Jumping on the bandwagon for a market filled with possibilities, more and more brands are looking to the metaverse. This appealing concept allows these stores to occupy various digital spaces worlds apart from their physical presence. With more people relying on digital marketplaces for all their retail needs, it makes sense for companies to look for the next frontier.
It’s still relatively early in terms of technology to see the metaverse gain widespread adoption, but that is not stopping companies from giving it a try. Here’s what you need to know about this new concept and how businesses can potentially benefit from it.
What is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is a virtual reality of sorts that’s not at all different from the rest of cyberspace in terms of the space it occupies. The big difference lies in how the metaverse provides interactions and accessibility that did not exist before, thanks to futurists who have envisioned a world where our real life blends seamlessly with all these digital spaces.
Imagine being able to conduct meetings in the comfort of your own home, but it feels like you’re in a different location, present with other people. This is unlike the conferences of Zoom and Google Hangouts that rose in popularity during the pandemic. These conferences would be as full-immersive as sitting in the same room with your colleagues, not limited to the tiny 2D squares of video chat. In the metaverse, you could access a virtual version of your room that exists outside our reality in cyberspace. The metaverse, an interwoven virtual reality of worlds and spaces existing online, offers endless possibilities, and we’ve only scratched the surface of what could be.
One prevalent trend in today’s development is the creation of virtual worlds. A developer can shape a part of the metaverse in a way that allows their creativity to run freely in its presentation. There is a future where we can visit a virtual world using our computers or VR headsets.
Another trend that’s also been rising in fame is virtual experiences. Imagine being able to attend a presentation virtually or joining together with thousands of fans, watching a big event. Tech-savvy companies are seeing this potential and are preparing for the eventuality.
What is Metaverse Retail?
It is the broad term for how physical stores and shopping experiences integrate into this new space. Imagine being able to create an extension of your store, but this time in the virtual store. Those who are present digitally can visit this store and get an experience similar to visiting the shop. There’s also room for possibility as cyberspace doesn’t have the limits of our physics.
Virtual shopping seems like a foreign idea of the future, but it’s essentially just an upgrade of the online retail we have today. Instead of clicking buttons and looking at screens, we transport our senses into the metaverse and shop there. While interactivity is limited now, we can expect other complementary technologies to provide the ability to immerse us in these experiences.
Retail in the metaverse is inevitable, as all business opportunities are becoming available in this new space. It’s not just a new way to shop virtually but a way to gain exposure. While still in its early stages, many companies are holding back on developing their metaverse foundations, but with each passing day, more big names enter cyberspace.
For those that see its potential, it can be great for brand building. Unlike the physical world with brick-and-mortar stores, there are no geographical limits on the internet, opening a brand to international exposure.
How Does it Work?
Right now, most of the action happens through metaverse platforms. Some developers occupy space on the metaverse, allowing brands to rent or buy these virtual properties. They may be the ones that handle the development of these specific experiences or rent out digital land as a part of a larger ecosystem.
Many of these platforms are accessible today. You can visit their domains using your mobile phone or browser. It’s a simple process, as the foundation of the internet has already been laid. Now developers are taking strides to make things accessible and intuitive for users.
Once you’ve chosen a platform, you can enter the space using your device and get transported into the metaverse. You can shop until you drop!
One of the developments occurring right now is the focus on mobile devices. Since most of today’s digital users have phones, accessing the metaverse using smartphones only makes sense. If you access a metaverse shopping experience from your phone, your physical self may not be there, but your virtual self can be. Users can create an avatar wearing designer clothing or however they see fit.
Its integration with VR headsets also looks to be a focus, allowing you to immerse yourself into the experience. With a headset, you can get a 360-viewpoint perspective. Technology like video game engines and VFX may make it possible to make the metaverse look like augmented reality.
It leads to an immersive experience unheard of in today’s digital society. Plugging and experiencing virtual worlds is something you’d see in films like “Ready Player One.” Imagine being able to visit your favorite brand with a large store in the Metaverse. It’s accessible, easy to shop, and you can have the real thing delivered to your physical home.
Why stop there? You can even purchase digital items to spruce up your own metaverse space from virtual shops.
What Can You Buy in the Metaverse?
You can buy anything in the metaverse that someone there has for sale. Some of the most popular options sold today include:
- Clothing and apparel
- Automobiles and boats
- And more
One development in the metaverse is the rise of selling limited edition products that may be geographically difficult for consumers to purchase in the real world. Many retailers are promoting these because exclusivity lures larger numbers of consumers to opt-in. Some of these virtual items can be exchanged for their physical counterparts, but many are exclusive to the virtual world. Even digital items today can hold exorbitant value if there is a demand.
The first things that come to mind are video games. One could spend a lot on character skins for their favorite game or the controversial loot boxes. A lot of the metaverse also ties into video games as it creates a potential to monetize the video game experience.
Another trend that’s risen in the last few years is the rise of digital collectibles known as NFTs (non-fungible tokens). These limited items can be bought, sold, traded, and displayed in your virtual spaces. NFTs began with pictures like Cryptopunks and Bored Apes, but now more companies are looking into creating more.
Today, the collectible has also entered the metaverse. We now have the equivalent of collectible cards and memorabilia present throughout the space. These are authentic materials licensed and created with the help of big names.
What Companies Are Involved in the Metaverse Retail Platform?
Many big-name brands are already in the metaverse or developing their first forays into it. These are all high-profile online retail brands. While they aren’t the first to show interest, a surge of entries from industry showcases are seeing the potential of the space. It’s unlike the gaming and entertainment industries which already have a built-in demographic there.
Some of the retail companies already in the fold include:
- Nike: The world’s most famous shoe company has already filed for Metaverse Nike shoes and partnered with Roblox. They’re also working on creating their own NFT lines.
- Microsoft: Microsoft is a large digital brand already that’s now trying to get into the metaverse through gaming.
- Gucci: Gucci has begun selling numerous items through the metaverse. They’ve also started dabbling in NFTs.
- Louis Vuitton: The fashion brand opened its first retail store in the metaverse.
- Nvidia: Nvidia is one of the driving factors in metaverse development, thanks to their processors. As such, it’s not surprising that they were one of the first companies to stake their claim to the metaverse.
- Pokemon: Pokemon recently partnered with a developer to begin selling virtual merchandise.
- Ralph Lauren: Ralph Lauren has shown an interest in making waves in the metaverse. Like Nike, they’ve also partnered with Roblox to show off their fashion line.
Is Metaverse Retail Shopping More Affordable?
There are many benefits to shopping in the metaverse, though the experiences can vary. One can say that shopping experiences in it can be more affordable. For one, the transactions are direct from consumer to customer. There is no intermediary, meaning fewer fees, taxes, and other costs.
It’s also easier to set up virtual stores and create digital items than it is to open physical stores. Logistics are a nonissue because a lot of its development happens with computers.
There is a chance that the metaverse’s value can rise depending on how the brand approaches its profit-taking within it. As many know, things like NFTs and cryptocurrency can demand extremely high prices as the demand grows. Since many people now value digital items, there is a chance that these metaverse projects may become more expensive on the whole.
There’s also an argument that many current metaverse shoppers have acquired money through profits in the space. It means that their digital wallets have much more weight compared to their other assets in the physical world.
It’s a delicate balance, as some will still want to make their products affordable for the masses. It may take some time before we see any sort of standard. However, if the brand wants to become or remain affordable, it can take steps to do so, even with fluctuating prices.
So How Are Sales Driven in the Metaverse?
The metaverse itself is an emerging sales channel, though it doesn’t necessarily mean that retail transactions there will be the same. B2B transactions aren’t as common yet, so you’ll find that most buyers are individuals. There are several ways to drive sales in virtual stores. The most notable factor for virtual shopping and online shopping would be the following:
NFTs are the most commonly sold items in the metaverse’s online shopping arena. They are items with unique signatures, and the technology behind them ties them to their owners. That means it’s impossible to fake or even commit fraud. It also makes them much less prone to theft. NFTs are one of the developments that have brought more confidence to the retail industry.
Similar to how a physical showroom could create a window display, a virtual showroom can act as a means to advertise with more creative freedom unimpeded by physical space. A company like Gucci can release their NFT collections for display, teach buyers more about their products and have a channel to sell. The sales can be physical or virtual items too.
A lot of brands are experimenting with holding events on-demand. Each event can attract buyers for unique sales opportunities. For example, a limited-edition virtual item or something tied to physical redemption can be enticing.
Right now, the only thing holding the space back is a lack of technological development. As more effort goes into the metaverse, the public will slowly turn its attention toward it. The progress is similar to many other technologies like SMART devices or the internet.
Putting it All Together
Metaverse retail has a bright future and the brands going into the space are the first wave of money. While you’ve seen some names you already know, many others are making their preparations in the background. Don’t be surprised if you find one of your favorite brands suddenly announces their metaverse presence in due time.
If you’re a business, capitalizing on the emergence of this new space can be fruitful. If you’re a buyer, trying your hand at a metaverse experience can lead you to an immersion that wasn’t possible before.
How do brands advertise in the metaverse efficiently and effectively?
Brands are opting for the “IRL [In real life]” experiences without customers having to leave their homes. To do this, each brand is looking to incorporate advert displays equally the same as what one would see if they were to walk into a store physically.
Without a display, customers and shoppers cannot see what products are available within the metaverse store. This is where Felbro Displays come in! We bring customers to your products using engaging techniques to grasp their attention in both the physical and meta worlds.
Contact us today for more information via our website: Contact Us and see how your store can level up!