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Paul Mitchell brings virtual hair transformations to salons via YouCam

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August 22, 2016

Hair color enthusiasts can test out new shades with the help of their smartphones

Hair color enthusiasts can test out new shades with the help of their smartphones

Paul Mitchell is enabling beauty enthusiasts to test out different hair colors by uploading a photo of themselves into the YouCam Makeup application, showcasing how beauty brands can drive product sales with virtual technology.

The brand is giving on-the-go consumers the ability to choose a new hair color by virtually trying on a variety of shades through the YouCam Makeup app before having the transformation completed at a local salon. Paul Mitchell is the first hair care marketer to partner with YouCam Makeup – which previously focused on cosmetics – suggesting that other major brands will soon follow.

“Paul Mitchell strategically chose to partner with YouCam,” said Shuli Lowy, director of customer success, Americas at TVTY/The Moment Marketing Company. “At times, brands will build their own apps in order to bring an augmented reality experience to consumers.

“This approach requires a massive commitment from brands since they need to build an app, launch it across the app stores and then further invest in driving downloads of the app; the process is lengthy and costly,” she said. “Partnering with an app that is already in the market with a strong user base allows brands to achieve their augmented reality goals more efficiently.

“Furthermore, the brand can approach the campaign as a limited time commitment–since they won’t be bound by the ongoing maintenance and updates that proprietary apps require.”

Coloring in sales
Paul Mitchell is allowing beauty fans to get creative with their hair color in the most commitment-free way possible – by testing out shades on mobile before visiting a salon. The marketer joined forces with Perfect Corp.’s YouCam Makeup app this month to let users virtually try on an assortment of shades from its product range.

This marks the first time that Paul Mitchell is leveraging consumer-facing virtual makeover technology, a feat that will likely result in a higher number of its products being sold at beauty salons.

Consumers interested in testing out the new functionality can download the YouCam Makeup app and select a shade from a slew of Paul Mitchell Professional Hair Color swatches. They may then snap a selfie or upload an existing photo into the app from their smartphone gallery.

The app uses hair mapping technology and natural color layering to accurately depict how the chosen shade will look on an individual.

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Paul Mitchell’s inspiration board within the YouCam app

This allows users to better visualize how a new color will look before they make the commitment to have their hair dyed at a salon or at home.

“Virtual reality is a fantastic tool for marketers to coax consumers through the education phase of the purchase process,” Ms. Lowy said.

Available colors include shades ranging from reds to browns to blondes, in addition to more vibrant colors, such as pinks and blues. All shades fall under the umbrella of Paul Mitchell Professional Hair Color formulas, including The Demi and Paul Mitchell the Color lines.

YouCam Makeup users can tap the consultation icon visible on each swatch to visit Paul Mitchell’s salon locator, which they may use to book an appointment to bring their desired color to life. Individuals can also opt to purchase Paul Mitchell products, such as shampoos and conditioners, at those salons.

The hair care brand will promote its partnership with YouCam Makeup across its social media channels.

YouCam Makeup can be downloaded onto iOS and Android smartphones.

Virtual makeover popularity
Paul Mitchell is not the only brand in its sector tapping the growing popularity of virtual try-on technology.

Several months ago, Elizabeth Arden teamed up with the YouCam app as part of the classic beauty brand’s latest push to evolve with the times (see story).

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YouCam’s virtual try-on experience lets users upload existing photos or take selfies

Additionally, Cargo Cosmetics enabled beauty fans to virtually try on makeup by implementing FaceCake Marketing Technologies’ augmented reality platform into its mobile and desktop browsers, eliminating the need to download yet another standalone app (see story).

“The rollout is likely to drive strong brand awareness for Paul Mitchell,” Ms. Lowy said. “Paul Mitchell’s digital properties aim to push consumers to its store locations instead of purchasing on the Web.

“While this project is unlikely to drive mobile sales, it is likely to drive in-store traffic and ultimately be a success for the brand.”

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Alex Samuely is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach her at alex@mobilemarketer.com.

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