Woolworths launches augmented reality beauty experiences

Woolworths is taking its quality in-store shopping experience online with the launch of two new, innovative digital beauty experiences. A first of its kind from a South African based beauty retailer, the introduction of Woolworths’ virtual beauty offerings will see the retailer deliver an unmatched online customer experience, that will not only connect customers virtually to the store, but also offer an exciting, unique and differentiated shopping experience.


COVID-19 has accelerated the growth in online shopping, as customers have shifted to doing their shopping from the comfort and safety of their homes. Through the introduction of these new interactive digital platforms, Woolworths now offers customers the engagement and personalised service they want from Woolies, anytime, anywhere.


The new digital beauty experiences, Virtual Try On and Virtual Consultations, are designed to help consumers reinvent their beauty shopping experience at home and gain more confidence before making a purchase. Virtual Try On 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 access to one-on-one, digital-based beauty consultations with beauty specialists from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Customers will be able to receive personalised skincare advice, product recommendations and application techniques, offering that human touch that everybody has 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.


“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.

Woolworths’ Beauty online offering has already 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, will be able to broaden its reach and interact virtually with customers in a more meaningful way.


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 their inner beauty guru and 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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