Augmented Reality: A New Marketing Tool for Makeup? - A Study on the Drivers and Inhibitors of Customer Experience and Willingness to Purchase

Sara Falcon Bayer & Carolin Herboth

Student thesis: Master thesis


Background - Augmented reality as a marketing tool has gained increased attention. As its effects on customer experience and behavioural outcomes are still under-researched, this study explored the drivers and inhibitors of augmented reality on customer experience and subsequently willingness to purchase. This research studied the case of Sephora, a French beauty retailer, which introduced an augmented reality makeup app, the Virtual Artist, to the market.
Methods - An inductive, exploratory research approach allowed gaining insights into the research topic. Semi-structured interviews served as the collection method for primary data. A total of 11 respondents shared their thoughts on their experience with the Virtual Artist. The interviews were analysed based on inductive latent thematic analysis. The study took place over two weeks.
Results - Augmentation quality and interactivity influence customer experience. On the contrary, there is no willingness to purchase after experiencing the Virtual Artist. Instead of using it as a method of purchase, respondents saw it as a means of inspiration, entertainment, and/or exploration. Both augmentation quality and interactivity contribute to positive emotions such as fun, curiosity, and playfulness leading to short periods of peak experience and flow. Peak performance is assumed not to have been achieved as respondents heavily criticised the “unnaturalness” of the makeup’s augmentation.
Conclusions - The Virtual Artist shows great potential, however, based on this study’s findings, it is used as a complementary gadget rather than as a purchase method. Consumers would use the AR app as a source of inspiration, which then needs to be verified in-store

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages233