product sampling in the metaverse: opportunities for community building

Jun 21, 2022


The beauty industry has enormous potential for community building amongst digitally-native demographics in the metaverse.

Beauty brands have begun to dip their toes into Web3 and the metaverse, experimenting with virtual try-on, virtual stores, avatar ambassadors, and NFT collections. Though these digital experiences are not meant to replace the in-store and high-touch experiences synonymous with beauty, they do offer exciting opportunities for driving engagement, building brand education, and fostering community. 

Beauty has been built on commodification; now it’s about more immersive experiences and education – adding to the touch element rather than replacing it. As the technology and insights evolve, so will the sophistication of the experience.

According to Alex Box, make-up artist and identity designer, in an interview with Harpers Bazaar, “Beauty has been built on commodification; now it’s about more immersive experiences and education – adding to the touch element rather than replacing it. As the technology and insights evolve, so will the sophistication of the experience.”

In beauty, I think we can all agree that experiences will always relate back to physical products, but these shared metaverse experiences that allow people to feel a part of something will be valuable moving forward. Today’s consumers are looking for personalized experiences above all else and brands that provide them with relevant experiences will be rewarded. 


Four areas of the metaverse in which we believe beauty brands could be gaining entryway:

1. AR/VR: Virtual try-on is a familiar concept that has been well established as a pillar of social and ecomm experiences. Taking this into the metaverse allows brands to create exclusive looks that can be tried-on and purchased, or even tokenized.


33% Increase in click-rates by including AR into experiences



2. Digital Storefronts: From product discovery to checkout, the physical in-store experience can be recreated, and expanded, in a virtual world. Virtual stores can include any number of incentives to visit: shoppable live streams, exclusive digital-only products, contests, etc. To date – 70% of consumers who have visited a virtual store have made a purchase, according to a survey by Obsess.

One-third of all survey respondents would be interested in shopping for real or virtual products in metaverse environments that brands create.

Obsess, The Metaverse Mindset: Consumer Shopping Insights

3. Gaming: Gaming has a low barrier to entry, lends authenticity, and is far more mainstream among women than most brands realize. According to Statista, 45% of gamers are female – 20% under 18, 38% 18 to 34, 42% 34+. Partnerships can enable gamers to design looks for their avatars, play branded mini-games, or collect items during gameplay. 

With the rise of gaming now comes opportunities to boost sales of both digital and physical products with 52% of gamers saying they would pay up to $49.99 for a virtual product for their avatar to use within an online video game (Obsess).

Last year, 53% of beauty fans played or downloaded a free-to-play game.

Global World Index

4. Loyalty & NFTs: Loyalty is another aspect that is becoming tokenized as a way to increase engagement. By building up “points” through purchases and interactions, users can exchange that loyalty for (physical or digital) exclusive access, products, or be rewarded with surprise & delight offers.

  • #1 thing to watch: buying an NFT to get access to something 
  • Tip: Brands should use NFTs as a connection point to help your brand build community, not for simply making cash

Opportunities for Product Sampling in the Metaverse today

Sampling should be viewed as a key component of community building in these metaverse experiences as a way to reward engaged consumers. Based on the areas of the metaverse we discussed, there are three ways for brands to leverage product samples to drive engagement:

  • ​​tokenized loyalty: Offer samples as “prizes” for engaging with your brands virtual worlds, whether it’s an offer at the end of a quiz or a mini-game in a virtual store, or eventually even as a reward for exchanging tokens (NFTs) won in a metaverse.
  • virtual try-on: Sampling can also become a component of virtual interactions, like using a VTO tool within a virtual shop or as a companion to a purchase made for an avatar, creating a connection between the digital and physical application.
  • personalized samples: The physical samples that ultimately make it into the hands of the consumer can not only be personalized to their name or perfect shade, but can also tie directly to the virtual experience. For example, printing their game score on the insert card, offering a full-size product offer or discount based on total points earned.


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