Shiseido’s Ulé is among first beauty brands to launch digital product passports

On Tuesday, Ulé, the French beauty brand launched in 2022 by Shiseido Company, announced that its newest product, the C-Bright serum launched last week, now comes with a digital product passport.

Digital product passports act as virtual profiles for tangible goods. For Ulé’s serum, the DPP will detail everything from its ingredient composition to the processes behind its manufacturing processes, granting consumers and stakeholders a clear view of its lifecycle. This move is intended to drive more informed purchasing decisions and encourage the adoption of eco-friendly practices, according to the company.

In addition, consumers can use the passport to access the brand’s sustainability commitments, personalized services, exclusive experiences and direct messages, as well as verify products’ authenticity.

Overall, passports give brands direct access to individual consumers as the end of cookies and new barriers to customer data are making communications and targeting more difficult. 

Ulé has championed vertical farming for beauty products since its inception. Vertical farming uses less water and ground to grow plants, making it a better choice for brands using plants in their products. Some products from Ulé, like the Ulé Avoir It All In & Out Nurturing Phyto Oil, are even “clean” enough to eat, according to the brand. 

Digital product passports are beginning to catch on in beauty amid looming legislation in the E.U. market. YSL Beauty has also incorporated passports across its product range.

In 2020, the European Commission and E.U. consumer authorities analyzed online green claims by fashion and beauty brands and found that 42% of the claims could be misleading, breaching E.U. unfair practice rules. By 2026, the European Union is set to implement new regulations mandating that consumer brands adopt digital product passports. 

Ulé’s passport was developed in collaboration with the French web3 solutions provider Arianee, which has previously partnered with brands including Mugler and Moncler. Passports can be accessed on the brand’s website, through a link found in the confirmation email after customers place an order. Each digital product passport is integrated with blockchain technology and is, therefore, unique and non-transferable. The brand declined to share how much the technology costs to integrate.

“The non-transferability of the passport is crucial for our brand as it reinforces the exclusivity and value of the rewards and experiences we offer,” said Sandrine Henrie, the co-founder of Ulé. “This way, we maintain a sense of personal connection and appreciation for our customers’ loyalty, and it also helps to prevent misuse or exploitation of the rewards program.”

“We are at the initial phase of developing our brand, and our primary focus is to deepen our understanding of our customers and what drives their interest in Ulé,” said Lindsay Azpitarte, co-founder of Ulé. “Launching a comprehensive, complex CRM program at this stage is premature. Our digital passport offers a way to explore CRM strategies through product launches, allowing us to experiment without fully committing until we grasp what truly motivates our customers and what sparks their engagement and conversion.”

The brand plans to provide personalized services and experiences to customers with the passport. Out of the gate, customers who register their products before February 29 get access to rewards like discounts and access to events. A select few customers, chosen randomly, will receive invitations to Ulé’s Earth Day event in Paris on April 2024, while others will enjoy a gift voucher to use on the brand’s site.

“The invitation to our Earth Day event [offering a viewing of our vertical farming practices] gives our most dedicated customers a unique opportunity to witness our commitment to sustainability and quality,” said Henrie. “By showing our innovative cultivation practices, we hope our customers will have a deeper connection with the brand and the plants used to make the product.” 

The brand is promoting the launch of the passport on its social media channels across multiple posts over the next week.

According to Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel, CEO of Arianee who worked with the brand on the DPP integration, digital product passports can help improve transparency in the beauty industry, ultimately leading to more post-purchase retention. 

Moving forward, Ulé will be seeking other ways to grow its relationships with its customers. “We plan to explore innovative ways to gather feedback, incorporate customer preferences into our product development process and showcase the stories behind our brand.”

Henrie expects the DPPs to “foster a sense of appreciation and loyalty among consumers” and provide them with “an additional incentive to engage with the brand.” In addition, the technology will help with customer acquisition and interaction, while educating customers, she said.

Ulé sells through its DTC platform across France, Germany and Spain, and globally through online beauty retailer Space NK. The company declined to share its annual revenue.

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