• Deanna Utroske

Beauty Tech Blog: notes & quotes on VTO, the Metaverse, and our digital future

Beauty has always been a high-touch business. In recent years, much of that touch moved online, as more brands opted for Virtual Try-On solutions, zoom consultations, and digital skin analysis tech. And now, as consumers seek to discover, participate, and experiment—in person, in the Metaverse, and everywhere in between—it’s clear that the future of our industry is fully immersive.

This week, Perfect Corp. hosted the annual Beauty & Fashion Tech Forum, FIT’s CFMM class of 2022 presented their capstone research on Beauty After Covid, and the FaB Fashion and Beauty Tech Community ran an online panel event called Founders in the Metaverse. Each event was informative in its own right and what follows are just some of the learnings I picked up along the way.


The 2022 Global Beauty & Fashion Tech Forum in New York City

Every year since 2019, Perfect Corp., a Taiwan-based IT consultancy specializing in digital tech for beauty and fashion, has been hosting an annual event that CEO Alice Chang describes as, “a platform for all of our industry leader to share and exchange innovative ideas about how to…deploy beauty tech.” (Click here to read my article for CosmeticsDesign.com about that first Global Beauty Tech Forum.)


After 2 years as an on-line-only event, The Global Beauty & Fashion Tech Forum took place Wednesday in New York City, with over 400 people in attendance and even more streaming the event online.

In her opening remarks at this year’s Forum, Chang shared data on the beauty tech landscape; outlined the relevant trends that Perfect Corp. has identified in the cosmetics and personal care sector (as well as in accessories and fashion); and she also spoke about the company’s vision for the future of consumer-facing digital beauty tech.


Virtual Try-On technology has become increasingly advanced over the years. And the color matching, texture and finish display, and lighting effects are ever more lifelike. All of this leads to more consumer engagement, which leads to conversions, revenue, and if leveraged effectively to loyalty as well.


Chang advocates for what she calls a 360° beauty tech solutions and an optimized omnichannel strategy. “360° means your customers are anytime, anyplace—no matter in physical store; etailer, retailer, native search; social media; or shoppertainment.” This is possible because Perfect Corp. has partnerships with numerous platforms, including Google, YouTube, Instagram, Snap, Tmall, and more, which means that, “the consumer experiences, no matter where they go, the same makeup effect or AI personal recommendations.”


AI, AR, and the Future of Retail Jane Lauder in conversation with Wayne Liu of Perfect Corp.


“Instead of Artificial Intelligence, we talk about Aspirational Intelligence. So for [Estée Lauder] it’s not just about using technology to fulfill consumer needs. It’s [using technology] to be able to anticipate what the consumer would desire and fulfill their aspirations.”

Jane Lauder

Executive VP of Enterprise Marketing and Chief Data Officer, Estée Lauder

 

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The Next Generation of Digital Transformation with AI and AR

Moderated by Heather Muir Maffei, Beauty Director of Real Simple

“I am really excited about MetaHumans!”

“Our digital team at NARS is developing MetaHumans for the launch of our new lipstick in the fall…. as well as everything that’s going on in the gaming space. If you had told me 5 years ago that NARS is going to be developing a world in…game (which I can’t share yet) but we are doing one, it would have been like, ‘Why are you doing that?’ We are really trying to ensure we are there where our consumer is, but also we want to recruit new consumers, we want to have more visibility.”

Julia Sloan

Deputy General Manager of Global Marketing at NARS


“[Coty is] looking at e-sampling very seriously…. Consumers do trust this tech. But sometimes it can feel not so accurate or you don’t fully 100% trust it. So the sampling piece will be very important for us.”

Shanna Weinblatt

Senior Director of Innovation and Beauty Tech at Coty


“The metaverse in a natural evolution of the internet. I do see an amazing synthesis between physical and digital world that’s going to come to fruition. But I do believe that there are some things that need to happen fundamentally…[first], interoperability…‘How do we collaborate much more intelligently to take the technology to the next level?’ We need to solve to for the digital identity. And second, we need to solve digital equity…not everybody has the same opportunities across the world…. And then, the privacy and security; that needs to be solved…. The sky’s the limit!”

Venkat Gopalan

Chief Digital, Data, and Technology Officer at Belcorp


The Importance of Interactive Content along the Consumer Journey

Moderated by James Manso, Beauty Market Editor at WWD and Beauty Inc.

“We have to meet consumers where they are and the same goes for readers. So Allure is on every platform you can think of. The trick for us is bringing that authority we’ve established over 30 years to those platforms…. It’s important too that we look at Allure as a brand, not just a magazine. We have the Allure store; we have the Allure beauty box…. We want to bring them that information in the places they go virtually and in real life.”

Dianna Mazzone

Senior Beauty Editor at Allure



“We just launched our new app…. It’s going to become our loyalty hub. I think we have the number one loyalty plan in beauty. You can use our beauty loyalty membership online but you can scan your receipt, even if you’re shopping at Walmart, Target, Amazon, and you can get rewarded for that. That allows us to engage that consumer that’s actually shopping at the retailers and it allows us to build this relationship with them. So it doesn’t matter if they purchase on our site or not, but I am the one who’s engaging with them; and that’s really important to me.”

Ekta Chopra

Chief Digital Officer at e.l.f. Cosmetics


“The number of returns is out of control. And the number of shopping sessions that are dropped—like 7 in 10 of all online shopping sessions are abandoned. Loyalty is a major opportunity but also a challenge…. The way to solve for those is to update the concept of personalization in three key ways. The three key ways are scalability, efficiency, and authenticity, which is so often missing from not only content but marketing in general. SnapChatters consistently tell us that they want real people in ads that they want themselves at the center of the experience. And they want to do that across all of the touch points…”

Skye Featherstone

Group Product Marketing Manager at Snap Inc.


“Often times when we talk about personalization, we talk about the technology aspect of it, or how it shows up on channel, but there is a supply chain of content that’s needed that is unique to every single individual person. That’s a lot. So that’s where the scalability aspect is going forward…”

Ekta Chopra

Chief Digital Officer at e.l.f. Cosmetics


“Frankly, that’s where AR and Live Camera experiences come in because the individual is always the personal.”

Skye Featherstone

Group Product Marketing Manager at Snap Inc.


AI Tech and the Personalized Skincare Shopping Experience

Moderated by Kelly Kovak, Founder and CEO at BeautyMatter


“Our Vera app is all about the consumer’s beauty and wellness journey…. Consumers want to know what products to use, how to use them, and are they getting the results that they want and need…. They want proof that that is happening….

The number one request from the beta testers who used our initial skin assessment that we did with Perfect Corp. was a selfie timeline…. The app has been live 45 days, we’ve had 15 thousand selfies taken…. And here’s why: consumers want to know the changes in their skin over time. ”

Emily Evangelista

Vice President of Global Digital at NuSkin


“Technology helps shorten the distance between what the brand wants to market and the consumer.”

Jill Scalamandre

CEO at Beekman1802


just for context on the following quote,

Beekman1802 is a brand formulated with goat milk & kindness


“This was right after Covid…so we partnered with SnapChat and we actually brought the goats [virtually] to Ulta…. If you use the QR code, if you have it look at you…you can see how your skin will look in its healthy skin state. The other thing you can do, is if you put the world view…you can literally follow the goats around the store, up and down the aisles. So what was the Return on Investment? It cost us $13,000. And the Return on Investment was the EQ of the consumer. We got so many notes from consumers about how less stressed they were going into the store, how we made it such a fun, entertaining way…. We brought kindness to the consumer by easing her anxiety about going back into the store and making it fun.”

Jill Scalamandre, CEO at Beekman1802


“I suspect that the digital technology is going to be revolutionary for changing the practice of dermatology It’s going to be slow because each dermatologist is not a big business…it’s like a cottage industry.”

Dr. Steven R. Feldman

Professor of Dermatology, Pathology and Public Health Sciences at Wake Forest School of Medicine


Digital Assets to NFTs: Understanding Your Brand’s Potential in Web 3.0

Moderated by Tatiana Pile, Managing Editor at Glossy


“The one part I love about this whole concept is that it changes the way consumers are engaging [with] commerce today, because of the ownership. It’s the person maintaining the ownership; it’s their universal traveling profile. And they take it with them. This is the first glimpse of this technology that allows for that frictionless user, no matter where they engage because it’s connecting them with the products they love, with the brands they love, on their own terms.”

Chris Silver

Co-Founder and CEO at BambuMeta


“We saw this [NFT] market emerging; and we wanted to start to play in it. The way that we envision NFTs existing is as a wearable NFT. We have the ability to take these personalized products that consumers already have chosen out and liked, and build complete looks…. This is currently a solution that Perfect Corp. has in our web store.

Since we’ve released it…we’ve gotten to have a lot of discussion with our brand partners and see what’s important to the brands in this space…. We’ve learned a lot…. We’re looking at ways to enhance what we’ve already created and make this wearable something that has true utility…and make it more meaningful; so it’s not just a gimmick that people do one time as a press stunt. We want to look at something that can live on and have more use to the consumer and more use to our brand partners as well.”

Stephanie Mansolf

AVP of Product Development at Perfect Corp.



“I see three key steps in that [customer journey] process. You have the Find It, Try It, and Use It for every product. And whether you’re at home or you’re out and about, the Find It part is becoming really interesting…. So what’s the reason to go to a store? That’s a question that many retailers are grappling with; and the answer is that it has to provide a superior experience. And with AR, and VR in some cases, you can actually deliver a better experience than what you can do at home. You can have more cameras, more sensors, maybe inventory that is much more readily available…. Going to the store is like going to a theme park or a ride, something that really engages you in a way that you cannot achieve from home. That’s kind of the Try It part. And when you Use It, we seeing today a lot of great examples from Perfect Corp. where it trains you. As you Use It, [the technology] trains you to use the product.

Ori Inbar

Founder at Super Ventures and AWE


Beauty After COVD: Renaissance or Reformation

Disruption precipitates change. That’s the basic premise of this year’s FIT Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management capstone research presentations. On Thursday, the class of 2022 gave presentations looking at what corporations and consumers can expect as we move beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.


Not surprisingly, the research shows that digital technologies and the metaverse, in particular, will be key to the future of beauty.


One interesting highlight is how digital technologies will continue to shape the hybrid and remote work experience. The students’ presentation noted that metaverse mentorships for new employees will likely become a familiar facet of onboarding.


In the consumer space, which was described as a “neo-consumer landscape,” each consumer will exist on an ever-shifting continuum between a ‘Real Me’ and a “Meta Me’. And brands will need to engage all along this continuum as well.


The students also highlighted the roll corporate transparency and DAOs, or Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, will play in the future of business; suggested that one of retail’s most significant roles will be to “invite communities to come together;” and that evolving consumer expectations will mean that they’ll share data with brands and businesses only in exchange for some sort of reward.


Metaverse Sites, Resources and Experts as recommended by this week’s FaB Founders in the Metaverse panel


I particularly appreciated the quick list of metaverse resources that the panelists on this week's FaB panel shared:


iconiq.ai

ICONIQ site


What business leaders should know about the next era of computing

from Deloitte Insights


New Realities: Into the Metaverse and Beyond

from Wunderman Thompson


Fashion and Luxury Brand Trends in the Metaverse

From Wiggin and Dana


Cathy Hackl

Web3 and Metaverse Strategist


Matthew Ball

Author of The Metaverse and How it Will Revolutionize Everything


and you can

 

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