It is hard to believe that the internet was once dismissed as a fad and many believed it would fade out by the early 2000’s. Fast forward to 2022 and the internet is becoming one of the most influential aspects of our day to day lives. As the internet becomes more immersive, beauty and fashion brands are finding their footing as we enter a new age.
The metaverse is the latest obsession of many brands and could also soon transform purchasing habits and patterns for clothes and beauty products. In recent years a large portion of fashion and beauty sales have already moved online. Is this parallel world populated with avatars the next step for fashion and beauty?
Fashion and beauty brands such as Vans, Ralph Lauren and L’Oreal have already begun to explore the power of social shopping. From Balenciaga’s step into Fortnite to a virtual Gucci Garden experience, leading brands are taking their first steps into the metaverse and allowing millions of users to venture into the exclusive world of luxury fashion and beauty.
Nars Cosmetics recently partnered with South Korean metaverse, Zepeto, which is a platform allowing users to cultivate three-dimensional, animated versions of themselves that they can then use to communicate with other users. Nars created makeup looks that Zepeto users can choose when customizing their avatars. Another beauty brand making its way in the metaverse is Clinique. Last October, Clinique conducted a social media giveaway, giving away virtual products based upon their cult classics, Black Honey lipstick and Moisture Surge moisturizer. Breaking the invisible boundary between the metaverse and the real world by creating products that are only exclusive to the virtual world.
Social shopping is also gaining a lot of traction. During Paris Fashion Week in September, L’Oréal Paris hosted a shoppable live stream on Tiktok, called Le Défilé L’Oréal Paris. Viewers could purchase beauty products straight from the catwalk via the app. This followed a previously successful partnership with Garnier and NYX who rolled out shoppable storefronts on Tiktok.
Meta, previously Facebook, has demonstrated how shopping in the metaverse might work by partnering with influencer and founder of candle brand Forvr Mood, Jackie Aina. In a video segment at Meta’s annual Connect conference, Aina and Meta head of metaverse Vishal Shah explored a virtual world inspired by the brand.
Virtual shopping comes with its own set of rules. Software company Obsess has developed virtual storefronts for a number of brands including Charlotte Tilbury and Dermalogica.
“Having created about 100 virtual stores so far, we have a lot of data and insights into how customers are behaving in these experiences,” says founder and CEO Neha Singh.
“Within the Charlotte Tilbury store, there’s a game element where users can search for keys as they explore the store, which in turn unlocks rewards like exclusive products.”
Elements like this create an incentive for consumers to interact and cement the great opportunity the metaverse holds for the expansion of fashion and beauty brands.
The sale of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens that allow you to buy rare or exclusive digital works of art and other products, create a significant source of income for brands in the metaverse. Luxury brands can not only use them to strengthen their links with their community, but they can also use them to highlight their artistic inspirations, as well as their involvement in various causes.
Givenchy teamed up with graphic artist Chito to auction off several NFTs, the sale of which benefited a Dutch organization committed to ocean cleanup. Gucci, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, and Karl Lagerfeld, to name a few, are among the many brands that have already embraced NFTs, an area which is proving to be particularly fruitful, and which should thrive with the advent of the metaverse and Web 3.0.
High street brands are also jumping on the NFT bandwagon. Elf Cosmetics have created virtual products that can be purchased in the metaverse. NFTs have come to be associated with luxury brands and extortionate costs, but this move signals a step in the right direction for a wider audience to participate in the fashion and beauty industry within the virtual world.
Virtual cosmetics may seem like an oxymoron, the point of fashion and beauty is to enhance your physical appearance and so the industry’s place in the metaverse may seem unclear. However, there are many reasons for beauty brands to join the metaverse. The virtual world is an ever-growing place and is an amazing opportunity for brand growth, as creating exclusive products in the metaverse will generate real world sales and promote brands in new ways. There is an opportunity to reach new customers through the metaverse, as there are different consumer segments who take part in virtual experiences, rather than in person. It also allows brands to tap into a younger generation of shoppers who have grown up exposed to the virtual world in a big way.
Additionally, the virtual world grows as our planet’s health sadly declines, and going virtual is a great way for beauty brands to decrease their carbon footprint. Cosmetics, and especially cosmetic packaging, create a lot of waste, and anything brands can do to decrease pollution is a step in the right direction. The metaverse is expanding, and it would be a missed opportunity if fashion and beauty companies made the decision to stay exclusively offline.