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Beauty & the Blockchain: The new transparency mantra for the cosmetic industry


If there was one industry that lapped up the wave of eCommerce, it is Beauty and Cosmetics. Today, the industry that is all set to explode at $758.4 billion by 2025, is changing bridles with technology platforms. Innovations like virtual product try-on, augmented reality mirrors, shade matching capabilities etc have sealed the invasion of new-age technology in the beauty segment.


The latest to join the coalition bandwagon is blockchain technology. Various industries like food, health and automotive have been using blockchain technology to record information that has to be shared publicly, facilitate the circulation of financial assets, and validate energy and administrative certificates.


However odd the merge of blockchain - a male-predominant industry - with the beauty segment may sound, it is sure to reinvent both industries enormously.


Beauty v/s Blockchain: Alliance of the New Era


What does the world of digital ledger systems have to do with cosmetics?


Blockchain is more than just cryptocurrencies as most of us know. As a means to store and

share encrypted information, the technology provides beauty brands an effective way to decode customer preferences through recording data like product information, shopping behaviors etc. The blockchain platforms would assist them in keeping the customer data safe without the fear of security breaches. The Bulgari, Cartier, Hublot, Louis Vuitton and Prada brands are already active on the platform, The Beauty Blockchain alliance will help the beauty industry keep records like product info, customers' buying records, etc., in a secure way that cannot be altered in any way once stored. According to Philippe Guguen, Director of the MAP Emulsion company that came up with Sorga, a French blockchain technology, “.....When the consumer enters a piece of information, it is signed and dated. The data is divided into dozens of thousands of servers. making it hard to delete or tamper the information.” This helps the cosmetics industry to guarantee the authenticity of products and defend itself against counterfeiting.


The market value of cosmetic products has been rising significantly in the past. Though most of the surveys confirm that the primary consumers of cosmetic products are females, there has been a sudden rise in male consumers as well. Researchers estimate that male cosmetics will have a global market value of $166 billion by 2022. This has instigated tremendous interest in the sector by the Blockchain platforms.

The Fashion eCommerce world has already adapted to the new twist in the tale with the digital ledgers pretty fast. Various famous brands like EM Cosmetics by Michelle Phan, Cult Beauty, and Look Labs have already taken active steps to blend blockchain solutions in areas like product customisation


Other brands like Kylie Cosmetics have introduced a new digitized concept of shoppable live streams. Sephora’s virtual artist app allows customers to digitally view how a particular cosmetic product would look on them. These brands are taking baby steps towards a better market capture with the Blockchain revolution.


Beauty & Blockchain: The Impact & Benefits


The beauty v/s blockchain blend comes with quite a handful of impressive consequences. Here is a look at the various perks of the alliance between new-age technology and the cosmetic industry:


● Product Customization:


The trend and demand for personalization in the fashion industry raise a need for tailor-made products that cater to consumers' individual requirements and tastes.

Today’s educated customers want brands to deliver. A pathbreaking example is COSBALL, the world’s first ever fully customizable skincare range. COSBALL narrows down to a beauty and wellness ecosystem that leverages gathered big data to refine formula recommendations.

Technological innovations like adjustable hair spray or lip labs - where the consumer can customize the tone and finish of their lipsticks- by leading brands lean heavily on blockchain solutions to deliver a highly personalized customer experience.


● Product Traceability & Transparency:


One of the primary advantages of Beauty Blockchain is none other than supply chain traceability. Today’s consumers are unwilling to blindly take in the product info labeled on the products. The common consumer is learned, well-aware and technologically well-versed to trust any tall claims like organic and sustainability.


Instances like the controversy of child labor in the mining pits of Mica - a prominent ingredient used in the production of shimmery eye shadow pallets and highlighters - have cautioned the customers making them skeptical of the cruelty-free claims of the cosmetic brands.

Relying on blockchain for transparency of information through supply chain traceability ensures a better brand image and ethics. Today by scanning a QR Code or entering the product batch number the end-user can access all the information given by every player in the value chain, back-tracking through a product’s life-cycle from the origin of the ingredients used to dispatch and distribution.

● Authenticity:


In April 2021, luxury groups LVMH, Cartier and Prada came together to create a blockchain platform that would let consumers authenticate their products. The initiative called Aura Blockchain Consortium offers a secure method to access information about a product’s life cycle. The new transparency is intended to throw light on every detail from conception through distribution, using trusted data thus strengthening customer relationships and brand loyalty.


The rarity of luxury beauty products in the regular market and their too-expensive-to-afford pricing often leads to third-party manufacturers taking full advantage of the situation. They sell fake products with excellent packaging to the masses resulting in alarmingly low-quality duplicates containing harmful ingredients like lead, glue, etc.


When consumers call for justice, authentic brands have to bear the brunt. The beauty blockchain can help the industry from such fraudsters by providing untampered information on the authenticity of the products to the public.


The new transparency has made it possible for consumers to check the authenticity of their favorite cosmetic brands by merely inserting the batch numbers of the products.

● NFTs:


NFTs are the non-fungible tokens in blockchain ledgers that hold integral value and significance in the market because of the scarcity and uniqueness of the tokens. People who are well-accustomed to the stock market or cryptocurrencies know that you can buy various valuable assets in terms of NFTs like artwork, memes, funny GIFs, etc. When you shop from one of the beauty brands, they might offer you NFTs in the forms of digital arts, GIFs, or music along with the products. Such marketing tactics are made easy through the blockchain association.


Conclusion


Blockchain is in its baby stage. But better awareness of its benefits and prospects would lead the way to newer niche markets in the cosmetic industry. A neck and neck competition that prevails in the industry and the pressure for more transparency will create the demand for more blockchain solutions. With customer-oriented retailing becoming the new green, blockchain will ensure informed purchasing decisions, lenient loyalty initiatives and even personalized product designing.


Tomorrow will witness better equations between the cosmetic brands and the end-users where the consumers could share information that would boost the brand experience without compromising on security.

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