The advent of the Metaverse is bringing to life a potential $8 trillion new frontier influencing omni-channel retail. And players already engaging in the Metaverse are all intentionally enriching the customer experience, which for many people is blurring the boundary between their physical and virtual worlds.
The Metaverse is not a technology but a new way of interacting immersively with technology. People are craving real life interactions as they deal with Zoom fatigue after two years of the pandemic – and the Metaverse plays right into this need. Pandemic ‘techceleration’ and adoption of everything from cloud computing, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and computer-aided holography to blockchain, cryptocurrency and social e-commerce means considering the future role of the Metaverse in retail is important to help build deeper and more personalised customer relationships, and in turn, loyalty.
Omni-channel combines physical and digital shopping experiences and the Metaverse blends both virtually offering endless possibilities for social and hyper personalised consumer engagement. Already one-quarter of Australians are now shopping directly on social media platforms, rising to one in three for those aged 40 and under. In the Metaverse, people can shop in this web 3.0 environment via their avatars (virtual identities) paying through digital currencies (cryptocurrency and NFTs) and having their goods delivered in real life. They’ll engage with brands in their virtual shopfronts that have been bought and built through virtual commercial property and construction transactions. But remember, omni-channel can only thrive if the logistics and supply chain continue to evolve rapidly to support it – and this includes in the Metaverse.
So, what can you gain by an eventual Metaverse plan in your omni-channel strategy?
To start with, a lot of data insights to inform the customer experience. The opt-out of tracking apps and impending demise of third-party digital cookies requires retailers and brands to place more emphasis on first-party data. Your data – and knowing how to effectively use it – is more valuable than ever before. And the Metaverse is filled with it. Imagine the intimate customer insights revealed from real time facial expressions and vocal inflections alone.
Australians are increasingly nuanced in shopping habits — and that’s the whole point of providing omni-channel retail. This is where the Metaverse can come into its own as part of a future-focussed omni-channel strategy. It’s all about being ‘the retailer for me’ in the worlds that I choose to play in. The Metaverse provides retailers the opportunity to scale, adapt and personalise bespoke shopping experiences, trial new innovations, provide loyalty exclusives without logistical restrictions, and importantly, foster and empower more diversity and inclusivity practices.
Our latest 2022 FMCG Outlook Report overwhelmingly revealed that Australian shoppers are asking their retailers and brands to ‘make my world convenient to me’. And the Metaverse will make convenience and experience collide in a whole new way. In the Metaverse, the product is now the experience, and that experience provides new sales and upsell opportunities. There will be many Metaverse platforms to play in, but already gamification tools like AR and VR are taking enthusiastic explorers well into Metaverse experiences. And there will be a lot to watch and learn about the risks and the rewards from the big brands already there.
Find out more about digital trends in eRetail in our latest on-demand webinar. Watch it here.