Virtual mirror allows consumers to experiment without trying

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cosmetics Human skin color Mobile phone

EZFace claims its virtual mirror that allows consumers to virtually try color cosmetics before buying can help retailers improve sales.

The Virtual Mirror Kiosk can be placed in the beauty aisle and allows consumers to see how products will look without having to physically try them on.

Advice on good color matches

In addition, the technology can advise the consumer on purchase choice as well as suggesting other products and looks that might work well for their particular skin tone.

First the machine takes a digital photo of the consumer who then scans in the barcode of the product they wish to try. EZFace Virtual Mirror Kiosk then simulates a makeover and suggests other shades and products that fit the consumer’s color profile.

In this respect the technology can help cut down on the number of disappointed consumers who return purchases they are not happy with, as well as prompting the purchase of other related products.

“We built EZFace Virtual Mirror Kiosk to help consumers look their best before they commit to a purchase. It’s a fun, fast and remorse-free way to shop, and retailers can expect to see consumer coming back for more,”​ said EZFace CEO Rami Orpaz.

The technology consists of the EZFace virtual mirror incorporated into an IBM AnyPlace In-Store Kiosk, and even allows the consumer to e-mail or send by phone the makeover results to a friend for advice.

EZFace and IBM are currently showcasing the technology at the National Retail Federation Convention held on January 12-13 in New York.

Technology’s role in retail

The technology is the latest in a number of projects involving some of the biggest technology players, highlighting the potential such advancements hold in the cosmetics retail sector.

Sega and Shiseido are rumoured to be collaborating on Project Beauty, a virtual make up artist developed for the Nintendo DS. The handheld console includes a scanning device that transfers digital images of the user’s face onto one of the two screens.

Make-up for a variety of different occasions can be suggested choosing shades from the software’s virtual palette.

In addition, Hewlett Packard announced in 2007 that it was developing a mobile phone color matching technology.

The technology relies on the ability to analyze and correct photos for possible discrepancies caused by variation in camera type and lighting quality.

The corrected image is then compared against a database of skin tones from almost two hundred women recruited as reference models, and the closest match chosen. The possible foundation products matching the reference models can then be sent to the consumer via mobile phone.

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