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Woolworths rolls out virtual beauty services in SA

Woolworths has launched two new digital beauty experiences, Virtual Try On and Virtual Consultations, which are designed to help consumers reinvent their beauty shopping experience at home and gain more confidence before making a purchase.


Claimed to be the first of its kind from a South African beauty retailer, the virtual beauty experiences were designed to offer customers an engaging and personalised service from the safety and comfort of their homes.

Make-up testing, personalised advice


The Virtual Try On service gives customers the opportunity to try on hundreds of shades of lipsticks, eye shadows and mascaras. The feature creates realistic applications of these products through augmented reality that can be tested on any skin tone and allows customers to assess textures, colours and looks. Based on this initial rollout, Woolworths will then look to extend the Virtual Try On offering into its stores, providing interactive screens for customers to trial beauty products.

The retailer has also partnered with Estee Lauder and Clarins to reinvent Beauty Consultations, giving shoppers at home access to one-on-one, digital-based beauty consultations with beauty specialists. Customers will be able to receive personalised skincare advice, product recommendations and application techniques, offering a human touch that many have missed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Both of these experiences are complementary and aim to replicate the high-touch customer experience Woolworths is known for in store.

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Transforming the beauty business


“Over the past two years, Woolworths has been expanding its Beauty business both in store and online, with the launch of key brands like Chanel, Clinique, Clarins, Bobbie Brown, Tom Ford, Smashbox and our own highly regarded private label, WBeauty.

"The unprecedented growth of online shopping over the past 12 months, alongside the health and safety protocols of testing samples in store, has ushered in a new opportunity for us to transform the beauty shopping experience while continuing to build the differentiated capabilities across our digital platforms,” says Liz Hillock, Woolworths head of online and mobile.

According to Woolworths, its Beauty online offering has experienced triple-digit growth and the launch of the virtual beauty experiences "further bolsters its position as a leading beauty retailer in South Africa". The retailer now offers over 80 international and local beauty brands and, with these new experiences, aims to broaden its reach and interact virtually with customers in a more meaningful way.

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To get started, shoppers can visit the Woolworths website via their mobile and desktop/laptop, select the ‘Beauty’ drop-down tab and click on the new ‘Virtual Services’ section. From there, customers can choose a product to sample, select ‘Try it on’, take or upload a photograph of themselves and then channel test out a wide range of signature makeup products in just a few clicks.

Similar to what customers are used to in store, the Virtual Beauty Consultations are available for those who are looking for an interactive in-depth consultation with a Clarins or Estee Lauder advisor.
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