PARIS: L’Oréal, the French cosmetics giant, has announced that it has formed a long-term partnership with Facebook that aims to deliver augmented reality (AR) experiences for consumers via the social network’s camera products.

The two companies explained in a statement last week that the collaboration would effectively enable Facebook users to “try on” lipstick, eye shadow or other makeup from L’Oréal’s large portfolio of brands that include such famous names as Lancôme, Giorgio Armani and Yves Saint Laurent.

NYX Professional Makeup will be the first L’Oréal brand to offer AR experiences on Facebook and it is scheduled to be launched on the platform at the end of August before other brands are rolled out at a later date.

ModiFace, the specialist Canadian tech firm that L’Oréal acquired in March, will be in the driving seat for developing the AR experiences and its CEO and founder, Parham Aarabi, described the collaboration with Facebook as “a great new way to discover L’Oréal products and brands”.

Quite apart from the clear advantages of tapping into Facebook’s vast user base, the initiative provides further evidence of L’Oréal’s determination to boost its e-commerce sales.

According to the Financial Times, writing at the time of the ModiFace acquisition, L’Oréal’s e-commerce sales grew 33.6% last year to reach €2bn, a much faster rate than overall group sales, which increased 4.8% in 2017 to €26bn.

China is a particularly important e-commerce market, accounting for more than a quarter of sales, and although Facebook is blocked in the country, Reuters reported that L’Oréal is in talks with other unnamed partners about rolling out similar deals there.

Lubomira Rochet, L’Oréal’s chief digital officer, also told Reuters that social media networks have become the biggest driver of e-commerce sales for the company in terms of attracting traffic and she confirmed that the company is looking at rolling out its AR technology on Instagram, the photo-sharing platform owned by Facebook.

“What we’ve seen on our sites is that when there is a virtual test facility, conversion rates increase significantly,” she said.

Sourced from L’Oréal, Financial Times, Reuters; additional content by WARC staff