From e-commerce to v-commerce: How the metaverse is transforming online shopping
Welsh technology firm BrandLab360 has launched ‘Maison Too Faced’ – a first-of-its-kind virtual reality shopping experience for Estée Lauder Companies brand, Too Faced
A Welsh technology brand has emerged from the global pandemic, not only offering one of the most popular ways for retailers to connect with wholesalers virtually – but now, with a completely innovative way for them to sell direct to consumers inside the Metaverse.
BrandLab360, based in Newport and with offices in New York, Los Angeles and France, has fast become known in the fashion industry for its immersive virtual showrooms – using CGI and 3D rendering streamed from virtual machines to allow buyers to meet wholesalers online and view and buy products - attracting the attention of large global brands including Barbour, Timberland, Skechers, Mundi Westport Corporation and Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. In fact, the firm saw enquiries increase by 2000% during Covid-19.
But now, with the launch of ‘Maison Too Faced’, a bespoke online shoppable experience which takes place inside the Metaverse, BrandLab360 is showcasing some of the best opportunities in virtual reality for the world’s retailers.
Maison Too Faced (designed for Estée Lauder’s Too Faced), launched on 7th January and provides shoppers with a first-of-its-kind retail experience consisting of a 360° virtual environment with a fully functioning economy, and the transferability of avatars and digital assets. All events inside the virtual store occur in real time and are fully accessible via a link with no apps or downloads required. Created entirely by BrandLab360, with the latest innovation in CGI, the gamified beauty world is a sight to behold.
Shoppers are invited into the Metaverse to experience a fully branded, gamified world of beauty shopping, complete with interactive gardens filled with hero products, brand mascots to interact with, plus the opportunity to play games to capture discount codes. All the products available mirror their real-life counterparts, and shoppers are encouraged to invite their friends to meet them in the Metaverse and enjoy the experience together. The store can hold thousands of shoppers at any one time.
Sarah Lynn, Too Faced Brand General Manager UK and Republic of Ireland, claims the launch has completely reinvigorated their e-commerce team’s ambitious plans for the future – removing any limitations or challenges of space, configuration and related costs.
"We are thrilled to have launched a brand-first, interactive, digital platform for our consumers to fully immerse into the world of Too Faced. Maison Too Faced will allow consumers to explore our core franchises and new launches, experience virtual services and shop with their friends online. The platform will push boundaries with innovative gamification and entertainment, whilst keeping a user-friendly, seamless and enjoyable purchase journey at the heart of the experience."
BrandLab360 co-founder Dan O’Connell said: “We have been delighted to partner with Too Faced on this truly ground-breaking project. Our unique technology is at the forefront of the rapidly-building trend of using gamification to elevate e-commerce inside the Metaverse. We have been incredibly impressed by how forward thinking and innovative the Too Faced and Estée Lauder teams have been in being early adopters of our truly cutting-edge technology.
“They have perceptively analysed that humans want to feel immersed and connected when shopping online. The result is that the company is racing ahead of the rest of the beauty industry to deliver what we believe will be the catalyst for a cascading cultural shift in the future of e-commerce supported by the Metaverse and web 3.0."
However, the opportunities offered by BrandLab360 are certainly not limited to beauty shopping. O’Connell and his co-founder Jennifer Drury, said they have been approached by brands across multiple sectors including automotive, healthtech, fashion and jewellery – all with the aim of innovating online shopping for their customers through virtual reality.
Drury explained: “We can create a fully branded, immersive world for any brand in a matter of days. We can update it through the year in just minutes to change the products available, update the branding, develop the style and look – providing brands with the ability to truly connect and converse with customers online all over the world.
We can create photo realistic replicas of existing stores and allow consumers to ‘walk around’ these environments and mimic real life.
“It’s the closest thing to shopping in real life that brands can get – but without physical costs, spatial or staffing challenges with the added bonus of all the possibilities that virtual reality can provide from global accessibility, gamification, customisation and much more.”