Just like many beauty industry disruptors, Alice Chang didn’t start her career in the industry. From 1997 to 2015, Chang was CEO of the software company Cyberlink Corp (then a start-up), which she grew into an award-winning global brand with rapid expansion. Yet, she had an even bigger vision.
“As a beauty lover, I recognized a gap in the industry for mobile applications of AI and AR technology to simplify the shopping processes,” she said. “I saw that these technologies held potential for solving pain points experienced by beauty shoppers. My vision was to empower the consumer beauty journey through product discovery, try-on, social sharing, and purchasing.”
Over 1bn app downloads
After recognizing these possibilities, Chang developed Perfect Corp. and its YouCam suite of augmented reality apps. “I drew inspiration from my own needs and frustrations as a beauty lover, particularly the process of learning about new products and trying on makeup looks in a quick, efficient, and clean integrated beauty journey,” she revealed.
Today, Perfect Corp. works with over 450 brand partners around the globe and has had more than one billion app downloads.
The company had launched a range of innovations, but one Chang was especially excited about was Perfect Corp.’s AI Skin Diagnostic technology, which helped skin care brands, dermatologists and medical spa professionals provide precise consultations and skin analysis. “This technology is HIPPA-compliant and able to analyze skin in seconds to identify 14 major concerns including wrinkles, redness, skin firmness, radiance, and acne,” she shared. “A new report by Dr. Steven R. Feldman confirmed it was as effective as physician assessments and skin imaging booths in accurately identifying core skin concerns in patients.”
Diversifying into other industries
But it seemed that beauty was just the tip of the iceberg for Perfect Corp., as over the past year, the company developed its innovative AgileHand technology, which leveraged PBR (physically based rendering) technology to deliver hyper-realistic virtual try-on for rings, bracelets, and watches. “Our AI-powered virtual try-on solutions are beginning to drive influence in new spaces, particularly fashion,” said Chang.
AgileHand took into account skin tones, textures, and hand and finger sizes, with adaptive Enhanced Environmental Lighting for more accurate and realistic digital try-on. “These technologies can be used by jewelry brands to allow consumers to virtually try on products through hyper-realistic AR technology,” Chang explained.
Leveraging insights from YouCam app communities
As consumer shopping behaviors continued to change and evolve, Perfect Corp. facilitated a new type of seamless and personalized shopping experience. The YouCam Apps community had over one billion global downloads, which allowed Perfect Corp. to leverage big data insights, to better understand consumer trends and develop impactful solutions to meet their needs. “With our YouCam community, we can see how millions of consumers interact with the beauty tech features in our apps and the types of experiences that captivate them,” said Chang.
Perfect Corp. also worked closely with its 450 global brand partners to dive deeper into consumer beauty behaviors, which has also revealed how trends and beauty preferences vary across regions. This helped the company spot emerging trends and gave guidance on NPD. “In addition to providing hyper-realistic virtual try-on, there are also opportunities to create customized beauty tutorials, consultations, and ad unit experiences using AI and AR technology,” shared Chang.
She also believed there were plenty of opportunities for AI technology in skin care in terms of consultations for dermatology and medical spa businesses. “This tech can help providers educate consumers on skin issues and give personalized product recommendations. As technology develops to be more attuned to consumer needs, I believe consumers will be eager to adapt and interact with new tools,” she said.
AI & AR trends: what’s coming next?
AI and AR technology had enhanced and elevated beauty retail, bringing immersive and personalized experiences across the omni-channel shopping journey, including in-store. “Consumers are beginning to return to in-store shopping and AI/AR technology is essential to provide them with engaging and touchless in-store shopping touchpoints,” said Chang. “These technologies are also becoming integral for ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) strategies – helping companies create more sustainable business practices and reducing product waste with the use of AR virtual try-on.”
Chang believed that AI technology is key to personalization and growth in the industry and it will become essential for brands and retailers to provide customers with tailored advice and recommendations. “In five years, I predict that AI technology will be present across the beauty experience, from online to in-store and across new and emerging platforms,” she revealed. “AI will be ‘table stakes’ as beauty brands begin to enter the world of Web 3.0. These technologies will help brands create the immersive and exciting shopping experience necessary in new digital environments.”
And what’s next for Perfect Corp. itself? “We will look to enhance solutions in beauty while also expanding into fashion and new industries and spaces,” shared Chang. “The opportunities for AI and AR are endless, and we will continue to be at the forefront of innovations that drive the future of retail.”