Woolworths launches two new virtual beauty services as a first for local retail

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Over the weekend you may have noticed a new feature in the beauty section of the Woolworths website. This as the local retailer has debuted two new services, born out of a need to better assist customers as a result of the pandemic. To that end Woolworths has introduced Virtual Try-On and Virtual Consultation services to its website as part of the company’s growing suite of digital solutions.

The company adds that this is a first of its kind from a South African-based beauty retailer.

Virtual Try On gives customers the opportunity to try on hundreds of shades of lipsticks, eye shadows, and mascaras. The feature creates realistic applications of these products through augmented reality that can be tested on any skin tone and allows customers to assess textures, colours and looks. Based on this initial rollout, Woolworths will then look to extend the Virtual Try On offering into its stores, providing interactive screens for customers to trial beauty products,” explains a press regarding the new solutions sent to Hypertext. 

The retailer has also partnered with Estee Lauder and Clarins to reinvent Beauty Consultations, giving shoppers access to one-on-one, digital-based beauty consultations with beauty specialists from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Customers will be able to receive personalised skincare advice, product recommendations and application techniques, offering that human touch that everybody has missed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Both of these experiences are complementary and aim to replicate the high-touch customer experience Woolworths is known for in store,” it adds. 

Having perused the beauty section ourselves, if you click on a makeup product such as the 3-in-1 mascara below, you will have the option to try it on via the use of the webcam or by uploading a photo of yourself. 

These kinds of solutions are nothing new when it comes to the online retail space, with the likes of Warby Parker featuring it a few years ago for customers to virtually try-on a pair of sunglasses.

That said, it is indeed pleasing to see a local retailer find digital solutions to the hurdles that COVID-19 has put in place. It will also be interesting to see how many customers start making use of the service and whether it will have an impact in terms of sales down the line.

Over the past two years, Woolworths has been expanding its Beauty business both in store and online, with the launch of key brands like Chanel, Clinique, Clarins, Bobbie Brown, Tom Ford, Smashbox and our own highly regarded private label, WBeauty,” notes Liz Hillock, Woolworths head of Online and Mobile.  

“The unprecedented growth of online shopping over the past 12 months, alongside the health and safety protocols of testing samples in store, has ushered in a new opportunity for us to transform the beauty shopping experience while continuing to build the differentiated capabilities across our digital platforms,” she adds. 

Hopefully we can see this technology expand to more than Woolworths’ beauty lineup.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.