The back half of 2020 was brutal for brands unprepared for omnichannel commerce disruption, as consumers were immediately thrown into new buying behaviors and demanding a more connected experience. Brands had to scramble to adapt and build solutions for BOPIS, same day delivery, and integrations with partner marketplaces (i.e., Shipt).
Having barely caught their breath, these same brands now face the next wave of technology poised to disrupt the market and will once again bring unprepared brands to their knees.
Welcome to the metaverse, where over the next several years consumers will begin flocking to a specific set of experiences and creating a whole new set of shopping behaviors.
The question is, how are you preparing to capture the money in the metaverse?
Let’s start with the question one: What the hell? So the metaverse, is the new “it” name given to virtual worlds where you can interact with other users. With consumers living via their virtual representation avatars, they will be able to meet up with their friends, shop, work, and more. This space is already being setup by big players in the consumer and business world like Microsoft (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/events/build-may-2021/ask-the-experts/connection-zone/atebrk223/) and Facebook (https://www.theverge.com/22588022/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-ceo-metaverse-interview).
This creates a whole new series of opportunities for advertising and experiential marketing. What will be the brands that outfit a consumer’s avatar in these virtual environments? When I throw a virtual party, will I need to buy decorations to fill the room? When I design the virtual conference room for a big client meeting? Who will provide the exotic wood conference table?
Remember when you bought a DVD and it came with a “free” digital copy of the movie? You didn’t care about the digital copy when you bought it. But when was the last time you watched a DVD? Think now about buying a new sofa at the store and it coming with a 3D virtual version that you now own? Next, a nice pair of earrings that comes with a digital pair for your avatar. These are all ways for a brand to show up in the virtual space.
There are already early adopter brands breaking into this space in new and interesting ways thru the popular platform Roblox. Hyundai launched ‘Hyundai Mobility Adventure’ that gives consumers and kids the opportunity to virtually test drive a vehicle (https://www.hyundai.com/worldwide/en/company/newsroom/hyundai-motor-vitalizes-future-mobility-in-roblox-metaverse-space%2C-hyundai-mobility-adventure-0000016713). Even crazier, a digital Gucci Bag sold for over $4000 (more than the cost of the real-world bag) in a limited release during their “Gucci Garden Experience” (https://www.thefashionlaw.com/a-digital-only-gucci-bag-sold-for-4115-on-roblox-as-brands-continue-to-look-to-gaming-as-reach-gen-z/).
From a brand standpoint, this creates a whole new set of challenges: new media channels that will need to be supported. Where will the money come from to cover these new placements? Do we need to create whole new virtual commerce stores? How many platforms will we need to build these in?
You don’t need to have all the answers today, but you better start thinking about where the metaverse transformation will take your brand in the future. So, start with these three key areas you can begin now to prepare.
- Experience – Evaluate your current strategies and identify platforms where you can replicate that experience virtually.
- Product – Anything that is sold in the physical world can be sold in the digital world, start building that inventory now.
- Advertising – Take a fresh look at media spends in platforms that already exist like Roblox.
Now, you are wondering if the concept of the metaverse has a shelf life worth paying attention to or if it’s just the latest buzz word. The term may change. The buzz may become routine. But the idea that commerce is morphing into a multi-dimensional space with speed and intent is as real as it gets. Even when real means avatars are as important as the consumers they represent.
Are you ready to cash in on the metaverse?