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RETAIL DESIGN & Visual merchandising

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The revolution of the metaverse in the retail sector

The revolution of the metaverse in the retail sector

The word ‘metaverse’ is on everyone’s lips. And it is not for less: it is the penultimate great revolution of the digital world as we knew it.

In recent times, the concept of the metaverse has emerged with great force, especially since it materialized last October with the transformation of Facebook into Meta. There are already 4 out of 10 global consumers who have heard of the metaverse but… what exactly is the metaverse?

It is the successor to 3D on the Internet, which will allow us to move and explore digital environments on a 1:1 scale. We are talking about a space where the real world is represented but in a virtual way; a combination of experiences and places that allow people to build, buy, sell, perform, collaborate and play together in real time. A system that offers endless opportunities for brands, and this is where the retail sector comes into play, to have a presence and a market niche.

Metaverse concept describes an immersive and multisensory experience in the applied use of various devices and technological developments on the Internet.

 

The definitive fusion between physical and digital retail

The main trend in the retail sector, from time to time, has been omnichannel. Or what is the same: sell through all channels, traditional and non-traditional, physical and digital.

Something that has removed the “fear” of retail is that physical sales, far from disappearing, are increasing because consumers like to have a more personalized and unique shopping experience. That is perfectly compatible with the total boom in online sales.

Everything indicates that the metaverse has come to be the definitive union and solution between e-commerce, digital and physical experience. The feeling of “presence”, of being able to interact with other people, products, avatars, objects, etc. shortens the experience to limits unsuspected years ago. Added to this is the capacity for co-creation, for collaboration between digital worlds in the sector.

But let’s look at it in practical terms. The metaverse is fully entering retail. For example, the alliance between Meta and Carrefour is official and will be effective in all the markets in which the group operates.

The data supports this sudden progress. According to a study by Morgan Stanley, the metaverse will account for 10% of luxury sales in the coming years. For this reason, marketing will also have to break with all the schemes, reinvent itself and reinsert itself in this new world of virtual advertising. The role of retail in this reality is decisive.

One of the most important changes is that of human-commercial relationships and personalized experiences. Now, with the metaverse, users will be able to be served virtually by an avatar that understands and adjusts to their needs, and satisfy them immediately.

That is to say: there is little doubt that the metaverse is the next retail revolution.

 

 

 

The definitive fusion between physical and digital retail

The main trend in the retail sector, from time to time, has been omnichannel. Or what is the same: sell through all channels, traditional and non-traditional, physical and digital.

Something that has removed the “fear” of retail is that physical sales, far from disappearing, are increasing because consumers like to have a more personalized and unique shopping experience. That is perfectly compatible with the total boom in online sales.

Everything indicates that the metaverse has come to be the definitive union and solution between e-commerce, digital and physical experience. The feeling of “presence”, of being able to interact with other people, products, avatars, objects, etc. shortens the experience to limits unsuspected years ago. Added to this is the capacity for co-creation, for collaboration between digital worlds in the sector.

But let’s look at it in practical terms. The metaverse is fully entering retail. For example, the alliance between Meta and Carrefour is official and will be effective in all the markets in which the group operates.

The data supports this sudden progress. According to a study by Morgan Stanley, the metaverse will account for 10% of luxury sales in the coming years. For this reason, marketing will also have to break with all the schemes, reinvent itself and reinsert itself in this new world of virtual advertising. The role of retail in this reality is decisive.

One of the most important changes is that of human-commercial relationships and personalized experiences. Now, with the metaverse, users will be able to be served virtually by an avatar that understands and adjusts to their needs, and satisfy them immediately.

 

That is to say: there is little doubt that the metaverse is the next retail revolution.

 

 

 

 

The metaverse, future of the big brands… and not so big

The biggest catalyst for the digital transformation of companies has been the pandemic. And in recent months, if something has stood out in the digital and technological sector, it is the concept of the metaverse, especially as we said since the transformation of Facebook into Meta.

Although entertainment and video games are the fastest growing sectors to enter this world, fashion and retail are also standing out. Up to what point? To the point that there are digital garments, which can only be enjoyed virtually, that already exceed their physical equivalents in value. It is undoubtedly a historic revolution whose impact is still unknown.

Nike, in just 5 minutes, sold virtual shoes worth more than 3.5 million euros. This is causing the most important retailers to create virtual-only stores, something that will be the most common before 2025.

For all these reasons, it is expected that 70% of the big brands will have a presence in the metaverse in the next five years, according to a study carried out by Business Reporter.

Generation Z and millennials have set their sights on a virtual market that is going to touch many areas of our lives, such as the cloning of physical offices, where, for example, we can have meetings and work. It is the “hybridization” of our reality. In this way, it is expected that more than 50% of daily activities in 2025 will be carried out in the metaverse.

 

 

 

H&M’s ‘feint’ as a symptom and warning

In early 2022, it became known that H&M would open a store in the Ceek City metaverse. This was known just after the firm held an event to publicize its new H&M Innovation Circular Design Story collection, in which attendees were able to create their digital double and enjoy an amazing virtual parade with their avatars as protagonists.

What does this mean? That the famous fashion chain fully entered the metaverse with its first store in this virtual world. An establishment from which to offer a complete shopping experience similar to the one it currently offers from any other of its physical points of sale, and which could be accessed from the musical metaverse of “Ceek City”. A metaverse with which other large companies such as Universal Music Group, Apple or the German T Mobile already collaborate.

It is about recreating one of those flagship stores down to the smallest detail, including promotional posters with images of international models and different promotional messages. In it, the virtual avatars of the users will be able to move through its corridors as if it were any physical store to use. The collections will be of digital garments to be acquired through tokens such as NFT assets. That is to say: beginning to definitively break down the barriers that still separate the realities of the physical and the virtual.

However, this news is only half true, since to this day it has not come true within its Ceek City metaverse. It is only part of a virtual reality concept store, however, they are already working with the Swedish company to materialize this virtual environment in the very near future.

There are other brands, such as Gucci, Adidas Originals, Balenciaga or Ralph Lauren, that have definitely jumped on the bandwagon of offering digital clothing in the metaverse.

 

 

 

The boom of cryptocurrencies and NFTs

What makes the world of the metaverse possible? Cryptocurrencies, their underlying technology – the blockchain – and another technology that is reaching a new dimension with each passing day: NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens).

Without neglecting 3D, virtual reality and augmented reality, web 3.0 is the great objective of companies. It is the future but it is already the present. The purpose is to achieve the sensation of living in the digital, an experience as similar as possible to that of the physical world. That the visual realism and the interaction with the virtual world are capitalized.

This is where non-fungible tokens (NTFs) come into play, which are revolutionizing the retail sector. These are authentic, original, exclusive, unique and unreproducible digital files encrypted in the blockchain, so they can be resold or transferred virtually.

 

These digital assets or unique and non-exchangeable tokens, which we can associate with ‘assets’ or digital products, are going to mean that during 2022 the investment by companies in the metaverse will multiply by 10. Thus, it is estimated that the metaverse will be a market of 800,000 million dollars in 2024.

 

 

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