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It might be easy to write of the beauty industry as not a good fit for the metaverse. After all, you can’t alter someone’s physical appearance in the metaverse or give them a physical treatment like a manicure. Of course, you can advertise beauty products, but how would the metaverse offer anything more than the current iteration of the internet already does? It turns out that there are already businesses using early versions of the metaverse to enhance the beauty industry. These metaverse companies have had to be a bit more inventive than the gaming sector and other areas that fit in more easily in the world of virtual technologies. Nevertheless, many mainstream beauty brands, including Estée Lauder and Clinique, have begun to establish themselves in the virtual arena. In this article, we will look at some of the ways these brands and others are using the metaverse and consider the benefits of the metaverse for the beauty industry.
Experimentation with the metaverse for beauty industry
According to Vogue Business, the virtual world is the perfect place for the those who like to experiment with cosmetics. With digital twin technology (see our previous Mazer blogs on digital twins: What Is A Digital Twin, And Does How It Work), metaverse companies are now offering to build realistic avatars that look exactly like their owners. Armed with a virtual version of themselves, those who like to try out different beauty products can do so at their leisure in the metaverse, without the need to keep cleaning the products off their body after each application. And you may not even need to go as far as getting a virtual lookalike – augmented reality technology (see our Mazer blog posts on AR: What Is Augmented Reality) provides AR filters that people can use on their phones to see what they will look like wearing certain products before they buy them. In line with this spirit of experimentation and freedom of expression, Rihanna recently entered the metaverse space with her beauty brand, Fenty. At the moment, nobody knows the exact nature of her plans, but she will be offering virtual cosmetics and hair care products within the metaverse. She has already made a success of her beauty brand in the real world, and her abundant creativity is sure to take it far in the metaverse for beauty products as well.
Beauty brands can take advantage of beauty gaming
Gone are the days of gamers mostly being male. Nowadays, the world of gaming has expanded to be far more accessible than it ever used to be. Social media insights company We Are Social recently reported that 80% of female internet users between the ages of 16 and 44 play video games. The metaverse for the beauty industry can take advantage of this fact to harness gaming experiences to promote and sell their products. Early adopters of this approach include Estée Lauder, who created their own virtual microsite, ANRcade, in conjunction with makemepulse – a Paris based company specializing in immersive virtual experiences. Using ANRcade, fans of the brand can go on a virtual tour of their products and even play fun, arcade-style games to learn more about them.
Paco Rabanne is another company who have tried out the virtual world to promote their products. They partnered with Maximum Games to create a campaign based around the fast-paced action game Curved Space. Working with online gaming monetization experts Bidstack, they developed the first fragrance-based player character of any game. Phantom, the name of the fragrance and the character, has a futuristic design, lending itself well to the space exploration and high-intensity action of Curved Space. Such innovation shows how beauty brands can harness the power of the metaverse as it develops.
NFTs also have their part to play (see our Mazer article on NFTs in the metaverse: The Metaverse And NFTs), with brands such as Nars, who combined with the popular Nintendo game Animal Crossing, to release NFTs on the virtual marketplace. As well as NFTs, there are also POAPs (proof of attendance protocol). These act as something like a ticket or other item that confirms your attendance at a particular fashion event. Lottie London used POAPs when they held a prom party on the metaverse platform Decentraland to reveal their new nail collection in collaboration with celebrity nail artist Chaun Legend. They released 1000 unique POAPs, giving the event a feeling of exclusivity and excitement for those able to attend. Decentraland has a history of partnering with beauty brands, with their Metaverse Fashion Week proving particularly popular. The real benefit of this is that it makes fashion shows accessible to communities all around the world, not just those able to get to Paris, London, or New York.
Nars have been quite forward-thinking in this area, also teaming up with the mobile gaming app Drest. Using this app, fans of Nars and other companies such as Gucci Beauty can take on styling challenges using their products before saving the looks they have created in their own personal mood boards. It’s this kind of customization that people love and an area that the metaverse for beauty businesses can really take advantage of.
With the number of younger people regularly enjoying online and virtual experiences constantly on the increase, perhaps this level of engagement in beauty related metaverse gaming shouldn’t be a surprise. Metaverse platform Roblox reported in 2021 that 1 in 5 users updates their avatar on a daily basis. It is this kind of fact that reveals the joy of experimentation which metaverse beauty brands can take advantage of.
Several companies have experimented with opening virtual stores in the metaverse. Obsess, a company specializing in constructing e-commerce platforms for leading retailers, helped develop virtual shopping spaces for Dermalogica and Nars. These shops aren’t just recreations of physical stores, they offer much more sophisticated metaverse solutions for beauty businesses. Dermalogica have proven this with their in-house digital ambassador, Natalia. She trains beauticians in new treatments and products and can even show customers advanced skin aging that simply isn’t possible in the real world.
With experiences like this, the possibilities of the virtual world can be used to create much more immersive and branded consumer events for the increasing number of people who value digital products as much as physical ones. For example, fashion freaks can attend catwalk shows where they can digitally purchase items directly as they see them modelled, creating a completely new shopping experience. Shops can also be created in which customers can interact with different elements of the environment, try out different clothes or makeup on their avatar’s, and learn new skills. In the store created for Charlotte Tilbury, where users are greeted by a 3D avatar of Charlotte to instantly fix the brand in shoppers’ minds, there’s even a game where customers can find keys hidden around the environment which can be collected to earn exclusive rewards. These virtual shops can really help to bring the beauty industry and other metaverse businesses to life within digital environments, helping to build much stronger customer engagement.
An even more outlandish idea than virtual beauty gaming, Swedish fragrance producer, Byredo, is taking us into completely unknown territory by producing digital perfumes. These wearable ‘auras’ are made up of a range of ingredients representing the emotions. Ingredients such as ‘harmony’ and ‘virtue’ will be combined to create limited collectibles that can be worn on users’ avatars. Customers will also be able to customize their own scents by matching the ingredients of their choice together, and a limited run of 2000 real perfume bottles will be offered to collectors for an experience which is both digital and physical. The idea of a virtual perfume might seem completely crazy right now, but it’s possible that technologies might exist in the future where we can even detect different smells in the metaverse, so who knows what other entirely new concepts and metaverse solutions for business and beauty might be created in the coming years?
Ultimately, the beauty industry is about self-expression and identity creation. With this in mind, even though you cannot have physical experiences in the metaverse, beauty brands have a lot to offer their customers within this space. As with other metaverse companies, the success of metaverse solutions for beauty businesses will depend on their ability to create immersive and engaging experiences for their customers through which they can feel like they are a part of the brand while also being able to fully express their individuality. Companies like XR Wizards are on hand to help businesses in all industries successfully enter the metaverse, with their universe of connected Mazer spaces that customers can navigate between easily using their personalized avatars. This new virtual arena will allow companies to experiment and create exciting innovations for their followers, so don’t write off the metaverse for beauty brands before you’ve tried some of these experiences for yourself.