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John Lewis uses AR to offer try before you buy for lipstick as cosmetic sales boom on app

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Shoppers at John Lewis & Partners can now try on a range of lipsticks with nothing more than their smartphone as part of its latest augmented reality (AR) app feature.

Beauty lovers browsing lipsticks in the John Lewis app will now have access to a ‘Try On’ feature which takes them to a live selfie screen where they can test different colours before buying. The virtual lipstick is applied instantly and stays on the lips, moving in real time with the customer.

The feature enables customers to try on a range of shades from 300 brands – including MAC, Bobbi Brown, Charlotte Tilbury, YSL, BECCA and Lancome – giving an accurate representation of how the lipstick looks on them without having to put on and take off multiple products. It will also encourage customers to experiment with new colours they might not have tried before.

The John Lewis app is already a particularly popular channel for beauty customers, with beauty accounting for 17% of all app orders. However research found that when it came to buying new lipsticks, customers were keen to test out different shades before purchasing.

Sienne Veit, Director, Digital for John Lewis & Partners, explains: “As we look at new ways of weaving innovative technology into the services and experiences we offer our customers, I’m really excited by the possibilities of working with AR. Service is one of the top reasons our customers choose to shop with us and this is the perfect example of us combining the expertise of our Beauty Hall Partners with the very best technology online to give our customers a great experience, however they choose to shop with us. Beauty is the perfect space for us to experiment with this technology and we hope our customers have lots of fun using it.”

Customers wishing to use the feature can download the latest version of the John Lewis & Partners app from the App store. However, Virtual Lipstick is only available to customers who have an iPhone X, XS, XS Max and XR as well as the iPad Pro 11-inch or 12.9inch. Customers will also need to be running their device on iOS 11 or later.

Image: John Lewis & Partners

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