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Latest technologies bring new dimensions to retail channels

By Simon Pitman , 04-Dec-2012
Last updated the 03-Dec-2012 at 15:45 GMT

At the recent in-cosmetics Asia event, Mintel senior analyst Vivienne Rudd gave a presentation that highlighted the latest technological innovations being used to entice consumers in the retail aisles.

Entitled 'Access Anything, Anywhere', the presentation focused on the rise of the mobile phone and smart technology and highlighted how such technology is impacting the cosmetic retailing segment, and what possibilities consumers will be faced with in the near future.

The first technology to be highlighted in the presentation was the growing trend for digital signage, and how that is being developed to overal reality with it.

Digital signage gets a new dimension

"This is giving the store a real sense of theatre, but also giving the customer more information about the products and really bringing the customer into buying experience," Rudd explained in an exclusive interview with Cosmetics Design.

"Currently Amor Pacific is really maximizing what is essentially a very small selling space by combining a projection motion sensor technology and sound effects to test the consumer and the product. The technology tracks where the consumer is, then uses recognition technology to detect if it is a man or a woman, and then it flashes up imagery around the product that is targeted."

Rudd went on to explain that if the consumer is standing in front of a water based product, with moisturizing properties, the sound track is of water and beaches and the imagery is of water moving around. Then, as the consumer moves away from the products, the water slowly starts to turn into a trickle behind them, creating what Rudd describes as an "absolutely amazing impact'.

Coming to a retail store near you, soon...

Looking to new technologies that are emerging within the retail environment, Rudd turned her attention to two new innovation that have been first adopted in Brazil that are expected to shape the way cosmetics are promoted and sold in-store.

"Sports brand adidas has been the first two adopt a technology that projects an image of a real life male and female model, but in digital form. To the side of the models there's a whole window of clothes and shoes and as consumers touch the relevant images, the aparel is then appears the model," Rudd said.

"Then, using a smart phone app, they can point their phone at the products in the window and buy them then and there. So this if fantastics for impluse window shoppers, it's amazing for retailers because they are providing 24-hour retailing, without having to provide 24-hour opening times."

Taking the virtual mirror one step further

The second example is a new form of virtual mirror that Brazilian cosmetics provider Natura has been developing in conjunction with Connect, from Microsoft. Rudd believes that builds on the first generation of virtual mirrors, which were clunky and awkward.

The first generation of virtual mirrors have been largely used for color cosmetics allowing consumers to click on a shade and then it automatically applies it to a photo of you. But the technology depends on the quality of the photo as to how well the make-up is illustrated.

"This new technology is completely different. Again you have the imagery of the products at the side of the screen, but if you point at the products, you then use your finger to apply, say a lipstick, to yourself in the mirror in real time," said Rudd.

"This is a much more realistic experience and a much more realistic evocation of a make-up look and for a company like Natura, which is largely a direct sales company, this takes them outside of their comfort zone in consumers' homes and into new areas, helping them reach new people.The only element I think that's missing is that you can't buy the products at the same time. But I imagine that would be the next step for it."

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