Wearable items like makeup and apparel can be tricky to buy online, which is why brands are implementing tools like virtual try-ons via mobile or augmented reality to help build consumer confidence in their purchases

As e-commerce continues to expand, today's shoppers have more purchase options than ever before, resulting in a new path to purchase that is non-linear and multi-channel. Nonetheless, shoppers expect a seamless, personalized experience no matter which channels they use to start and end their journey, which beauty and fashion brands are tailoring to swiftly guide shoppers along the purchase path from the comfort of their homes.

Developing shopper marketing that effectively reaches shoppers at home is crucial for brands to cultivate better customer relationships and drive sales, which PSFK outlines in its recent report, the Shopper Marketing Debrief. In the realm of fashion and beauty, doing so includes helping customers try beauty products remotely in the pre-purchase stage using augmented reality and mobile applications, or enabling  personalized apparel recommendations and offers with live-chat capabilities. Here are some tactics that retailers are employing to help facilitate at-home purchasing of beauty and apparel items:

The right choice
Shoppers today have a greater array of options than ever before, which can paradoxically make it more difficult for them to make a purchase decision, especially when shopping at home. Retailers can help boost shopper confidence before making a purchase using personalization to effectively pare down options and deliver only the most relevant content to shoppers.

For example, skincare company Neutrogena launched a tool and app that scans users’ skin and offers expert advice and personalized Neutrogena product recommendations, offering the SkinScanner tool that attaches to shoppers' cell phones. The tool synchs to the Skin360 app that analyzes their skin’s moisture level, pores and lines and receive a unique Skin360 score, helping then guide users to the best products for their particular needs. Similarly, H&M partnered with Google on a voice application that provides styling suggestions for the home, powered by Google Assistant, that lets H&M's Home Stylist give customers styling and product recommendations via voice technology.

Virtual Try-On
While online shopping provides convenience, shoppers still have a deep-seated desire to see, touch and try out a product before making a purchase decision, especially when it comes to wearable items like makeup, skincare, clothing and accessories. This is why brands are using augmented reality platforms to bring digital content to life in the real world, using 3D simulations to let shoppers see how products will look in different settings and virtually try them at home before purchasing.

In fact, 71% of U.K. consumers say they would use augmented reality in their own smartphones as a shopping tool for assistance in visualizing desired items, boosting shopper confidence during the selection process and increasing conversions. Target, for instance, uses AR to let shoppers virtually try on makeup with its Target Beauty Studio service, which uses real-time face-mapping technology to let users try on hundreds of different makeup items through the Target website or app, giving shoppers an easy, mess-free way to try out different looks before purchasing.

This is just a glimpse at some of the tools and strategies brands are deploying to help encourage and optimize at-home purchases within beauty and fashion. For more on how businesses are revolutionizing the way customers shop and helping guide them along their purchase journey, see PSFK's recently launched Shopper Marketing Debrief.