Deccan Chronicle.| Swati Sharma
The whole experience of shopping for beauty products and trying skincare procedures is undergoing a paradigm shift, thanks to 3D universe
In-person sampling at beauty outlets and department stores are giving way to a 3D virtual universe. (by Arrangement)
With beauty consumers increasingly seeking diversity and new perceptions of good looks, the industry has turned to the metaverse, a digital experience outside of the physical world. Companies are offering a combination of immersive virtual reality, online role-playing games, and the Internet, to woo customers.
In-person sampling at beauty outlets and department stores are giving way to a 3D virtual universe.
The Metaverse offer the opportunity to play, work, connect or buy in the virtual world — without having to set foot outside the home, and beauty companies are capitalising on this. They are trying to simulate sensorial experiences using AI and virtual interactive modes. For example, a fragrance company from Taiwan allows consumers to develop their own signature fragrances – a unique blend just for them.
Consumers customise their online presence and enhance their physical appearance using virtual cosmetics. "The metaverse allows users to try out new products, makeup and styles before actually buying them. A consumer can actually get a real sense of how a product will look on them," says K.R. Raguram - CEO for Deyga Organics, cosmetics brand.
"The pandemic changed skincare practices, and the emphasis now is on a glowing face. In the virtual world, consumers can use numerous cutting-edge skin care practices," according to Raguram.
The change of focus is expected to bring in a paradigm shift in the way people shop for beauty products and how the brands connect and engage with their target audience.
"Cosmetics and beauty care brands are exploring features such as AI-enabled devices and applications, augmented reality and live shopping," says Manish Chowdhary, Co-Founder, WOW Skin Science, a beauty brand.
At a recent edition of Consumer Electronics Show 2022 held virtually, many beauty and personal care brands tested the concept of connecting to their consumers in the Metaverse and offering a virtual experience. "For instance, a leading personal care and beauty brand set up a digital booth dubbed LifeLab that allowed people to virtually walk up to representatives and interact with them.
Gucci lets one try on Snapchat lipsticks. Chanel’s Lipscanner app allows you to virtually wear make-up. Paco Rabanne created Phantom, a robot perfume made using Artificial Intelligence.
Beauty brands are also using gaming as a way to allow players to safely and hygienically try out and experiment with their products, using gaming avatars. "In a step towards giving consumers a taste of virtual interactions with lifelike feel. Gaming companies are tying up with makeup brands, to allow you to get your favourite character to wear your favourite makeup products," reveals Manish.
With luxury gaming app Drest’s Beauty Mode users can play virtual makeup artist, too, and use cosmetics to make up the app's avatars.
"There’s a genuine similarity between beauty and gaming, as they both empower individuals to represent themselves in completely new ways and change their looks or avatars to fit their character or mood. Gaming is also one of the fastest-growing media segments and is patronised by beauty consumers who love incorporating makeup into their streams or reproducing looks from their favourite personalities in real life," says Raghuram.
Meanwhile, beauty care and wellness companies with products that have to be felt rather than seen find it a challenge to create an immersive experience for the consumers in the metaverse.
"Unlike in makeup products, where a user can apply and see the results, with skin care or hair care products, it is tough to deliver the whole touch and feel experience. So, for such brands it will be about expanding the user base and create stronger engagement with them," says Manish.