Luxury fashion labels are doing it, even psychedelic wellness operations are doing it. And now, clean beauty, and its core demographic—women— are stepping into the Metaverse, too.
It’s been more than a year since clean beauty brand Charlotte Tilbury launched its virtual store.
“Digital innovation is at the heart of everything we do and I am so excited that we can bring this beauty tech to life,” founder Charlotte Tilbury said in a statement last year.
Last November, it added a new function, Shop With Friends, designed by Obsess, a leading experiential e-commerce platform.
“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,” Obsess founder and CEO Neha Singh told Vogue Business.
Beauty in the metaverse
Obsess says it’s created 100 virtual storefronts already, including fellow clean beauty brand Dermalogica, and from that, it’s learning how customers are behaving in the digital space. The Shop With Friend feature enables consumers to shop in virtual stores together with groups of friends.
“In the real world, so many of us love to go shopping with our friends as a social outing, but, until now, no one has been able to re-create that group experience online,” Singh said.
“Our Shop with Friends video feature lets groups of friends navigate virtual stores together and talk to one another in real time to share advice and inspiration, just like we do when shopping in physical stores. Many younger shoppers have grown up interacting online with friends in video games and esports and this feature brings the best elements of the gaming world to the experience of digital shopping,” she says.
The platform allows customers to invite friends for virtual experiences with the click of a button. Video feature allows individuals to interact with others in the group, similar to a multiplayer game.
In Charlotte’s Virtual Beauty Gifting Wonderland on CharlotteTilbury.com, groups interact on three different islands that are part of Charlotte’s “gifting universe.” They can look at makeup shades, give tips, start live video feeds, among the functions.
“We have always been a digital-first brand and by launching this new feature within our virtual store, we are truly operating as an omnichannel business to bring our customers rich and immersive experiences whenever and wherever they meet the brand,” said Charlotte Tilbury chief growth & technology officer Corinne Suchy.
There are other brands getting into the metaverse action, too.
Plant Mother, a Miami-based sustainable and clean skincare brand, says it’s the latest beauty brand to enter the metaverse with the launch of its blockchain technology.
According to founder and CEO Jena Joyce, Plant Mother is creating a “clean beauty community” that is made “by women for women in a virtual world dominated by male users.”
“When I created the cleanest beauty brand in the market, I wanted to build a community around it,” she said in a statement.
The metaverse was big business even before Facebook rebranded itself as Meta last October. Recent data estimates show interest has grown into regular use of the tech, with nearly 93 million using augmented reality (28 percent of the population) or 60 million virtual reality (18 percent of the population) in the U.S. last year.
And for beauty, that could mean a big opportunity.
“I think brands will increasingly think about how they can launch and activate products beyond an event in NY or LA,” Brooke Ozaydinli, creator marketing manager at Instagram and host of the Naked Beauty Podcast, told Pop Sugar earlier this year.
Ozaydinli says the digital world offers brands the opportunities to “really build experiential moments that allow customers and their community to preview and experience their product offerings virtually.”
So what exactly is that?
One of the most likely ways consumers will be engaging with the metaverse in the near future is through the increase of highly personalized avatars, sometimes with more elaborate makeup or hair than most people have time to perfect in the real world.
For beauty brands, it’s likely to include product representation, much in the same way luxury labels are bringing their wares to the metaverse. There may be virtual events where brands and creators can showcase product benefits and functions. That’s similar to the plans to bring psychedelic healing to the metaverse, as announced recently by Ei.Ventures.
Women in the metaverse
Lisa Hau, COO at Bidstack, a gaming advertising technology company, says the shift could be even more significant than people realize, particularly for an often-overlooked market demographic: women.
“Gaming is far more mainstream than many people realise, especially among women,” Hau told Vogue Business. She says there’s a misconception that the metaverse is just for teenagers and video game players.
Specifically, social shopping is poised to play a bigger role in the metaverse in coming years. Vogue Business cites a recent shoppable TikTok livestream called Le Défilé L’Oréal Paris, which was hosted by L’Oréal Paris during Paris Fashion Week last September. It allowed viewers to purchase items right off the catwalk via an app.
“As a pilot, Le Défilé was a proof of the concept of social shopping, but it’s also creating exposure and engagement,” says Lex Bradshaw-Zanger, chief marketing and digital officer at L’Oréal UK and Ireland.
For smaller clean beauty brands, like Plant Mother, the opportunity presents itself as an interactive education platform that can help showcase some of the work that differentiates them from the bigger brands. It sort of levels the playing field much in the same way YouTube has helped elevate smaller artists, or Etsy elevated crafters.
For clean beauty brands, that means indisputable demonstration of sustainability metrics, like Valentino recently showcased with the launch of its first vegan sneakers. Making an effort to highlight real environmental work being done, whether that’s regenerative, organic, or sustainable farming methods, conservation efforts, or working directly with farmers and harvesters to promote a more sustainable supply chain, connects consumers to their products and the companies behind them in deeper, more meaningful ways.
“Operating virtually aligns with Plant Mother brand’s ethos.” Joyce said. “As an environmentally conscious brand, we firmly believe in creating clean beauty products without sacrificing sustainability. Being in the metaverse enables us to recruit like-minded clean-living activists and bring the sustainability to a whole new level.”