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JC Penney launches AI skincare advisor, AR makeup try-on

The retailer is partnering with Revieve to add personalization tools to JC Penney Beauty.

JC Penney launches AI skincare advisor, AR makeup try-on

Creating a shopping experience isn’t just about showing a product to someone, and providing the functionality so that they can purchase it.

While those are important elements, it’s the steps in between that make the difference between a person browsing for an item, and buying it.

This is especially important to remember in ecommerce, where many of the in-store elements of merchandising, try-on and associate guidance aren’t automatically built-in.

A new beauty initiative launched by JC Penney offers a look at how these elements can be added to digital shopping journeys to help inform users, and allow consumers to test out a product before they buy it.

Through a partnership with Revieve, the department store retailer is launching a digital skincare and makeup experience that is designed to help shoppers arrive at cosmetics that are right for them.

JC Penney is launching a Skincare Advisor, which uses AI to help users develop a skincare routine. Shoppers can access this tool through JC Penney’s website, where they are prompted to submit a selfie and answer a questionnaire. Then, skincare diagnostics technology from Revieve is employed to analyze more than 120 metrics. After conducting an analysis, it provides product recommendations and skincare education that is tailored to a user’s needs.

The retailer is also launching augmented reality-powered makeup try-on. With augmented reality, a digital overlay of a product can be placed within the frame of a camera app on a device. As users view the product on their likeness in the camera app, they can get a sense of what they would look like in a product.

a screenshot of JC Penney Beauty.

JC Penney Beauty goes online. (Courtesy photo)

The new tools come in the year after the retailer launched JC Penney Beauty, a new experience built around inclusivity. Housed within JC Penney stores and online, it offers more than 170 brands, aiming to provide a cross-section of mass, masstige, and prestige products.

"We want to be the shopping destination of choice, offering a personalized approach that fully celebrates and honors [shoppers] as unique individuals," says Michelle Wlazlo, chief merchandising officer at JCPenney, in a news release. “Our partnership with Revieve allows us to deliver on our customers' desire for personalization regardless of age, gender, race, skin tone, beauty regimen, or budget.”

Digital tools are increasingly being embraced in the beauty industry. In January, Axios reported that AR-powered virtual try-on is becoming “table stakes” among brands and retailers in cosmetics. Providing information and offering a look at a product could help to inspire a purchase. Offering personalized experiences is also a way for retailers to offer a delightful experience for shoppers.

"We are delighted to be partnering with JCPenney – one of the only department chains in the US to bet on personalization and simultaneously launch new digital experiences in two beauty categories,” said Sampo Parkkinen, CEO and founder at Helsinki, Finland-based Revieve.

Retailers long relied on the beauty counter to provide try-on experience and consultations. Now, they can turn to tools that provide additional touchpoints, and reach across online and in-store channels.

The elements of a complete shopping experience are coming into view.

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LadderUp will include an 8-week ecommerce course. (Courtesy photo)

Shipt is launching a new accelerator program designed to provide ecommerce tools for local retailers.Called LadderUp, the program is centered on equity. Target-owned delivery owned Shipt said conversations with business owners have revealed that local entrepreneurs face “gaps” in technology, but they also want to participate in ecommerce platforms. The COVID-19 pandemic was especially difficult for Black business owners, who saw earnings drop between 11-28% in 2019-2020, as compared to the earnings decrease of 5-17% for the rest of the population.

With the new program, the company’s goal is to reach at least 50% LGBTQ+ and BIPOC participation in the program.

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