Sephora is the industry-leading chain of cosmetic stores that have used technology to position itself as the number one specialty beauty retailer in the world. While other cosmetic companies rely heavily on department store sales, Sephora offers customers a number of tech options that allow them to personalize their shopping experience by trying on makeup virtually using AR, matching their skin tone to a foundation with AI, and sampling a fragrance via a touchscreen and scented air.
Sephora’s was founded in France by Dominique Mandonnaud in 1970, and acquired by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 1997. The company now operates some 2,300 stores in 33 countries worldwide, with more than 430 stores across the Americas.
Sephora Virtual Artist, an AR tool that allows customers to try on thousands of shades of lipstick, eyeshadow, false lashes, and many other makeup products sold at Sephora. It also lets users go through beauty tutorials on their own face digitally to learn how to achieve certain looks. A new feature called Color Match taps AI to help customers find the right color shade for their skin tone via an uploaded photo. Virtual Artist is available in the Sephora app as well as in select stores.
For the past five years, ModiFace and Sephora experimented with AR. ModiFace worked closely with Sephora to ensure every single color of a virtual product matches the product in real life.
Customers in New York City can try out the Innovation Lab’s newest tech venture, Tap and Try. The technology lets you pick any lip or lash product on an endcap display, and immediately try it on using Sephora Virtual Artist combined with RFID scanning.
Several stores across North America offer Sephora’s Fragrance IQ experience with a first-to-market sensory technology called InstaScent. After filling out an online scent profile, InstaScent allows clients to test 18 different scents using a dry air delivery system so they can test them out without actually trying them on.
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First spotted by Co.Design, the new nail technology uses sensors embedded in gel polish to track our behavior by the touch. It’s the work of Kristina Ortega and Jenny Rodenhouse of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. They believe wearable, purposeful nails could soon be all over the place as standard salons themselves.
Reading online reviews of a business, can be difficult trying to determine which reviews are legitimate and which aren’t much more than a paid advertisement placed by either the company itself, or someone who got some type of kickback for writing a positive review, such as a gift certificates or free merchandise.
Some companies are being proactive and deleting or marking reviews they suspect to be fake, such as Yelp with their Consumer Alerts. The FTC already considers fake reviews illegal.
New York regulators announced their crackdown on illegal reviews, and have reached agreements with 19 different companies who will stop posting and soliciting fake reviews as well as pay $350,000 in penalties.
The crackdown, dubbed “Operation Clean Turf”, targeted both companies who purchased the fake reviews, as well as the companies who are creating the fake reviews. A total of seven companies offering “reputation enhancement” services were caught in the year-long investigation, along with their clients they post reviews for.The types of businesses caught include a laser hair removal chain, and adult entertainment club, the charter bus service U.S. Coachways, and a teeth whitening service.
In a 2011 Harvard Business School study, a researcher discovered that restaurants that increased their ranking on Yelp by one star raised their revenues by 5 to 9 percent. A 2012 Gartner study estimated that one in seven recommendations or ratings on social media sites like Facebook would soon be fake. And there have been instances where all the reviews of a product have been secretly bought and paid for by the seller of the product.
According to the press release, these were the 19 companies penalized:
- A&E Wig Fashions, Inc. d/b/a A&E and NYS Surgery Center
- A.H. Dental P.C. d/b/a Platinum Dental
- Body Laser Spa Inc.
- The Block Group, LLC, d/b/a Laser Cosmetica and LC MedSpa, LLC
- Bread and Butter NY, LLC d/b/a La Pomme Nightclub and Events Space
- Envision MT Corp.
- Medical Message Clinic and HerballYours.com
- Metamorphosis Day Spa, Inc.
- Outer Beauty, P.C., Lite Touch Plastic Surgery, P.C., Staten Island Special Surgery, P.C., Sans Pareil Surgical, PLLC
- Stillwater Media Group
- Swan Media Group, Inc. and Scores Media Group, LLC
- US Coachways Limousine, Inc. and US Coachways, Inc.
- Utilities International, Inc. d/b/a Main Street Host
- The Web Empire, LLC
- Webtools, LLC and Webtools Internet Solutions Ltd.
- West Village Teeth Whitening Service, LLC; Magic Smile, Inc., aka Magic Smile
- XVIO, Inc.
- Zamdel, Inc. d/b/a eBoxed