Augmented and virtual reality are a natural fit for beauty brands.
There are only so many lipstick colors someone can sample at a physical makeup counter before their lips get raw. But with virtual try-on (VTO) technology, there’s no limit.
Orveon Global, the parent company of beauty brands bareMinerals, Laura Mercier and Buxom, has VTO tech integrated across its websites.
“Beauty has been the frontrunner in the digital space, because … this is a way to experience things,” said Salima Popatia, Orveon Global’s chief digital officer.
The beauty category has had to evolve in response to frequent disruptions and new technologies, said Popatia, who joined Orveon in August after more than seven years at Estée Lauder.
One of Popatia’s first projects has been to help usher Laura Mercier into the metaverse. In December, the brand launched a virtual store called World of Beauty in partnership with ecommerce platform Obsess.
“The beauty of the metaverse is that it’s where a woman can take on many more identities and be whoever she wants to be,” Popatia said. “There’s a lot more to come on what this means for brands.”
Popatia spoke with AdExchanger.
AdExchanger: Can you walk me through the virtual store experience?
SALIMA POPATIA: There are three different rooms that have a very Parisian feel. You see yourself going through the Eiffel Tower and as you enter the store, you’re immersed. You hear Laura Mercier herself narrating and introducing you to her brand.
The experience includes newly launched and also iconic products. There’s a little bit of gamification where you can unlock prizes.
Why is the metaverse a growing space for beauty brands?
That’s where our consumer is. So, how do we meet her where she is in a very authentic way for the brand?
Take me. I tend to be different people. At home, I’m a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, but at work, I’m an executive. When I go out with my friends, I like to think that we’re in a partying, single kind of mindset. And it’s funny because my makeup or my look or my personality changes so much in every one of those environments.
That is what the metaverse is. It is allowing you to be your authentic self, but whoever you want to be, and that is empowering.
What will the virtual shop look like going forward?
There will be more iterations, and we’re in the process of updating it again. We’re continuing to get insights and figuring out what consumers like so we can learn and adapt the room.
We’re looking to replicate the immersive experience you can have in a boutique within a virtual event when our collections launch.
How are you defining success in the metaverse and what can you measure?
Our measure of success is how much we’re able to drive community. How can we use our own properties to fuel these kinds of initiatives and where is the overlap between somebody who’s engaging with us versus somebody who’s buying from us?
We’re not looking at strong KPIs or trying to drive sales. We’re really looking at this as a way to surprise our consumers and get them excited about the brand.
Is there any interest in connecting with consumers through gaming platforms like Roblox or Minecraft?
Nothing’s off the table. We’ve seen a lot of beauty brands do things with Roblox. While I don’t see Laura Mercier partnering with a Roblox, there could be potential in the future.
Do you see beauty education, like tutorials or information sharing, becoming a part of the metaverse?
We’ve just scratched the surface on the metaverse. The experiences that are going to happen and what is going to continue to evolve are so beyond what I can even think about.
But media is becoming a conversion or commerce tool. Consider the trends: TikTok and Facebook integrating shopping into the social media experience, the growth of online shopping, virtual shopping and even shopping events, like live shopping on Facebook, Instagram, Amazon and TikTok. The metaverse serves as a perfect platform to support this.
I’m curious to see where it goes and where consumers take it. Their interest is what will lead us.
This interview has been edited and condensed.