News: Target Taps YouCam for Augmented Reality Cosmetics Web App

Target Taps YouCam for Augmented Reality Cosmetics Web App

Department store chain Target is the latest retailer to offer an augmented reality cosmetics app for customers to virtually try on lipstick.

For its Beauty Studio web app, Target uses the YouCam platform offered by Perfect Corp. Available through via any desktop web browser, as well as mobile (specifically, Safari for iOS and Chrome for Android), shoppers can try on 88 products, such as lipstick, eyeliner, blush, and more, from 10 brands, including Cover Girl, L'Oreal Paris, and Revlon, among others.

From the tool's main page, shoppers can select the product they are interested in and then press the button labeled "see how this looks on you" to launch the experience. While the experience works via webcams or front-facing cameras on mobile devices, shoppers can also opt to upload their own photos or choose from images of models. The tool also includes a split-screen mode which allows users to compare before and after makeup looks. As expected, users can also capture a snapshot of their experience for sharing on social media.

Target will also offer Beauty Studio in stores via digital displays in its beauty departments. The service is available at 10 stores now, with more stores coming throughout the year.

"When it comes to shopping beauty, our guests love to explore," said Christina Hennington, senior vice president of Beauty and Essentials at Target, in a statement. "With the introduction of these new initiatives, which blend physical and digital to create an enhanced experience, we're giving Target's guests even more convenient options to find the perfect beauty items for their unique needs."

With this release, Target appears to be showing a preference for web-based augmented reality experiences, previously implementing an AR shopping tool for furniture available through its website. The approach gives the retailer broader reach in terms of compatible devices.

Also, since facial recognition experiences don't rely on toolkits such as ARKit and ARCore, Target sacrifices less in terms of functionality. And compared to other web-based cosmetics apps, Beauty Studio performs well in limited testing.

But more importantly, a store with the massive footprint of Target harnessing the power of AR further justifies the increasingly bullish takes on immersive computing as the new tool for marketers looking for real consumer engagement beyond the fleeting fortunes of social media virality.

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Images via Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

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