According to a recent study, the future of shopping is now with 70% of customers buying after visiting an online store. But for smaller brands, the investment of time and energy required to launch a store or even create a product for a virtual environment can be prohibitive. Is there a way for stores to design customer interactions that aren’t just a gimmick but add value?
Will consumers pay for the Metaverse when startups offer it in the technology sector?
The ability to trade goods and services is essential to most metaverse platforms. Virtual collectibles and clothing can cost hundreds of dollars.
Even real-world businesses are using Metaverse technologies. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) technology are used by dozens of retail companies across the globe.
Before we dive into the topic of Metaverse shopping experience and how it will change the way we shop in the future, let’s define what Metaverse is.
My name is Almira Lopez; I act like a CMO and think like a boss. I’m a Metaverse marketing strategist, and this is the best place for you to learn about Metaverse and how to market it all. So if that sounds good to you, you’re excited?
So, let’s get started!
What is the Metaverse?
To enter the Metaverse, one must wear VR glasses and enter a virtual universe. People use 3D representations of themselves, known as “avatars,” to move around in virtual environments. Metaverse sounds like a video game, but it is far more immersive and ambitious than other online simulations.
Avatars use real money to buy digital goods in the Metaverse. Metaverse marketing is possible on anything from clothing and makeup to buildings and billboards. A cryptocurrency wallet is optional but highly recommended.
Major retail brands have adopted the concept. Some brands that have already made their mark in the virtual world include Nike, Gucci, Estee Lauder, and Samsung.
Some brands also use the Metaverse to market and sell physical products that can be shipped to customers. For instance, McDonald’s plans to develop virtual restaurants where customers can place orders and deliver them to their homes without ever taking off their VR headsets.
How Did We Get Here?
Retail is an industry that has embraced change and innovation in the past. The 1990s marked the beginning of the era of widespread e-commerce. In a short time, the industry has evolved from online marketplaces that loaded slowly (or didn’t load at all) to ones that provided insightful, individualized shopping experiences.
The way we shop has evolved significantly as a result of technological developments. Live shopping, in which products are displayed and sold via live stream, is expected to generate $25 billion in US sales by 2023. Social media revolutionized product discovery and online advertising.
Both augmented and virtual realities (AR/VR) are already being used extensively as NFT marketing and advertising tools in the online retail industry. Products like home furnishings benefit greatly from augmented Reality because it allows customers to visualize the item in their own space before making a purchase. But VR is used to sell everything from clothes to automobiles by recreating the in-store experience digitally.
To some extent, it appears that the Metaverse represents the next logical step in the retail sector’s development.
Customer Experience In-Store Vs. the Metaverse
The need to recreate the in-store experience or build something similar in the Metaverse is real. Still, Estes maintains that “the metaverse was designed to create more engaging and enhanced experiences that provide a ‘wow’ factor for users beyond what in-store experiences can deliver.”
She noted that merchants should keep in mind that the Metaverse, despite its growing popularity, is still in its infancy.
In addition to improving their presence on social media, “retailers need to also focus on strengthening the experiences they provide on other channels, such as the web, mobile, in-store, and social,” Estes remarked.
According to Mason, brands should refrain from trying to replicate in-store experiences online because the two are fundamentally different mediums with distinct advantages in connecting with consumers.
“The most important thing to keep in mind is that metaverse experiences are experimental and voluntary,” he stressed. User satisfaction depends on their enjoyment and participation, so make sure they’re both. After all, it only takes a mouse click or a hand wave to switch to a different company’s metaverse experience. Every business should consider how well a company’s name and the image will transfer to another medium.
Companies need to plan for how their brand ambassadors will interact with customers. Who knows if they’ll be lighthearted, humorous, or cutting-edge? How will their brand be represented visually, and what tone of voice will be used?
Mason further suggested that businesses ensure the security of their metaverse strategies.
Brands need to be cautious that their users feel safe and secure in the Metaverse because, as he put it, “with any new medium, there are potential downsides.”
More Than Virtual Shopping
Among the fascinating prospects is the opportunity to go metaverse shopping stores. That’s why many major fashion companies are exploring the potential of the Metaverse to help them provide their customers with richer, more interactive experiences in real-time.
Using a customer’s activity, purchase history, taste, and demographic profile, virtual shopping experiences in the Metaverse incorporating AI technologies can make tailored clothing recommendations and ultimately boost sales. There will be no barriers to entry when it comes to shopping thanks to advancements in technology that will allow consumers to experience a full range of services regardless of their physical location. Customers can get a beauty consultation from a personal advisor and try on accessories, sunglasses, and makeup to see what it looks like and how it feels before making a purchase.
What is the Future of Shopping in the Metaverse?
The Metaverse combines different facets of the evolving e-commerce landscape. Users can communicate with salespeople, shop in groups, view accurate product dimensions, and virtually try on clothing in a full 360-degree environment.
In addition to the Metaverse’s inherent coolness, Metaverse shopping stores provides a significant advantage over traditional retail: it’s more convenient for those with limited mobility. This makes it more accessible than standard e-commerce platforms for users of varying skill levels.
What recommendations are there for businesses interested in venturing into the Metaverse? Take baby steps now so you’re ready to embrace it later fully:
Learn From The Experience Of The First Users
Get to know how other stores are selling in the Metaverse before introducing your brand.
Give Some Thought To Your Product Or Service
Every person will have a different experience in the Metaverse. Take into account how your products will fare in a digital setting. Do you merely deal in the sale of tangible items with conventional shipping? To what extent should you consider customer virtual avatars when designing virtual products? Is your product better suited to a gaming or retail environment instead?
Upgrade Your Tech Stack
Put the Metaverse to one side; money spent on e-commerce technology is always well-spent. With the right technology stack, businesses can remain flexible and quickly take advantage of new opportunities. More than that, it enables you to enhance the virtual shopping experience, strengthen customer loyalty, and gain insights from consumer actions.
There is still time to plan for the Metaverse’s potential impact on your long-term strategy. Half of the respondents to a survey conducted in 2022 said they had never heard of the Metaverse, and only 5% considered themselves avid users.
Companies Using the Metaverse for Marketing and Sales
Brands, in this increasingly digital world, need to put more effort into creating emotionally compelling in-store experiences. This technique is used in Metaverse and metaverse shopping to make a virtual environment feel as real as possible by manipulating sights and sounds.
The companies that have begun utilizing the Metaverse and metaverse shopping experience are listed below.
Build it into your overall strategy
Even if you believe a metaverse experience will help your brand, you should pay attention to the importance of other advertising forms or developing new ways to sell your products. Anthony observes that successful omnichannel strategies lead to rapid expansion for leading brands.
In addition, the technology is still evolving, so it’s important to consider how online purchases can enhance the value customers find in your brick-and-mortar establishment, as Rachel points out. ‘Create digital counterparts to your physical products that confer digital benefits and rewards,’ she suggests that you think about gamification as a strategy.
However, if establishing a presence in the Metaverse or online is the next logical step for your company, you should allocate sufficient time and resources to this effort, not just for the initial launch.
‘Brands need to build experiential e-commerce into their budgets and create three- to five-year plans for their metaverse initiatives,’ says Neha. Even smaller brands need to plan strategically for e-commerce by allocating funds and establishing dedicated departments.
Even though the metaverse movement has only recently been introduced to the online shopping world, it has already proven to be a huge success.
Your company can take advantage of the burgeoning market for augmented and virtual reality purchases. Whether you use a metaverse platform to sell NFTs or VR/AR to enhance your current retail setting, you can build a name for your company in the Metaverse.