By 2025, it’s estimated that the metaverse will have over a billion users worldwide, and that number is only going to grow. As retail brands increasingly look to extend their digital presence of physical items, the space presents a unique and blue ocean of opportunity for those looking to experiment with new marketing tactics. With the ability to create simulated, persistent online worlds, different platforms in the metaverse represent a blank slate for retailers looking to engage with customers in novel ways. By hosting events, creating experiences, and using virtual reality, brands can create a presence in the metaverse that will engage customers and drive sales. With the growing popularity of consumer-facing VR and AR technologies, now is the time for retail brands to explore this exciting new frontier.
1. How retail brands CAN create a presence in the metaverse
With the convergence of these technologies collectively known as the ‘metaverse’, a new online social universe is emerging, where people meet and interact in some type of virtual space. Unlike the traditional (web 2.0) internet, which is primarily a 2d text and video based medium, the Metaverse is a three-dimensional, immersive environment. Brands and retailers are already beginning to establish a presence in the metaverse, in order to reach new customers and markets.
Retail brands can integrate themselves in metaverse platforms by creating 3d versions of their products that are compatible with certain virtual reality platforms. These 3d products can then be minted as NFTs and marketed, sold and distributed. Many brands are creating internal AR apps to overlay their products in different environments. These options provide a unique opportunity for brands to create immersive environments that allow customers to interact with products in an engaging and realistic way. In the near future, shoppers will be able to try on clothes, test drive cars, and experience products in a realistic way without ever leaving their homes.
2. BEST PRACTICES FOR MARKETING IN THE METAVERSE
Web 3.0 is the next stage of web development, where the web becomes more interactive and personalized. This shift is being driven by the increasing adoption of web-connected devices, the rise of artificial intelligence, and the emergence of virtual reality.
It’s critical for brands to create a strong presence that aligns with their existing marketing efforts and that will also stand out from the rest of the crowd. This means having an attractive and well-designed avatar or virtual space that reflects your brand identity. Communities in the platforms being built require an entirely new level of activity and engagement from brands. This means participating in conversations, events, and activities that are relevant to your brand. There is a huge focus on offering value and utility to users in the metaverse. This could mean providing exclusive coupons or discounts, offering helpful information or tips, or simply being a friendly and engaging presence in the community.
By leveraging the power of these technologies, brands can create memorable experiences that will drive sales and loyalty. In addition, brands can use VR and AR to create human connections with customers by providing avatar-based customer service and offering personalized experiences. Many brands are already using avatars to promote their products. Avatars allow brands to reach consumers in a more personal way, and they can be used to target specific demographics. For example, gaming brands often use avatars to appeal to gamers, while fashion brands might use them to target fashion-conscious consumers.
Other brands are creating retail stores in gaming, metaverse and virtual reality platforms. These stores allow brands to reach consumers who are already interested in their products, and they provide a unique shopping experience that can’t be found in traditional retail outlets. By investing in VR and AR, retail brands can stay ahead of the curve and establish themselves as leaders in the metaverse.
3. POTENTIAL PITFALLS
One of the biggest dangers is that metaverse marketing can be extremely intrusive. If not done carefully, it can come across as spammy and turn users off. There is a heightened level of sensitivity required when engaging in these spaces, and it is recommended to interact and experiment with different platforms before engaging in any marketing efforts. Another issue is that marketing in this space can also be very costly.
Because the metaverse is still in its early stages, businesses need to invest heavily in resources and expertise in order to be successful. Often custom solutions need to be built if a particular brand is unique in their offering and there are not any ‘out of the box’ solutions available. During this current phase of development, marketing in the space should be seen as an extension of the brand without becoming too immersed in the space. There is always the potential that sales of brand NFTs as an example can lead to unrealistic expectations and disappointed customers.
4. BrANDS HAVING SUCCESS MARKETING THEMSELVES IN the MEtAVErSE
Some of the most successful retail brands in the world are finding success in the metaverse. Nike, Dolce & Gabanna, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger, Balenciaga, Burberry, Gucci, Vans, Zara, and Forever 21 are all examples of brands that are thriving in this new digital space.
Each of these brands has found success by marketing themselves in ways that appeal to the metaverse’s vast population. Nike has created an immersive experience that allows shoppers to virtually try on shoes and clothing before purchasing them. Dolce & Gabanna has created a virtual fashion show that lets viewers see their latest collection in an entirely new way. Ralph Lauren has created a virtual reality experience that transported viewers to the streets of NYC. And Louis Vuitton has created a luxurious online shopping experience that feels like a real-life visit to their flagship store.
These brands are successful in the metaverse because they understand how to appeal to the unique needs and desires of its residents. They provide experiences that are engaging, exciting, and convenient – all things that shoppers in the metaverse crave.
With JP Morgan predicting in game ad spending alone is expected to be 20B/year by 2027 and CITI estimating the metaverse to be an 8-13 trillion dollar market opportunity by 2030, one thing is certain: the metaverse is going to change the way we interact with the world. Brands that are able to adapt and market themselves effectively in virtual worlds will have a huge advantage over those who don’t.
The key to success in the metaverse will be creating immersive experiences that customers can really get excited about. That means using cutting-edge technologies like VR and AR to create realistic and interactive environments. But it also means thinking outside the box to create something totally unique that will capture people’s imaginations.
Brands that are able to do this will find themselves well-positioned for success in the metaverse. Those who don’t adapt will be left behind. So start thinking about how you can prepare your brand for a future in the metaverse today. It’s not as far off as you might think.