Hourglass Cosmetics taps hologram, AR technology to illustrate skin perfection

Oct. 31, 2017 | by Judy Mottl

Hologram technology is fast becoming an innovative tool for retail, sports and hospitality industries. Photo courtesy of Vntana.

Hourglass Cosmetics describes itself as an innovative beauty brand focused on reinventing the luxury cosmetics segment.
 

So, it's not surprising the 13-year-old global retailer, which opened its flagship store three years ago in Venice, California, and retails its skincare, makeup and beauty accessories across a range of brands including Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, Net-A-Porter and Sephora, has been at the forefront of tapping innovative tools to enhance the customer experience.
 

For example, when it came time to celebrate the debut of its Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick, Hourglass went looking for an interactive way to demonstrate the product's "virtual skin perfection" to guests at the product launch event.
 

It began searching for a hologram and artificial reality option and turned to Vntana, which had just launched its first-of-a-kind Hollagram Selfie innovation, recalls Mila Aldrin, Hourglass director of ecommerce. The Hourglass Cosmetics connection to Vntana was easy as Aldrin has known Vntana CEO and co-founder Ashley Crowder for a few years.
 

"We found the selfie experience super interesting and innovative, so we reached out to schedule a demo," Aldrin told Retail Customer Experience in an email interview.
 

Prior to connecting with Vntana, the beauty brand had already dipped its marketing efforts into AR options including HTC Vive, Google Tilt Brush, Google Glass and Google Cardboard.
 

The Vntana Hollagram experience, said Aldrin, proved to be a perfect fit to communicate the end benefit of using the Vanish Stick product.

 

"Using the newly released Hollogram Selfie not only helped dramatize the result of using Vanish, but it also echoed the modernity of the product itself," explained Aldrin.
 

Following a demo and discussion, Hourglass decided to use the AR tool for the product launch.
 

"We hosted the launch event in Venice because the store's state-of-the-art design aesthetic mirrors the sleek and modern design of the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick," explained Aldrin. "Since we were expecting to have influencers in attendance, we wanted to have a social media integration and immersive experience which our guests would enjoy and share with their followers."
 

The launch technology success, said Aldrin, was tied to Hourglass' strategy and philosophy when embracing tech such as AR.
 

"Think about the experience you want your users to share and then work on creating that," advised Aldrin.
 

Vntana, meanwhile, just announced the launch of what it calls the "first-ever" artificial intelligence hologram concierge for retail, sports and hospitality.
 

The hologram reacts and responds to consumers' questions without the need for a wearable or touchscreen device while at the same time collecting consumer data.
 

Vntana said it lets retailers automatically respond to customers' real-time needs and wants, which leads to increased revenue.

"Artificial reality is just emerging in retail today, which makes it an exciting time to be a part of the industry. We've seen a few retail leaders like Nike, Hourglass and NYX Professional Makeup use our hologram technology and other AR mobile apps, but this is just the beginning," Vntana's Crowder told Retail Customer Experience in an email interview.
 

For years, many retailers have likely viewed such emerging tools as too costly, but that's fast becoming a misconception.

 

"We have solutions for all sizes," said Crowder, who predicts AR will be "everywhere" in retail in the next five to 10 years.

 

"Retailers have to develop attractive experiences that get people back into brick-and-mortar stores while seamlessly connecting the online to offline experience," said Crowder. "Vntana hologram concierge and other AR tools help do this by syncing with stores' ecommerce sites and being a physical presence to engage consumers in store."


Topics: Assisted Selling, Augmented Reality, Marketing, Merchandising, Shopper Marketing, Technology



Judy Mottl

Judy Mottl is an experienced editor, reporter and blogger who has worked for top media including AOL, InformationWeek and InternetNews. She’s written everything from breaking news to in-depth trends. She loves a great pitch so email here, follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.

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