologies to its New York City location. In addition to having an area focused on social media, the store will also have a live feed of the brand’s US Instagram account. Stationary bikes combined with augmented reality will allow customers to take a virtual bike ride across Provence. Also, the company is using the store to expand its sustainability partnership with recycling company TerraCycle.

Infinite Beauty Starts Offering HydraFacial MD Highlights High-Tech Beauty Treatments In Maryland

Infinite Beauty has begun offering its HydraFacial MD Highlights high-tech beauty services at its spa location in Bethesda, Maryland. Noted for its technology-focused approach to beauty care, the company operates eight spa locations that provide customers with innovative treatments, such as high-frequency, microcurrent, ultrasonic, and LED light therapy. According to the company, the HydraFacial process can increase skin hydration, help reduce lines and wrinkles, as well as enhance the appearance of hyperpigmentation or redness.

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September 11, 2018, to September 18, 2018

L'Oreal Innovation Contest For Startups Focuses On Three Categories

L'Oreal Innovation Runway, the beauty company's startup challenge, will focus on three categories: personalized beauty experiences, sustainable innovations, and performance materials and products. South Korea-based Sketchon joined the L'Oreal Innovation Runway 2017, receiving research and development support and mentorship from the beauty company. In March 2018, L'Oreal acquired Modiface, which uses facial recognition and augmented reality to let consumers have a realistic preview of how a beauty product would look on them when applied. New Zealand-based Ethique's sustainable innovations include making and selling solid bar soaps, shampoos, and conditioners and earth-friendly packaging. 

HiMirror Mini Comes In Small Package With Impressive List Of Smart Features

Equipped with most of the features that came with the original HiMirror smart mirror, the HiMirror Mini comes in a smaller package and includes a built-in stand. In smart mode, the mirror functions like a tablet computer with a full-features touchscreen. It lets users login to their wifi, it responds to commands, and can navigate the system using touch. HiMirror Mini comes with YouTube built in, allowing users to play back online videos of makeup tutorials and other beauty tips. Other built-in apps include Facebook and Instagram. 

L'Oreal USA Innovation Head Bort Discusses How Innovations Drive Her Company

L'Oreal USA manager of digital innovation and entrepreneurship, Samantha Bort, said she keeps abreast of the latest developments in technology and innovation by getting information from different sources. Also, she always thinks of herself as the consumer before the marketer and looks at the reason why a technology exists and how it will improve the consumer experience. Bort said her company has been using artificial intelligence to personalize the consumer experience at scale. She considers conversational commerce as one of the most exciting innovations, as well as blockchain and how it can be applied to the beauty industry. 

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August 28, 2018, to September 11, 2018

Facebook, Instagram Invest To Help Beauty Companies Reach Consumers

Facebook and Instagram are emerging as powerful platforms for sellers of beauty products. Both platforms are rich with beauty content and Facebook (which owns Instagram) is investing to help beauty companies reach beauty consumers. AI, and especially its face recognition software, is enabling Facebook to better target user interests. It is also letting businesses have “real-time, one-to-one conversations with their customers over Messenger” (Karin Tracy, head of industry for beauty, fashion, luxury and retail, Facebook). Instagram Stories proved an effective way to deliver fun and behind-the-scenes content to young, mobile users. The number of followers on IS has grown rapidly, now standing at 300 million with more than a third of the most viewed stories provided by businesses. Facebook is also beta testing and trialing with Sephora an AR-enabled camera effects for use in Messenger. 

Beauty Brands Should Consider AI, Personalization, To Adapt To Industry Changes

Beauty brands should take advantage of developments such as artificial intelligence, personalization, and the rise of indie brands in order to adapt to a changing market. According to Terry Young of Sparks & Honey, beauty brands should try to emulate the success of Instagram, Amazon, and Netflix by thinking “exponentially" rather than incrementally to create a competitive edge in the industry. Young, who is the CEO of the cultural consultancy company, said brands can achieve a 10X status by offering more personalized experiences, customized products, and actively engaging smaller brands in the fragmented, yet rapidly growing, marketplace. 

Sephora Employs Five Digital Tools To Give Customers Personalized Omni-Channel Experience

Beauty retailer Sephora uses five ways to provide customers with personalized services and tools, according to chief engineering officer Raghu Sagi. With everything starting with what the customer wants, the company lets customers virtually try on products through its Virtual Artist virtual reality tool. Launched in 2017, the Beauty Insider Community provides a virtual social network for customers, allowing them to link up with each other, ask questions, and receive recommendations. Whenever a customer approaches a Sephora store, the company's mobile app becomes the Store Companion tool which offers customers tips and product recommendations. 

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August 21, 2018, to August 28, 2018

Sephora Is Using Personalization Tools To Enhance Customer Experience

Beauty retailer Sephora is focusing on personalization, using a range of tools across its channels, to meet growing consumer expectations for shopping experiences. These include the Virtual Artist try-on tool, applicable across various categories; the Beauty Insider Community, for followers of beauty trends to connect with others in real time; its mobile app and Store Companion tool, providing product recommendations and other useful information; guides for skincare and makeovers, including videos; and its new Skincare Advisor on Google Home, Sephora’s first voice tool, with which users can book in-store appointments, listen to beauty news and more.

Samantha Bort Talks About L’Oréal USA’s Focus On New Technology

In an interview with The Drum, Samantha Bort, manager of digital innovation and entrepreneurship for L'Oréal USA, discusses the importance of new technology at the company. She said new technology needs to answer some key questions: why it exists and how it will improve the consumer’s experience, and also do the developers have a long-term plan for it that will benefit L’Oréal. In Bort’s opinion, AI is an exciting opportunity, enabling the company to provide a personalized experience at scale, highlighting the 2017 launch in the USA of the company’s first chatbot, for Kiehl’s on Facebook Messenger. She is currently most excited about “conversational commerce”, with chat and voice bringing new opportunities, and blockchain.

New Study Highlights Growing Use Of Beauty Advisors

According to a new study by Automat, US beauty shoppers are embracing the use of advisors to provide tips and product recommendations. Beauty advice is now being channeled through new tools, including chat, as well as texting and live video. The survey found that 49% of respondents would definitely or likely use a virtual advisor when shopping online or offline, to help them navigate the growing number of options - 70% say they are overwhelmed by product choice. However, around two-thirds would prefer to browse in-store without an advisor, making it easier for advisors to reach consumers online. 78% prefer to look online before they buy in any channel. The study concluded that brands need to consider chatbots and artificial intelligence. 
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