Metaverse year for brands? – MMAF

January 2022. The future of the Internet is not yet born, even if it has been talked about a lot in recent months. In fact, the word “Metaverse” has been on everyone’s lips ever since Facebook renamed itself Meta and thus established itself as one of the major players in this new virtual world.

Is this a heresy, or are we facing the advent of a new world that opens wide investment horizons? Experts from Tiendeo.fr, the platform specialized in digitizing the retail sector, evaluated the potential of the metaverse and its opportunities for the retail sector.

2022 will be the year of the Metaverse

Metaverse is a set of virtual experiences created by augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies, where an individual can interact with other people and/or objects, and even acquire virtual goods through an avatar.

Wunderman Thompson Intelligence’s “Into the metaverse” study explores what the metaverse is, how it can change consumers’ lives, the new opportunities it creates, and why brands and retailers should pay special attention to this new way of interacting with consumers.

According to the study, brands and retailers will have to continue to ask themselves the right questions. Listening, observing and understanding their audience will play a key role, as well as following a strategic plan that will be subject to an in-depth analysis of the data.

Metaverse, a new marketing channel?

As an extension of the existing media strategy, the metaverse emerges as an additional channel to be incorporated into the marketing teams’ media plan.

Thus, relying on the metaverse largely means adapting to the consumption trends of the population. This new medium of communication sets new frontiers for the retail sector and spreads “game advertising”: virtual worlds destined to become real advertising battlegrounds. Thus, brands will be able to exploit the advertising space available in the metaverse.

Some advertisers argue that to succeed in this new environment, the metaverse must be seen as a virtual world one enters into to escape the reality of the world. This means that brands must at all costs move away from the advertising model as we know it today.

In addition, it would be necessary to understand a necessarily complex universe, consisting not of a single universe, but of dozens of metapheres. In the US, for example, four major companies are vying for the top spot in the race for metaverse dominance: Meta (Facebook), Roblox, Fortnite and Microsoft, along with other tech giants who will lead the way in the industry in the coming months.

Metaverse and its conquest of the retail sector

In recent years, retail in the broad sense has undergone a profound digital transformation. However, this person can experience his great revolution through the Metaverse.

The ambition to master these new virtual spaces is not in vain, because mastering them means controlling to some extent the way people interact. This new technology announces a new mode of consumer communication where retailers and brands have to “be there” in order to better connect with younger generations, be it Generation Z or Alpha.

Through the metaverse, consumers can view and review products in a virtual environment before purchasing. Retailers can reach new audiences and encourage real-world purchases. With immersive technology blurring the line between the offline and online worlds, these new shopping experiences are an opportunity that will appeal to retailers of all types and sizes.

Some companies are already promising to launch a product by 2023 and others are already exploring the possibility of creating virtual malls, convenience stores and convenience stores where digital avatars can buy NFT products and pay with cryptocurrency. Bloomberg Intelligence estimates that metaverses are already worth €500 billion and estimates it will reach €2000 billion by the end of the decade.

According to American inventor Raymond Kurzweil, Google’s director of engineering since 2012, “By the end of the decade – in 2030 – we will be spending more time in the metaverse than we do in ‘real life’.”

Brands and retailers at the forefront of the Metaverse

The retail sector is one of the sectors with the most interest in Metaverse due to the huge potential it offers to generate expertise during the decision-making process and create a deeper connection with customers.

For example, Gucci has already started selling its virtual clothes with its Gucci Virtual 25 sneaker and H&M recently launched its first virtual collection with Nintendo’s social simulation game Animal Crossing. Ikea has also created an app that allows customers to furnish almost an entire room using augmented reality.

Some brands go further and feel free to invest clearly in the Metaverse. This is the case of Nike, which has created its own virtual world, Nikeland. A space giving access to several sports fields, as well as a showroom where users can outfit their avatars with Nike shoes to participate in competitions.

Nikeland is not just a way to present itself to kids, but it also serves as a testing ground for the brand where the younger generation can try out new products with their avatars before buying them in real life.

In short, the metaverse revolution promises a unique digital experience in which the virtual world and the real world are intertwined and merged into one reality. It is now up to brands and retailers to find their niche and explore its full potential.

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