By Roland Wilson-Barge
The virtual universe of the metaverse is upon us. Facebook has rebranded itself as a metaverse company under the moniker Meta. JP Morgan has opened a bank branch in the metaverse. This new digital reality is being discussed everywhere.
Virtual shopping in the Metaverse has already started. Here are some surprising statistics about e-commerce in the metaverse:
• A digital edition of the Gucci bag was sold for more than $4,100. It is more than the actual price of the bag in real life.
• There are four patent and trademark applications, filed by Nike, for downloadable virtual goods supported by metaverse.
But what is a “metaverse”? It can be difficult to pin down exactly what a metaverse is when one has been confronted with such digital experiences as augmented reality, virtual reality, and complex multiplayer video games for years now. Is it one of these three? Is it all three of them combined? Is it a unique set of experiences? To some, the metaverse is still being defined. However, to online shoppers, it is an expansive new opportunity to shop and to sell like never before.
Even before the Metaverse was conceived, early adopters redefined how consumers would shop via Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies. Retail giants like Amazon and Warby Parker utilized AR with the Room Decorator and the Virtual Try-On apps, respectively. As new emerging technologies develop, they will continue to reshape the way we think of e-commerce.
Metaverse technology will enable brands to offer shoppers a highly personalized digital experience. The metaverse is intended to be a seamless experience that makes it easy for shoppers to find exactly what they want, exactly when they want it, in a truly immersive experience. And unlike the current limitations of personalized digital shopping experiences, the metaverse will allow brands to personalize the shopping experience at scale to reach more shoppers than ever before. Here are 3 ways the Metaverse is already redefining e-commerce marketing:
Completely Virtual Stores
Luxury fashion brands, Gucci and Balenciaga, as well as automotive company Mercedes Benz have already started building their online stores on various metaverse platforms. These platforms are no longer an individualistic experience. Friends can join the experience virtually and can all shop together, and these brands can sell both virtual products as well as real life items by combining virtual and augmented realities. E-commerce marketers must now be attuned to the additional needs of the particular metaverse audience. This digital shopper has its own demographic and purchasing profile.
Personalized Virtual Shopping Experiences
Millennials and Gen Z are the cohort most ready to jump into the metaverse with both digital feet. They are also known for seeking highly personalized shopping experiences. The metaverse provides the very unique shopping opportunities that these customers are seeking.
A great example of how brands can use the metaverse to create personalized experiences was Nike’s recent launch of NIKELAND on Roblox. By creating an interactive space where people could participate in games and even create their own by using the provided toolkit, the sportswear brand provided its customers a brand new, immersive experience. Players were also able to outfit their avatars with special Nike products, which shows that there are many different ways brands can advertise their products in the metaverse. This is one way marketing managers can enhance brand stickiness.
Better Understanding of Customers
The goal of marketing is to understand the customer. Marketers create specialized content to keep their customers interested. Imagine how exciting it would be to have metaverse denizens discover and interact with a virtual collection. The metaverse will allow brands to test the potential success of their products without actually making them. If customers like the products they discover in the virtual world, then brands will know how effectively to produce products as well as what quantities are needed.
The Metaverse Is Here to Stay
We’re touching the edge of the digital advancements that the metaverse will bring us. There are therefore no imaginative constraints on what internet businesses can do in this new sector. As these technologies develop and the lines between the physical and digital worlds blur, e-commerce marketing as we know it will need to integrate the metaverse into its holistic branding campaign.
From stores that exist entirely in the virtual world to more highly personalized shopping experiences to creating better ways of understanding the customer, the metaverse is not only reshaping the arena of online retail but it is a necessary next phase in e-commerce managers’ effectiveness. You could say it is giving marketers a second life.
Roland Wilson-Barge is the Senior Manager of Paid Social at X Agency, an integrated digital marketing agency of growth engineers with offices in Boston, Massachusetts, and Nashville, Tennessee.
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