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How Beauty Can Master The Metaverse

How Beauty Can Master The Metaverse
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About 60% of Millennials want to make purchases in virtual worlds. As consumers spend time in virtual spaces, brands experiment with NFTs, digital storefronts, and virtual products for avatars.

As we venture into the metaverse, beauty brands are quickly embracing technological advancements and are experimenting with web3, NFTs, and the metaverse. Brands that don't get involved now risk missing out on the opportunity to develop strategies in this rapidly changing and growing space.

Market research company eMarketer.com estimated that the number of people using some form of extended-reality technology, particularly virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR), made up 18 and 28%, respectively, of the US population in 2021. For context, that is 58.9 million people who have used some form of virtual reality and 93.3 million who have used some form of augmented reality.

Beauty brands are finding their place as the metaverse becomes more immersive. With a natural edge on TikTok and YouTube, the beauty industry has lagged behind the fashion industry. Without logos and distinctive apparel and accessory designs, the skincare, makeup, and fragrance industries have different challenges related to web3. Modiface virtual try-on and virtual reality have been pioneers in AR advancements on web3.

Blockchain, spatial computing, the virtual identity of people, and virtual shopping events, new products, or custom NFT collectibles additionally serve as an entry point for brands. NARS recently collaborated with three female artists to create NFTs inspired by their iconic NARS Orgasm product line. Clinique and e.l.f. Cosmetics have also started experimenting with NFTs. Rihanna recently filed a trademark to sell Fenty Beauty products as virtual cosmetics – a hint at what's to come.

This article will explore the metaverse and how beauty brands can capitalize on the metaverse to engage, educate, and capture consumers.

How Can Beauty Brands Enter The Metaverse?

As we discussed recently, the metaverse is a digital universe that blends virtual and physical spaces, where consumers can interact for work, play, or commerce. It will not be dominated by one platform but consist of many platforms, entry points, and experiences.

Regarding specific metaverses, there is more than one digital platform to choose from – although, for beauty, Decentraland seems to be the favored platform with its focus on freedom and expression.

Beauty brands are looking to make their mark in the metaverse with the rise of NFTs (non-fungible tokens), which are unique digital certificates that verify ownership of a specific digital asset. As they do, they will have to navigate how to reach a new kind of audience to make their digital assets stand out.

Clinique’s latest campaign, Metaverse Like Us, has tapped three artists to create NFT makeup looks, which will be available to holders of PFPs from the Non Fungible People community. Non Fungible People is a collection of hyper-realistic NFTs representing women and non-binary people. 60% depict people of color, and 20% show those facing mobility challenges, Down Syndrome, and Vitiligo.

Beauty translates well to virtual experiences thanks to cosmetics' inherent experimentation and sense of play. According to Accenture, nearly half of all consumers surveyed (including 42% of Gen X shoppers and even 23% of Baby Boomers) are interested in buying virtual "looks" that can be applied to their avatar or themselves virtually through a digital filter.

Building beauty products for the metaverse doesn't equate to just creating digital copies but rethinking how the products appear online. In April 2022, Valde Beauty released 34 crystal Armors (physical refillable lipstick vessels) that are being sold exclusively in the metaverse. These Armors come in three styles (from white quartz to amethyst, ranging from $1,200 to $2,500). Each comes with NFT artwork, 11 refillable lipsticks, and exclusive access to the brand's makeup artists via a chat room.

NARS and Dior Beauty have partnered with avatar specialist Zepeto to create phygital products in a virtual setting, while Charlotte Tilbury has done similarly and partnered with Obsess to build a VR store that enables social shopping.

Beauty brands are sizing the metaverse to educate – consumers and employees. Dyson has also created a metaverse experience for its hairdryers and straighteners, allowing shoppers to test devices online.

Beauty brands are using the metaverse to drive employee engagement and learning. Dermalogica is testing the waters in-house, rather than focusing on brand-to-consumer activation, creating the first in-house digital ambassador who trains employees on new treatments, products, and protocols.

Brands leverage virtual-only events to create value and a sense of community for their most loyal customers. Estée Lauder recently entered Decantraland and was the exclusive beauty brand to partner with Metaverse Fashion Week in March. The event invited users to step inside the Advanced Night Repair' little brown bottle' to unlock an NFT that gives their avatars a glowing, radiant aura.

According to WWD, consumers have a surprising amount of enthusiasm among consumers for metaverse shopping, with 70% of virtual store visitors purchasing items. While these digital touchpoints are no replacement for in-person activities, the metaverse unlocks new and sophisticated experiences. Such experiences are different from those we experience in online and offline beauty channels.

As with all new technologies, brands ought to keep a pulse and experiment with new ideas while we all track how the technology evolves.  In short: there are times when it makes sense to dip into the metaverse and times to turn to real-world activations.

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