Retail’s Metaverse Momentum

For retailers, the question is when, not if, they’ll engage with customers in the metaverse.

The metaverse is top of mind in retail, from virtual store openings, to experimentation with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), to enabling immersive experiences throughout the organization, including backend operations and the supply chain.

And it’s no wonder interest is high. According to McKinsey, Generation Z and millennials expect to spend close to five hours a day in virtual worlds. And members of Gen Alpha are already veterans of virtual worlds in which they play games and buy clothing (known as “skins”) for their characters. 

The best retail experiences will capitalize on both data and engagement. Rather than view the metaverse as a separate channel, successful retailers will recognize it as part of the digital-physical continuum.

Five ways forward

Here are five ways retailers can achieve business value in the metaverse:

  1. Reinvent the store in 3D, combining the convenience of online e-commerce with brick-and-mortar shopping’s vibrant visual and social experiences.
  2. Create an NFT strategy that delivers exclusive goods and tangible shopping benefits, such as dedicated shopping lines and special discounts.
  3. Make metaverse shopping experiential. Leverage the metaverse’s strengths—convenience and new technology tools—to rethink the store experience and engage consumers in completely new ways.
  4. Plan new frontiers for the supply chain, such as using 3D models to tackle demand forecasting, rapid fulfillment requirements and SKU management.
  5. Reimagine customer/field services. Find immersive ways for customers to interact with business experts and engage with customer support.

Next steps

As we partner with retailers on their next steps toward virtual environments, we recommend a measured approach that leaves plenty of room for experimentation and fail-fast efforts.

For instance, while the metaverse is an opportunity to rethink the retail experience, it doesn’t require mastering every new technology at once. Choose what will—and won’t—work for your organization and be prepared to learn as you go.

For a complete look at retail in the metaverse, see our ebook or contact us.

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