L’Oréal partners with Boots for AI-powered spot-scanning advice tool

Apr 15, 2019 | E-commerce and E-retailing, FMCG digital marketing, Mobile

L’Oreal has pioneered the role of AI and AR in cosmetics, creating the Makeup Genius app that trailblazed a new digital approach to “try before you buy”. In a sector where product trial is constrained by the number of people able to get to beauty counters in stores and meet advisors, L’Oreal realised that digital channels could overcome the bottleneck.

The French beauty conglomerate’s skincare brand La Roche-Posay has launched a spot-diagnosis tool created by artificial intelligence, offering free dermatological advice online via a partnership with Boots.

Rather than using an app, the Effaclar Spotscan tool is available at Boots.com, letting mobile users and PC users with webcams scan their face and receive free advice on treatments for blemishes.

The tool is compatible with Android and Apple phones and is the first free online tool of its kind to give practical dermatologist advice on the sort of treatment it would respond best to, based around the brand’s products.

How it works

Using a phone, users need to visit the Boots website where the link to scan is exclusively available here. The app is also available in the brand webpage here, which can be accessed via a QR Code scan.

The free tool takes three snaps of the person’s skin before analysing the severity of the blemishes. Spotscan will then take three images of their skin to get an accurate reading, before it counts and compares blemishes to a database of 6,000 dermatologist patient photos of all ethnicities.

From there it will rate the severity of the acne or blemishes from 0 to 4+, before giving specific expert advice and product recommendations that your skin would benefit from.

The user will receive their grade and a total count of the number of blackheads, inflammatory spots and brown marks left by spots.

If the tool believes the acne could potentially leave scarring or longer-term effects, it will also be able to re-direct people to a specialist.

Being a brand-funded tool, the recommendations will be based around La Roche-Posay products depending on skin type and grading. Where appropriate the tool will redirect patients with more serious acne to a specialist.

The results can be saved as a screenshot and the tool re-visited at any time, allowing users to track their skin progress as they incorporate the Spotscan tool’s recommendations.

The increasing role of AI in beauty brand marketing

The move signals a shift in how AI will play a greater role in product recommendations in the future, in healthcare and beyond. L’Oreal is not merely using these approaches in campaigns but partnering buying an AR company, YouCam MakeUp, which shows they see this as a core capability and strategic advantage.

This is not the first time that L’Oreal has used AI and AR in its marketing efforts. Back in 2016, it launched Make Up Genius. The app used mobile cameras like a mirror to impose different make up patterns onto a user’s face. View the case study here.

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