What Retail Businesses Need To Know before taking the leap to the Retail Metaverse
In a rapidly changing world, it’s important for businesses to keep up with the latest technology and trends. One of the most popular trends right now is the metaverse, a virtual reality world that retail businesses can use to reach a wider audience.
Defining the Metaverse and its potential for Retail Businesses.
What is the metaverse? The metaverse is a term coined by science fiction writer Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash. It refers to a shared virtual world, where people can interact with each other and with computer-generated characters and objects.
The goal of many metaverse platforms is to create an immersive experience that feels like a real-world environment but with additional features and possibilities that are not possible in the physical world. The metaverse is still in its early stages of development, but it has the potential to revolutionize retail businesses.
There are a few examples of businesses that are using the metaverse to their advantage. Second Life, for instance, is a popular online world where users can create their own avatars and explore different virtual environments.
Other Luxury brands have amazing metaverse experiences that range from virtual exhibitions, virtual games, and virtual hair style designs, to connecting real and virtual worlds.
How far are we from a complete Metaverse?
Before we can make it to the metaverse’s promised land, we need stronger interoperability, as a way for different platforms and devices to interact, so customers can transition seamlessly among multiple experiences offered by various providers.
Such connectivity will require a new internet, which is the promised web 3.0, which innovative minds, talents and innovators, as well as investors are currently working on.
Until we are there, we will not have a true complete metaverse, still we can say that more immersive digital experiences are becoming more persistent and important technologies for a true metaverse are already a reality.
Current Technologies paving the way to the Metaverse
Some present day technologies get us closer to a true metaverse.:
- Cloud technology allows ubiquity and tremendous processing power, as well as storage to support extended reality and immersive interfaces.
- 5G hyperconnected networks will allow super powerful interactions and open up new ways of interoperability, as 5G reaches a point of maturity.
- AI helps offer user experiences that feel more real, as it creates digital reflections that combine computer vision, speech and deep learning.
- VR has reached a point in which experiences feel more real, and allow for users to interact in new and revolutionary ways.
- Blockchain Technologies support the decentralization of finance and the economy, and are making partly automated financial systems possible.
Apart from technology, the pandemic’s impact on consumers behavior and expectations, enhanced by digital experiences and purchases paves the way for the metaverse.
Where can you have a safe start into the Metaverse?
Today’s metaverse trends offer a set of low risk use cases, according to PWC in 6 ways to prepare your business for the metaverse:
- Selling digital versions of physical goods.
- Offering virtual tours of virtual products or facilities.
- Launching NFTs to enhance brand awareness and connections to customers.
- Buying or leasing digital real estate for sales, advertising and customer support.
The barriers to entry: Understanding the technical challenges of building a presence in the metaverse
There are a few technical challenges that can serve as barriers to entry for businesses looking to establish a presence in the metaverse.
1. Businesses need to have 3D assets of their products or services in order to create an immersive, realistic experience for users. Creating high-quality 3D assets can be time-consuming and expensive.
2. Businesses need to have the ability to stream those assets in real-time so users can interact with them. This requires significant computing power and bandwidth.
3. Businesses need to design their metaverse experience in a way that is engaging and easy to navigate; otherwise users will quickly get bored and move on to something else.
The benefits of going meta: How Businesses can benefit from operating in the Metaverse
- Increased Customer Engagement. The metaverse provides businesses with a unique opportunity to connect with customers in a new and exciting way.
- New marketing opportunities. The metaverse offers a variety of interactive features that allow businesses to connect with customers on a deeper level.
- Access to new markets. The motto for business: Location, location, location, acquires a new meaning in the age of the metaverse, as new market opportunities arise.
- Introducing virtual products. In the metaverse, businesses can create virtual storefronts, offer virtual tours of their products or services, and host virtual events.
- Collect new valuable data from customers. New forms of clienteling and gathering data as per every new type of interaction provided by the metaverse.
- Support Metaverse payments. Cryptos as the new way for customers to pay and even earn rewards. A new sphere calls for a new way to pay.
- Market physical and digital products and services. The interaction between physical and virtual perfectly converges in the metaverse, as customers can try new products and services that they can enjoy in real life.
Making the switch: 7 Key Steps to setting up a business in the Metaverse
Every day, more and more businesses are changing their operations online. If you’re a retail business owner or work in one, you might be wondering how you can make the transition to the “metaverse” – the virtual world where many online businesses exist.
Here are a few simple steps to get started in the metaverse:
- Develop a Strategy. The key to success in the metaverse is to have a clear plan and execution strategy. Identify gaps to close and long-term opportunities to build from.
- Choose an online platform for your business. There are many different options available, so it’s important to do some research to find one that best suits your business needs.
- Master AR/VR as it is one of the core customer facing technologies, it will be crucial to develop or outsource strong AR/VR capabilities.
- Focus on your target audience. Every brand has a specific audience in the real world, so does metaverse.
- Focus on the Experience. Customers that enter a metaverse want experiences, know what you want your customers want to feel and provide.
- Adopt Crypto currencies. A virtual world needs a virtual currency. Blockchain technology savviness will be important.
- Strengthen your online presence. Make sure you have the right online presence, an omnichannel solution that allows total control of inventories, channels, and physical stores, so you can easily integrate with future transactions in the metaverse.
Conclusion: Why is the metaverse the future of retail?
The metaverse is the future of retail for a number of reasons.
1. It provides a more immersive and interactive experience for customers. They can explore products and services in a three-dimensional environment and interact with them in ways that are not possible in the physical world.
2. The metaverse offers a more personalized shopping experience. Customers can create their own avatar to represent themselves in the metaverse and customize their shopping experience to match their preferences.
3. The metaverse offers businesses a more efficient way to reach customers via targeted marketing messages and product offerings to customers based on their location, interests, and interactions in the metaverse.
In conclusion, the metaverse is the future of retail because it provides a more immersive and interactive customer experience, offers a more personalized shopping experience, and is a more efficient way for businesses to reach customers.
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