A new way for consumers to try on contact lenses shows how methods of shopping that were once wholly physical are becoming more virtual — a trend that could become even more pronounced because of the pandemic.
Perfect Corp., which sells technology to beauty brands, said Monday it was working with Johnson & Johnson on a tool that enables consumers to virtually try on contact lenses via augmented reality (AR). Specifically, Johnson & Johnson provided the feature “within its Acuvue flagship Taobao and WeChat mini programs,” which function like niche or even boutique retail shops located in vast e-commerce ecosystems. Consumers generally uses mobile phones and can use selfies when using such tools.
“This is the first AR virtual try-on service for colored contact lenses offered in Taobao and WeChat mini programs,” Perfect Corp. said, which operates YouCam Makeup, a virtual beauty app. “Perfect Corp.’s advanced facial recognition technology accurately detects the position of the eyes and allows for true-to-life AR virtual contact lens try-on.”
This new AR-enabled shopping feature also enables consumers to try on different eye colors. “Users can virtually apply eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss, blush, and other makeup products for a full AR makeover experience in real-time,” the company said.
"Providing a safe way for our customers to try different colored contacts is our primary goal," said Ashley Ding, the marketing director of Johnson & Johnson Acuvue China. "We hope these AR try-on mini programs will allow customers to try on our colored contacts effortlessly, anytime, anywhere. We've also provided different makeup styles to match our colored contact lens, which enables consumers to have an even more personalized and glamorous try-on experience.”
The release of this new retail shopping features comes amid increasing use of contactless processes through many parts of commerce in response to pandemic risk. But the AR and visual commerce were on an upswing before the outbreak, and other recent developments provide an idea of where this tread is headed.
Take Pinterest, for instance. It recently announced a new service that enables shoppers on Pinterest to use its Lens camera tool to find products that are available for sale on the platform. Here’s how Pinterest described the new feature: “Just click the camera in the search bar, snap or upload a photo, and see a ‘Shop’ tab with a feed of shoppable Pins based on the in-stock products we've identified in that image. Every Product Pin links directly to the checkout page on the retailer's site.”
Expect to see more activity in retail as mobile technology continue to improve, especially with the ongoing deployment of new 5G mobile networking technology.