Metaverse - Revolutionizing the way consumers shop

Metaverse – Revolutionizing the way consumers shop

The metaverse, through virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies, heralds new economic opportunities, transcending the digital and physical worlds, across a multitude of industries. Retailers and marketers create online communities that become marketplaces for virtual goods and digital assets. Companies are augmenting and virtualizing products to make digital shopping experiences much more realistic, mimicking and enhancing in-store purchases, resulting in more engaged customers and higher quality sales (fewer returns). Today, the most advanced metaverse communities exist in online video games and social media.

New age consumers, Millennials (26-41), Gen Z (10-25) and Generation Alpha (<10), are engaged in immersive online experiences through digital identities, self -called avatars and virtual hangouts. In these digital playgrounds, they connect with friends, relax, socialize, and purchase virtual goods and services. To influence these emerging consumers, brands and retailers meet them where they are – in the Metaverse. These virtual communities become privileged places for brand presentations, interactions, as well as for creating footprints and building loyalty. Retail and fashion brands are designing AR and VR metaverse strategies to deliver products across the omnichannel – online, in-store, on-the-go, and instant access to local and remote consumers.

Augmented Reality (AR) enhances visual experiences by adding real-world digital information overlay elements to a live view, helping consumers make more informed decisions. In retail applications, AR enables users to experience virtual products and product holograms in their natural space to make more informed purchasing decisions. AR filters allow consumers to try on digital clothing without being physically present in stores. These features provide consumers with a superior shopping experience, improving the quality of sales by minimizing returns.

“Try-Before-You-Buy” online AR apps offer virtual product preview and trial experiences. Retailers like IKEA, Home Depot, Walmart
WMT
Kohls, Amazon
AMZN
Shopify, etc., and fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Nike
NKE
, Balenciaga, Warby Parker and many others already offer these augmented reality experiences. Nextech AR provides underlying technologies for enterprises to implement a variety of 3D AR experiences, from 3D models to holograms. Evan Gappelberg, CEO of Nextech, said, “I think 3D models are essential in 2022 and beyond. It will become more and more difficult and impossible to compete and do business online without 3D models providing competitive advantage and high return on investment.

Virtual reality (VR) immerses users in an alternate universe, transcending physical and temporal boundaries. Users create personalized avatars within these virtual worlds as an extension of themselves. They buy clothes and accessories to dress up their avatars, projecting a sense of individualized style, leading to a steady increase in the avatar economy and the rise of several digital-only fashion houses, such as Maker, Auroboros, RTFKT, Happy99, Republic and Suite.

Online games are more than just games; they are becoming content delivery platforms, evolving into tiered group experiences encompassing viewing, gaming, socializing and shopping. Online gaming platforms such as Roblox, Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto, Minecraft, etc. are popular places where consumers play games, meet friends, hang out, consume entertainment and shop. Gaming platforms are creating metaverse experiences in music entertainment and concerts with live music stars, blurring the line between the physical and the virtual. Content creators are connecting with new customers, leading to an expanding user base for online gaming, increased engagement, content consumption, purchases, and ultimately increased franchise monetization.

Brands and retailers

The rapidly changing dynamics of the metaverse market are opening up many opportunities for traditional and emerging digital fashion brands to dress up avatars with game skins and virtual clothing, giving rise to the Direct-to-Avatar (D2A) business model. . With nearly 3 billion regular attendees across multiple devices and platforms, the gaming industry generates billions in revenue from gamers, attracting established and new brands across industries that add choice and enhance gaming experiences. avatar. Erica Bartman, CEO of EWG Unlimited, said, “The most important thing a brand can do is build community and lower barriers to participation. Consumers want a higher experience in the metaverse, to aesthetics to ease of socialization. We focus on identifying key interests in a community that follow our talents and the talents that guide them.”

Traditional fashion brands and digital-only fashion houses have taken the lead in participating in the metaverse, offering D2A product lines including apparel, footwear, accessories, and more. Brands are connecting and interacting with younger consumers, “online first,” and also collecting a growing database of consumer behaviors as users test these new D2A products in the Metaverse.

Brands such as Nike, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger, Balenciaga, Prada, Burberry, Gucci, Vans, Zara, Foreve21 and many more are creating beachheads in the D2A marketplace by offering digital product collections. In August 2021 Ralph Lauren released a 50-piece D2A collection on social networking app Zepeto and in July 2021 American Eagle announced a D2A collection for Snapchat Bitmoji avatars. Digital fashion house Manufacturer virtualizes D2A collections for brands like Adidas, Puma and Tommy Hilfiger. Avihay Feld, CEO and Co-Founder of Browzwear, said, “Through our partnerships with industry leaders such as Adobe Substance, Avery Dennison, Polartec, Sketchfab and others, we provide designers with the capabilities to produce realistic digital images. clothing rendering, which will be essential for new commercial avenues such as NFTs and the Metaverse.

In January 2021, Gucci and North Face released a joint D2A collection on Pokémon Go using Wanna technology. Gucci offered a wide range of D2A merchandise in 2021, ranging from $13 virtual sneakers to a unique Roblox handbag that sold for over $4,000. Gucci also released a four-minute NFT video, Aria, which was auctioned by Christie’s for $25,000.

Nike has filed patent and trademark applications related to the Metaverse. He created a Metaverse studio and, on the Roblox platform, launched Nikeland – a virtual space that includes gaming arenas and showrooms of D2A products. It also acquired virtual fashion startup RTFKT, a popular digital fashion company that sells digital sneakers.

In September 2021, luxury brand Balenciaga collaborated with Fortnite to sell four iconic items to serve as skins and accessories for in-game avatars. For Spring/Summer 2022, avatars using digital renders of famous models, presented the label’s collection.

The Meta Company on June 20, 2022 launched a Metaverse Fashion Store where avatar outfits designed and offered by Balenciaga, Prada and Thom Browne can be purchased for use on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. The product range includes the quintessential Balenciaga look, i.e. ripped jeans and a plaid shirt, a motocross suit, a black skirt suit and low rise jeans paired with a cropped logo t-shirt and logo briefs. Prada’s offering includes the white tank top with a logo triangle top and tiered skirt that echoes the latest product offerings from the catwalks and the real world. Similarly, Thom Browne’s offerings, a shrunken gray three-piece suit, pleated gray skirt suit and shorts outfit, are inspired by Browne’s trademark uniform.

Automobile industry

Virtual Auto Showrooms provide a way to research, explore and purchase vehicles from the comfort of anywhere. A suite of AR and VR automotive apps allow buyers to explore thousands of models with interior/exterior options, rotate vehicles, change paint, “sit” in the driver’s seat and take a virtual test drive. RelayCars is an application where one can explore thousands of cars in augmented reality and 3D using a smartphone, tablet or computer, creating an automotive showroom experience in residence. Luxury car brands Maserati, Aston Martin, Tesla and Rolls-Royce have launched virtual models of their cars on online gaming platforms.

Currently, avatars are not cross-platform creations. Digital purchases on one platform cannot be used on another, which may change as technologies evolve.

AR and VR technologies are profoundly changing the way consumers interact with brands and retailers to make purchasing decisions. Advances in technology, better hardware, and more faithful virtual experiences will encourage many consumers to spend more time in the immersive metaverse where 3D avatars are the primary means of interacting with others. As the gap between the physical and the virtual continues to blur, the projection of self-identity and personal fashion through digital avatars will grow in importance. Retailers, fashion brands and designers are transcending physical boundaries and entering virtual worlds creating digital products and fashion shows to stay in touch with their ever-changing customer base. Metaverse is set to dramatically transform and revolutionize the way consumers shop!

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