JThe Metaverse has garnered a lot of attention so far for the impact it could have on gaming and entertainment, but those aren’t the only sectors in danger of being shaken up. Various retail brands have already taken steps to get involved in the metaverse, whether it’s trademarking NFTs, publishing their own games, or looking at futuristic advertising methods – and more companies have sprung up. to welcome them.
Let’s take a look at how companies in the retail sector could use the metaverse to innovate and sell.
What would retail look like in the Metaverse?
You might be scratching your head trying to figure out how retailing in the metaverse might make sense. The easiest concept to understand is the idea of buying digital clothes for a metaverse avatar. After all, many of us have purchased “clothes” in online games before, from Roblox to Runescape to The Sims.
But while this is one of the ways the metaverse could impact retail, it’s far from the only path businesses can take.
If the metaverse becomes the next iteration of the internet, people will spend a lot of time there. And just as advertising on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram became a staple for every digital marketing department during the 2010s, so could the metaverse in years to come. As people around the world meet their friends in avatar form and walk around in a virtual reality world, they may look up and see a poster for the latest Zara jacket or Nordstrom shoes.
The metaverse could even be a way for fashion consumers to merge the benefits of high street and e-commerce. Imagine trying on clothes in a digital mall using virtual reality, making the purchase on the spot, then waiting for the item to arrive in physical form at your address. It’s the most futuristic possibility of all, but it might be closer than you think.
If you have a 3D printer, you might even be able to purchase an item in NFT form and print it yourself one day. This would eliminate the need for cumbersome and unsustainable practices involved in shipping items around the world during the manufacturing process; admittedly, it’s unlikely to be accessible to the average person anytime soon.
Companies are already making progress
If the use cases described above intrigue you, you are probably wondering how you can invest in the precursors of this innovation. Dozens of major retailers are getting involved, from Forever 21 to Balenciaga. However, we will focus on a few retailers that are making the most progress. But first, a word of warning. No one is quite sure what form the Metaverse will take at the moment, so while there are likely opportunities, anyone’s guess is what will ultimately be more popular or profitable.
Nike is perhaps one of the retailers that has worked hardest to succeed on the metaverse. First, he trademarked his sneakers, which prevents anyone from selling Nike shoes in the metaverse. In fact, he’s already suing another company for trying to do just that. Another important decision made by Nike was to create its own online corner of the metaverse – called Nikeland – in Roblox, one of the biggest gaming and metaverse platforms around.
Additionally, Nike has partnered with RTFKT Studios, a fashion startup that makes its own NFTs, including sneakers. It seems likely that Nike’s ultimate goal is firmly to sell sneakers into the Metaverse, though it’s unclear what form that will take.
Luxury brands are equally keen to get involved in the metaverse. Gucci, owned by Kering (KER), is one of those leading the way. He started selling various digital items in 2021, including sneakers and a handbag.
He is also experimenting with NFTs and has sold a piece inspired by his Fall/Winter 2021 collection at online auction house Christie’s.
When it comes to the possibilities the Metaverse could open up for advertising, Microsoft is one of the companies trying to get in on the action. Microsoft is trying to buy Activision Blizzard, an American video game company, in hopes that it will become a metaverse gateway. It would give Microsoft an ideal way to market itself using the metaverse and stay relevant – and many other companies are considering branded gaming experiences as a new type of sponsorship.
Obsessar is already putting the seemingly futuristic idea of shopping in the metaverse into practice by creating its own digital mall. The company has previously worked with various brands, including Dermalogica, Coach and Unilever’s Mary Kay.
Another small company, Imageneria, sells NFTs that buyers can turn into physical objects by 3D printing. Consumers can purchase digital files from the cloud and then take the designs to a 3D printing studio to receive the actual product. They already have various ranges of jewelry and accessories.
Let’s take the meta
Taken in isolation, the ideas and technologies described above may seem too ambitious or futuristic. But when combined, the possibility of retail in the Metaverse seems much more likely. In a few years, will we all be shopping in virtual malls, with our avatars wearing designer sneakers and watching digital advertisements?
Many signs point to a big “yes”.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.