World leading beauty company, COTY, owner of a portfolio of unique contemporary brands, set out to positively disrupt the beauty industry with a radical approach to enable consumers to trial and shop a range of nail lacquer from OPI. Collaborating with Play Retail and integrator Pioneer Group over 400 free-standing virtual reality (VR) interactive display units have been rolled out globally.
COTY appointed Play, specialists in the design and production of branded retail spaces and customer experiences, to create a stimulating interaction to make shopping for nail lacquer a simpler and more enjoyable experience. Once the concept was created, Play enlisted the support of technology integrators Pioneer Group for the specification and installation of the digital hardware and configuration of the pods.
Play conceptualised a free standing display unit (FSDU), which would employ VR software, allowing shoppers to try out shades of OPI’s nail lacquer on a digital representation of their own hand in real time. Combining the use of 3D generated content with motion-tracking software and a digital signage display, shoppers can walk up to the device and instantly start interacting.
Mark Childerhouse of Pioneer Group explains: “AV technology is now a widespread feature of retail environments and with recent developments in VR, it’s an exciting time for retail spaces. This project with OPI is a prime example of how AV and VR continue to shape the shopping experience and we look forward to seeing what’s in store for these technologies in future.“
As well as providing an experience for shoppers, the FSDU also reports invaluable information to OPI. This transforms the unit into a research tool which can help OPI develop strategies and campaigns, and optimise the merchandising of further units with a view to increase sales across specific regions. Given the average shopper spends just three minutes browsing in duty-free, data insight is crucial for monitoring usage so that OPI’s marketing teams can convert interest into sales.
Mark Howell, creative director at Play Group said: “Until now, there have been barriers for shoppers who want to physically try nail lacquer shades prior to purchase – in contrast to lipstick, foundation and eyeshadow shades which are readily available for in-store trial – so when OPI tasked Play with re-inventing its travel retail units to engage and excite customers, we rose to the challenge, looking at how customers want to shop and how technology could improve the in store experience.”
Due to such a positive response to the first FSDUs, the rollout of the project now extends to over 400 locations worldwide, reaching over one billion potential shoppers since it began. From August 2017 to August 2018 COTY saw a 24 percent uplift in OPI sales. Through reducing the need for physical samples, COTY also reduced costs of wasted products, simultaneously removing hygiene risks and improving the customer experience.
Howell continued: “OPI’s retail estate will continue to grow, with the digital nail trial expanding into more locations in the coming months such as department stores and supermarkets. But we’re not stopping there! Exciting plans for the next phase of development include the addition of a social sharing functionality to drive brand advocacy for OPI, as well as developing the unit to be part of an omni-channel approach in domestic markets, creating and seamlessly linking shopper profiles and brand interactions both online and offline.”