With a growing number of major beauty brands launching NFT, accessible ecommerce platforms are springing up to make buying digital artwork as easy as ordering a tube of lipstick.
On April 5, Shopify-enabled Web3 ecommerce platform Novel launched as the ultimate NFT platform for the general public, allowing you to order NFTs with regular currency instead of cryptocurrencies. Eliminating the need for coding knowledge, the platform attracted brand partners including Bobbi Brown’s Jones Road Beauty and Everlane.
“In general, less than 2% of Americans own an NFT. The whole space, right now, is pretty far from the mainstream, “said Novel co-founder and CRO Anna Merzi, who previously co-founded the payment platform AlgoPay. She collaborated with the co-founder and CEO Roger Beaman, who previously founded Smartrr, a platform that helped brands build subscription programs on Shopify.
Beauty brands have leveraged a range of platforms that allow regular users to purchase NFTs with a credit card rather than cryptocurrency and demystify the process. While NFTs have attracted an enthusiastic base of investment-oriented collectors from the world of cryptocurrencies, brands are attempting to generate the community and exclusivity aspects of owning NFTs by making them easy to buy with fiat currency. Nars, for example, used the Truesy platform for its NFT campaign last year, while Givenchy Beauty used the VeVe platform. Elf Cosmetics, meanwhile, has chosen Bitski for its NFT.
On March 29, MAC Cosmetics NFT Keith Haring went on sale online via the MAC Cosmetics e-commerce site. The site only accepts credit cards and not cryptocurrencies.
“As a digital-first brand, we are constantly evolving to better cater to consumers where they converge online. We have set our sights on the metaverse and the potential of NFTs to transform the way consumers interact with MAC in the future, “said Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois, MAC Cosmetics chief global marketing officer.
A major benefit of consumer-facing NFT platforms is the removal of additional costs, Merzi said. On “some blockchains,” the additional cost of purchasing an NFT “can be really high. It can be bigger than the token itself,” she said. “We cover it for the consumer so that in no time they need cryptocurrencies to access their token.”
Aided by the promotion of influencers and celebrities, the NFT and crypto world has developed a close-knit community based on NFT ownership. Collectors gather and make friends on online platforms such as Decentraland and Discord, as well as in real life at (sometimes lavish) conferences and parties. At the massive Bitcoin 2022 conference held in Miami earlier this month, the cryptocurrency world was recently self-described by one member as a “cult”.
According to the founders of the NFT platform, brands can leverage this mindset to build their loyal brand followers around NFTs. Novel allows brands to create communities around NFT property in a number of ways, including through “token-gated showcases” for NFT owners to have exclusive access to product drops, exclusive mailing lists, and access to “gated” Discord communities through one tool called Collab.Land.
“Imagine what brands on Instagram are trying to do with that community, but it’s a more intimate environment. Your customers are drawn to be a part of the community, so they are more likely to engage, ”Merzi said.
Some brands are still opting for the NFT platforms used by investment-oriented collectors. Guerlain announced on April 11 the launch of its NFT collection which would be on the NFT OpenSea platform, which operates using cryptocurrency. Rather than setting up a credit card platform, the Guerlain site offers detailed instructions on how to set up a crypto wallet.
Many brands also include a charity component with their NFT launches. All proceeds from the fall of Guerlain will go to an environmental project in the Millière valley in France. The brand is addressing sustainability issues using the Tezos blockchain, which it defines as “one of the most sustainable and energy efficient blockchains”.
Novel allows users to set up a crypto wallet using the Web3Auth platform, formerly called Torus. The crypto wallet is a “single sign in through Google, so it looks like you’re setting up a regular web account even if it’s a crypto wallet,” Merzi said. It is an alternative to Metamask, which is common among more NFT and cryptocurrency experts.
“The metamask is generally difficult to use. It’s an intimidating system for the Web2 user because you have access that looks very different from accessing regular platforms, “said Merzi of the cryptocurrency wallet platform.
Novel allows brands to sell JPEG, SVG, GIF, or NFT video, along with physical merchandise via Shopify, making them accessible to customers with no experience in cryptocurrency or blockchain platforms like OpenSea. Brands can use it to import artwork, set royalties and rarity percentages, import “layers” of images, and automatically create generative collections along the lines of Bored Ape or World of Women.
“Our ramp to Web3 was easy and seamless, thanks to Novel. As we prepare to connect with our customers in a whole new way, Novel’s platform allows us to focus on finding creative ways to strengthen these relationships. [with consumers] without having to worry about complicated technical implementations that would otherwise be a barrier to both our brand and our customers, “said Cody Plofker, director of e-commerce at Jones Road Beauty, who is developing their own NFT strategy with details to be revealed at a later time.
Novel received $ 6 million in an initial funding round led by venture capital firm Lerer Hippeau, with additional investments from VaynerFun and Roth Martin (co-founder of DTC Rothy’s shoe brand), among others. The financing round also saw the participation of existing investors Sugar Capital and Costanoa Ventures.