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Beauty shopping gets AR upgrade

May 14,2018
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Hyundai Department Store’s online mall thehyundai.com offers a virtual makeup service for eight global beauty brands through app Makeup Plus. [HYUNDAI DEPARTMENT STORE]
Hyundai Department Store’s online mall has launched an augmented reality (AR) service that allows customers to virtually try on makeup products, the retailer announced Sunday.

The virtual service includes more than 20 different products from eight beauty brands, including Estee Lauder, Shu Uemura and Benefit. Using an AR image of their own face, customers can try on different color variations of each product to see how they look. Hyundai said it plans to expand the number of brands to 20 in the future.

“With the virtual makeup service, customers no longer have to visit brick-and-mortar stores to try on products and can simply choose items through our app,” Hyundai said in a statement.

Users can gain access to the AR makeup service via thehyundai.com or its app. Cosmetics products that offer the virtual service appear with a camera sticker on the product page. One click leads the user to the Makeup Plus app, which uses a live video feed that allows users to see how the product would look on their face from multiple angles.

Makeup Plus is a virtual makeup app that has been downloaded over 200 million times since it launched in 2015. In Korea alone, the app is used by 500,000 people each month.

Its developer, Chinese tech company Meitu, worked in partnership with Hyundai Department Store for the service’s launch.

Makeup Plus started out allowing customers to try on different colors of generic products, such as orange blush or red lipstick. It later expanded the service to include real-life products and actual brands; in Korea these were mainly local brands like Missha and The Face Shop. A link to the brand’s website would appear with each product.

The partnership with Hyundai Department Store has enlarged the inventory to include global beauty brands. For Hyundai’s part, the advantage is that Makeup Plus users who wish to buy products from these brands will be redirected to thehyundai.com to buy them.

From a strategic point of view, the tech-smart service is an effort by thehyundai.com to find a way to differentiate itself from other online retailers, among which the main focus for competition is currently on delivery speed and prices.

“Customers that use online shopping malls want fun services and products rather than making a purchase 100 to 200 won cheaper,” said Lee Hee-jun, a senior executive at Hyundai Department Store’s e-commerce department. “We plan to use thehyundai.com to create new shopping experiences that combine offline retail and IT.”


BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]