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Technology is transforming the way the fashion and beauty industries do business. It’s changing the DNA of heritage companies, influencing the ways brands talk to customers today and making the in-store experience smarter. That and more was top of mind at Vogue Business and Snapchat’s evening event on 3 May, which invited Estée Lauder’s chief data officer Jane Lauder, head of Cartier’s retail innovation lab Andrew Haarsager and Snap chief creative officer Colleen DeCourcy together to discuss how they’re harnessing technology effectively with Vogue Business executive Americas editor Hilary Milnes.
During the event, Snap’s head of fashion and beauty Rajni Jacques kicked off the series of discussions with an outlook on how technology is unlocking future relationships between companies and young customers. She pointed out that Snap’s core demographic ranges from 13- to 34-year-olds, meaning companies have the opportunity to get in front of tomorrow’s customers as well as those with purchasing power today.
“Technology has really changed the way we shop online, in store and on app. Our demographic for Snap really hits that Gen Z — 90 per cent Gen Z and 75 per cent of users are between 13 to 34. That demographic really knows innovation. Brands really want to tap into that community,” said Jacques.
Milnes then sat down with Snap’s DeCourcy to find out what brands should know when bringing augmented reality into their marketing efforts, as well as integrating AR Enterprise Services (ARES) into brand and retailers apps and websites. It’s working on pushing forward the technology to apply more to fashion and beauty as an aspirational purchase. “When you look at real luxury goods, we’re bringing generations into the desire cycle for these products, sometimes before people can actually afford them — and that’s all part of aspirational luxury. But I can see what it would look like, how I feel in it, what it says about me. That’s really important.”
Then, Haarsager spoke about Cartier’s retail innovation lab, which opened in Brooklyn in 2017 as an “experiment”, he says, to figure out how to improve the customer experience at Cartier, which is centred on building long-term relationships. The biggest initiative to come out of the lab so far is the Looking Glass, an AR try-on mirror that’s used in stores so that every boutique is stocked with every piece — sometimes in digital form — to be tried on in person. That meant the technology had to be as true to life as possible, because people would be comparing the digital pieces to physical pieces. Not satisfied with 3D modelling tech on the market, Cartier built its own technology for the Looking Glass. That type of investment means the rest of the company has to be on board.