MAC Expand AR Tool for eCommerce
With Make-Up sales continuing strongly during Covid, cosmetics firm MAC has extended its AR try-on tool, which before now was available in 2.6% of stores, to its eCommerce website.
The company has been working with YouCam, a beauty-focused AR software, to provide a virtual try-on service for MAC lip, eye, and soon, foundation products. The feature started rolling out to nation-specific websites for UK, UAE, and more in March, but is now widely available.
MAC global CMO, Ukonwa Ojo, explained that “only the digital-first brands can win in this novel atmosphere”, and that “identifying new ways to connect virtually with consumers whilst they are practicing social distancing at home is important”.
For beauty brands like MAC, it is often the experience before buying that drives conversion. Popular in-store services like demonstrations and expert consultations are not possible during the pandemic, so firms have had to come up with creative ways to offer some sort of unique engagement to customers.
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Other beauty brands have had success with similar AR features. Sephora was an early adopter of AR try-on technology, with its Virtual Artist app driving 200 million try-ons of make-up shades between 2016-2018. Linda Smith, founder of FaceCake Marketing Technologies, a company that provides online and in-store experiences for brands, said that heritage clients of her firm typically see 350%-400% increases in online basket size and monthly conversions after adding an AR tool.
“Naturally, the move toward social distancing is a great opportunity for us to rethink how we can create these kinds of experiences for customers while socially distancing at home,” said Ojo. “This makes innovative digital platforms to connect and engage with customers all the more important.”
H&M group begins online eCommerce expansion
The H&M group, which controls brands that include Cos, Weekday, Monki and more, has announced the expansion of its website to 9 new European markets.
This news comes as the entire retail industry looks to eCommerce to mitigate losses that occurred during the covid-19 lockdown. The continually growing company will now be initiating websites in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Croatia, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus as of the 20th May.
Like many others H&M has experienced a huge loss of sales during the pandemic, dropping 57% since the beginning of March. However, their eCommerce growth has stopped that number from being significantly larger, as their online sales are up 32%. This decline in sales has differed from country to country. In regions that have higher than average eCommerce activity and the H&M website has been active for some time prior to the pandemic, losses have been lower. Germany, for example, has a significantly high number of online shoppers, with 83% of the population having made eCommerce purchases in the past 12 months. Here, H&M sales fell by 46% during lockdown – still a significant loss, but much less than in other countries.
H&M has said that the coronavirus has highlighted “the importance of integrated channels”. The company also notes that it has “welcomed a large number of customers who previously haven’t tried our online offer… This has accelerated the ongoing trends and led to substantial increases of online in all of our markets”.
Facebook Ads Features to Help Businesses Through Covid-19
Facebook has added new features tailored towards helping small businesses in the wake of COVID-19.
The company hopes to raise awareness for local businesses by making it easier for users to share and promote them to their friends, while also giving the businesses more exposure in their locality.
The social media giant has created a new section called ‘Businesses Nearby’, which shows users the latest postings from businesses located within a certain adjustable radius. The feature also makes it easier for users to see opening hours, delivery options, or calls to action from the page, like ‘Order Now’. The company has said that this should allow users to “more quickly find essential products and services” and also help the pages get “more virtual foot traffic as they move online to stay open.” The move to eCommerce has been essential for retailers trying to keep sales coming in during the coronavirus pandemic, with IMRG reporting that online sales reached a ten year high in April.
Instagram has also made efforts to support businesses, launching a new sticker for Instagram stories saying “Support Small Business”, which adds the pictures to a highlight story, collating all other stories using that hashtag. This aims to bring further exposure to the Instagram accounts of businesses, helping them grow their presence on social media, which studies have shown plays a vital role in creating loyal customers.
The company has also made changes to it’s Facebook Messenger app, by adding a dedicated business Inbox in the app, which makes switching between personal messages and business messages much easier for Business Owners. Their Business Resource Hub, which has already been a source of information for SME’s, will host resources for companies looking to improve their online presence. This is just the latest initiative Facebook has launched to help SME’s, as back in March they announced that 30,000 small businesses around the world were eligible to receive their newly launched grant funding.