Tech Bytes from Retail & Tech No 81

The latest tech news to inform and inspire

  • NFT try-ons. AI and AR beauty company Perfect Corp has launched a virtual try-on NFT service in a bid to respond to consumers’ demand to digitally interact with NFTs. The new offer uses AR technology to create NFTs and let consumers virtually try them on. Perfect Corp Founder and CEO Alice Chang said that the new NFT offer will provide brands with new revenue streams and give customers an interactive and personalized experience.

  • NTWRK effects. US-based e.l.f. Cosmetics partnered with jewelry brand Georgina Trevino to launch a limited-edition e.l.f. ear cuff on virtual shopping platform NTWRK. NTWRK broadcasts live shoppable shows and features product drops during each episode. NTWRK has featured celebrities such as Billie Eilish, DJ Khaled and Doja Cat and is described as combining retail-tainment with exclusive access to product launches. Users can also chat and interact with each other or directly with hosts in real time. NTWRK launched in 2018 and is geared towards millennial and Gen Z consumers. 

  • JD’s beauty push. More beauty brands are launching flagship stores on JD.com. L’Oréal-owned Shu Uemura and men’s skincare brand Lab Series both opened flagship stores on JD.com over the past month. This follows recent moves from YSL Beauté, Guerlain and Givenchy to launch stores on the platform.

  • Virtual hosts. Also from JD, is the company’s move to jump on the virtual avatar trend. On February 28, JD Beauty used a virtual anchor to host a livestream on JD.com’s Super Category Day. The virtual anchor called Xiao Mei, which means “little beauty” in Chinese, moderated a 24-hour livestream for the day. She provided product information in 21 beauty brands’ livestream studios, including for YSL Beauté, Olay and Kiehl’s. In China, more brands are looking to partner with virtual ambassadors to host events or promotions. For example, earlier this month MAC Cosmetics worked with virtual idol Ayayi to host a pop-up in China. Travel retailer DFS also worked with virtual avatars, Reddi and Vila, for Lunar New Year promotions earlier this year.

  • Martha Stewart. Prestige beauty brand Clé de Peau Beauté has partnered with American lifestyle figure Martha Stewart to mark the launch of the brand’s TikTok account in the US. Throughout the month of February, Stewart posted videos to her TikTok account featuring the brand’s products. The videos play into areas that she is well-known for, such as cooking, with a post titled “Recipe for hydrated skin with Clé de Peau Beauté.” The videos feature a selection of the brand’s skincare and make-up products shot throughout places in her home as she gives advice on cooking, homecare and how to take a selfie.

  • Twitter Shops. Social-media platform Twitter launched a test for Twitter Shops last week. With Twitter Shops, merchants can choose up to 50 products to showcase to users on Twitter. When a user visits the profile of a merchant that has enabled Twitter Shops, they will see a “View shop” button above their tweets, where users can scroll through products. Checkout is on the merchant’s website. Twitter has introduced several shopping features recently, including Shop Module in July last year and live shopping last November.

  • Changing of the guard. YouTube’s reign as digital video king may be coming to an end. The increase in video viewing on other social-media platforms, primarily TikTok, is eating into YouTube’s dominance in the US, according to a report by eMarketer. With more platforms displaying videos, user attention is becoming divided. The same holds true for creators, as YouTube, once the 800-pound gorilla, is increasingly fighting to keep its most popular creators from migrating elsewhere. However, TikTok’s ascent has not yet fully eclipsed YouTube’s dominance. YouTube will have over twice as many monthly users at 230.6 million compared with TikTok’s 90.6 million this year, eMarketer forecasts. By generation, YouTube will have nearly 50% more penetration than TikTok among millennials this year, almost four times as many Gen Xers and about eight times the penetration among baby boomers.

    Nonetheless, TikTok is gaining steam with younger generations. Among US teenagers aged 12 to 17, 87.6% will use YouTube monthly this year, while 65.3% will use TikTok, according to eMarketer’s forecasts. YouTube’s penetration is reaching a ceiling, while TikTok’s is still rising fast. By 2025 eMarketer predicts that there will be 24.2 million US TikTok users aged 18 to 24 and 26.6 million US YouTube users.

  • One-to-one. Alibaba has launched a new livestreaming feature for its platform for luxury brands, Tmall Luxury Pavilion. The new feature allows luxury brands’ sales associates to speak with customers individually in one-on-one livestreaming sessions. Customers can also try on products virtually. Alibaba claims that hundreds of customers tried the service on Tmall when it ran as a pilot project in mid-February. The company adds that the move is part of luxury brands’ strategy to extend personalized services online to mimic the exclusive atmosphere that shoppers experience in physical stores

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