Five future paths for metaverse beauty

type - big idea
Big Idea
sector - beauty
sector - media & technology
Shifting focus from e-commerce to experience marketing, beauty firms are seizing upon the metaverse to educate, experiment and boost interaction

Gaming: a path to exploration

Now: Japanese beauty brand Tatcha made a splash into virtual realms with Tatchaland in Animal Crossing: New Horizons – a virtual space through which it launched a new cleanser. Players registered via Tatcha’s website to book a ‘trip’ to visit Animal Crossing’s virtual answer to Kyoto, where they could interact and connect with other Tatcha fans, learn about ingredients and partake in scavenger hunts to win free products. Known for its slow pace and emphasis on exploration, Animal Crossing allows Tatcha to connect with customers beyond purchases, creating a space where they can live the brand and relish in the joy of play.

Next: Gaming aesthetics will increasingly inspire physical beauty products, from collaborations to colours and finishes. Game Beauty and Gamer Glam Cosmetics take very literal inspiration from the gaming world: the former brand’s Fantasy Palette contains colours and textures that emulate fantasy gaming landscapes, while the product packaging itself features ethereal computer-generated imagery.

Digi-cosmetics: accessible experiments

Now: The direct-to-avatar market is reported to comprise 3.5bn digi-sapiens – people’s avatar doppelgängers that navigate the metaverse – pointing to vast potential to offer digital make-up for these virtual beings (source: The Fabricant). This is propelling brands such as Dior Beauty to collaborate with South Korean social media platform Zepeto to launch a digital make-up collection in recognition that avatars are extensions of the existing and aspirational self. Furthermore, the nine bold looks in Dior’s digi-first make-up collections can double as status symbols for the ‘wearer’, but are also accessible, especially for those who aspire to purchase or have the confidence to wear Dior Beauty’s looks in real life.

Next: In the future, brands could create avatar experiences based on product launches. Where a product might have a particular texture, scent or mood-enhancing qualities, for example, customers will be able to get more familiar with these benefits through virtual reality (VR) metaverse experiences that utilise physical response tactics such as ASMR to allow them to feel or hear the nuances of products, as seen with the audio branding of Digital Fragrances.

Published by:

14 March 2022

Author: Mica Anthony and Olivia Houghton

Image: Gucci Vault


Left: 3D art submission by Timid Clover for Open Source Afro Hair Library created by AM Darke. Right: Cyber Eau de Parfum by Look Labs.

Brand hubs: interactive education

Now: The SEPHORiA Virtual House of Beauty is a hybrid meta-commerce experience where customers can explore various virtual rooms loaded with branded content. In these rooms, they can learn about and follow tutorials on how to use products in their Experience Kits – boxes brimming with real beauty samples sent to each Virtual House participant. Elsewhere, virtual store developer Obsess has created more than 100 virtual stores for brands including Dermalogica, NARS and Charlotte Tilbury. Having recently attracted investment, the company is scaling up to cater for growing demand from fashion and beauty brands.

Next: In the future brands could opt for branded virtual hubs over traditional e-commerce platforms – spaces where they can engage digitally native consumers who are unmoved by traditional marketing practices. Pointing to this is P&G Beauty’s BeautySphere, an informative ‘responsible beauty’ platform giving background on the ingredients, packaging and people behind its brands, alongside the company’s diversity and inclusion and corporate social responsibility efforts. ‘Through these fully immersive, digital experiences, visitors can interact with our brands in surprising, engaging new ways,’ says P&G Beauty CEO Alex Keith.

Marketing: events with reach

Now: Virtual brand events in open-source metaverse spaces such as Decentraland not only allow beauty labels to showcase products but also help them to communicate their values to brand fans and new audiences. During Valdé Beauty’s 500-person Decentraland launch event, buyers of its new lipstick were gifted a free matching NFT and access to the newly created Valdé NFT Collective. By providing this add-on, Valdé united digital art and cosmetics, while also showcasing the brand beyond the beauty world. ‘This event [has] allowed me to potentially build connection and community with other people that are not necessarily my Valdé [customer] base,’ explains Margarita Arriagada, founder of Valdé Beauty.

Next: In the future, metaverse pop-ups will become part of brands’ long-term marketing strategies and experience offerings. In these spaces they will build communities and opportunities, not just hype. SK-II’s Japan-inspired virtual world will be a permanent fixture in its brand universe and will continue to grow. ‘We were less concerned about cash outlay and more about our customers who are seeking more differentiated experiences online,’ says YoeGin Chang, senior brand director at SK-II.

‘Younger shoppers who have grown up interacting with video games and watching eSports expect to be able to interact with brands in real time as they shop online’
Neha Singh, founder and CEO, Obsess

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