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Swarovski borrows from beauty for AR try-on experience

Swarovski is partnering with AR app maker Perfect Corp. Image credit: Swarovski


Precision-cut crystal maker Swarovski is allowing consumers to give themselves an instant makeover through a collaboration with Perfect Corp.’s YouCam.

With YouCam Makeup and YouCam Fun, the brand is launching a holiday augmented reality experience that allows consumers to try on makeup looks embellished with crystals and Swarovski creations. YouCam has become a popular partner for luxury beauty brands such as Lancôme and Estée Lauder, but this hybrid jewelry and makeup experience is the first of its kind for the app.

"Both Swarovski and YouCam Makeup are leaders in their fields and add sparkle to everyday life with high-quality products and experiences that make people feel beautiful, so the collaboration made perfect sense," Alice Chang, CEO of Perfect Corp., Taipei.

Swarovski was reached for comment.

Holiday engagement
Swarovski’s YouCam filters are debuting exclusively at the brand’s New York pop-up from Dec. 4 to 10. Consumers will then be able to play with the looks via their smartphone from anywhere starting on Dec. 11.

YouCam’s AR technology allows consumers to virtually try-on beauty looks in real time via their phone’s camera. They can also “apply” various cosmetics to see how they look on their face.

For the Swarovski experience, three different looks were created.

A “Dragon Queen” will transpose amethyst-colored crystals on the user’s face and accessorize the look with crystal statement jewelry from designer Heidi Daus.

Swarovski is also giving fans the ability to don the Serkan Cura wings created for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Completing the “Woodland Goddess” look are layered Sorrelli necklaces and a crown by Ms. Daus.

Screenshot of Swarovski's YouCam experience. Image courtesy of YouCam

“Eclipse” gives users crystalized eyes, embellishing the look with necklaces and earrings by Caroline Néron with jet and crystal elements.

"The innovative filters include jewelry and accessories embellished with Swarovski crystals and holiday-inspired makeup styles translated into AR fun filters, allowing fans to virtually experience looks with Swarovski crystals instantly from their mobile phones," Ms. Chang said. "This first-ever digital experience combines the best of fashion, jewelry, beauty and technology to create an immersive interactive virtual holiday celebration unlike any other which can be shared instantly to social channels to spread the joy of the season."

Perfect Corp. has found that augmented reality beauty experiences can drive sales for brands, with a study on application YouCam Makeup finding that try-on features double conversions.

While the use of augmented reality apps drives purchase intent across younger age groups, the benefit drops off at age 30. Augmented reality is becoming more popular in the beauty retail space, as brands try to replicate the counter experience outside of physical stores (see story).

AR expansion

Swarovski has also leveraged other AR experiences to help consumers imagine themselves owning its pieces.

Precision-cut crystal maker Swarovski is working with Mastercard for its latest retail innovation, a virtual reality shopping app for home décor.

The app will allow customers to view crystal accessories for their homes in three dimensions, all through their smartphones. The partnership shows that even with augmented reality’s dominance, virtual reality can still be a powerful tool for brands and retailers in all categories (see story).

While YouCam is less popular outside of the beauty space, it has been tapped before by accessories brands.

YouCam Makeup, launched in Taiwan, had just recently entered the U.S. market when it partnered with magazine Marie Claire and eyewear maker Safilo on a try-on feature. Through YouCam, the publication let readers virtually try out different frames on their face, allowing for more confident eyewear ecommerce conversions.

This 2016 project marked the first time that its webcam-connected app had partnered with a U.S. brand on an accessory experience (see story).

"Opportunities are endless and exists for many categories," Perfect Corp.'s Ms. Chang said. "YouCam recently launched a 3D AR engine which is unique in the market for its hyper realistic virtual try on’s including makeup, eye glasses, jewelry, hair accessories and hats.

"YouCam Makeup also launched a breakthrough skin diagnostic tool that relies on AR facial recognition technology, AI and deep learning to provide an instant skin evaluation with no specialized tools other than the camera on your smartphone," she said. "This instant skin evaluation creates another layer to the consumer beauty journey as they can test and monitor the efficacy of their favorite products and track skin health over time."