»What happens when you combine the slick sales-driving UX of Amazon with the immersive, creative genius of Nike & Gucci? Online retail gets turbocharged, thanks to the metaverse.«
Online retail today is much like offline retail in the 80s and 90s: it’s a transactional experience that stands in stark contrast to the creative wonderland of modern high-end retail, at its best.
From Louis Vuitton’s seven-story Ginza Namiki tower to the Gucci Garden in Florence, or NikeTown on Oxford Street, these are environments that indulge the senses to make the retail experience feel fun, immersive, and luxurious – which is why many people go lifestyle shopping in the first place.
The status quo of online retail will soon look outdated.
Technologies used across graphics processing, user interfaces, high framerate displays, network speeds, and internet accessibility have all developed to the point where a threshold has been passed: premium brands are finally able to present themselves online, in virtual retail spaces that are on par with the experiential calibre of their physical, flagship retail spaces.
This is why the metaverse is such a natural fit for fashion and luxury brands, which have always been driven by storytelling and the experience as much as the product. Today, once someone is inside a virtual store, almost anything you can imagine offline becomes possible online – from trying on clothes and shopping with friends, to hosting a concert or getting a guided (highly Instagrammable) tour from an influencer.
First Movers need adequate spaces to create trends.
The metaverse is a new and limitless playing field.
Fashion, for example, has always been an early adopter of technology because the industry has always sought to create new cultural trends. Yet it will become apparent that the current, web 2.0 online retail experience has only been able to communicate a fraction of high-end brands‘ emotional and narrative-driven value.
First Movers have shown significant revenue and marketing potentials arising in the Metaverse.
The metaverse becomes accessible for everyone and allows for in-experience web integration of standard CRM and eCommerce systems.
So much of the discussion around the metaverse has been related to NFTs and AR glasses or VR headsets. While new, affordable hardware that enables even more seamless, immersive experiences are relevant… to focus on this is to miss the bigger story because the mature metaverse will be device agnostic and integrate, rather than totally displace, current e-commerce infrastructure.
When understood as »a parallel virtual plane of existence that spans all digital technologies« writes Mathew Ball from Time Magazine, we can see that it‘s not about a specific display type, but an engaging 3D experience that you can choose to access through the cloud, however and wherever you like – whether that‘s from your smartphone and car, or your desktop and headset. It’s this accessibility as a global platform that means the traditional e-commerce experience will still be available for consumers to choose if they prefer, and the metaverse will instead build on the existing digital ecosystem to offer an alternative, more experiential online retail option.
Luxury brands are choosing the metaverse for virtual presences and are doubling down on marketing spend to drive virtual footfall. They must be on to something.
So the slick digital sales-driving UX expertise and tech infrastructure of say, Amazon, can now be combined the immersive, creative genius of brands like Balenciaga, and turbocharged by retailers digital marketing skills to drive virtual foot traffic directly their metaverse stores.
This means there will be two metaverse innovation streams: one focused on shifting the digital economy by diverting an increasing amount of current retail traffic into more immersive 3D environments, where brands that only offer a web 2.0 option will see declining revenue. Then we have the other, less predictable impact of brands expanding the total addressable market by creating entirely new products, services, and experiences, which will grow global retail sector revenue rather than absorbing current consumer online spending.
The metaverse is not a gimmick or a fad.
It is a sustainable idea of how consumers interact with brands understanding their needs and desires.
HM BGYO Experience resulted in
an unseen 98% Net Promoter Score with 13+ Minutes Brand Engagement Time, and a 122% conversion increase.
As we touched on in a previous article, to understand how this will all change consumer behaviour longer term, we have to see the world through the eyes of younger generations today – and many of them feel most like their true selves, when online. When viewed empathetically and positively, this is the realisation of a beautiful idea: to no longer feel limited by physical experience and instead be able to express ourselves digitally however, and as whoever, we can imagine.
Phasing shopping experiences into the virtual space has a wonderful side effect – a great reduction of energy, travel, carbon footprint and time saving.
What this means for fashion and other physical goods, is that people will want to allocate more of their personal resources to their digital self. Rather than the common mistaken association with crypto, the metaverse could make retail, e-commerce, and fashion more sustainable because people are buying more digital goods and fewer physical goods, which reduces all kinds of travel, energy, and materials consumption.
Plus, being able to experience and try on clothes properly in a virtual or mixed reality environment at home before buying could also reduce the number of purchases being returned, which is a significant driver of fashion’s carbon footprint and clothing waste.
So should your business jump at the opportunity at any cost and in any shape?
Absolutely not – Expert advice in how to harmonise strategic fit with your brand vision and the end product is key to be a step ahead.
The Metaverse is a $5T opportunity, with automotive taking a stake of $17Bln (McKinsey)
With world-leading financial organisations including Goldman Sachs calling the metaverse an »8 trillion-dollar opportunity«, as well as the current levels of investment and momentum, it’s easy to see why there’s a sense of urgency from brands to get involved. But businesses must tread carefully and think before they leap. Especially high-end brands for whom the quality of the retail experience is so essential. Any metaverse project must fit with the larger brand strategy, brand values and customer base, which takes proper planning, reliable, accessible technology, and excellent execution. For brands who get it right, there are huge opportunities and massive potential to disrupt their industries as we know it today – and we can’t wait to see what happens next.
We are the world’s leading custom metaverse builder for premium fashion and luxury brands
If this feels like a chance to put a dent in the metaverse; one that’s too exciting to miss out on, we believe Journee can help. We’ve been the world’s leading custom metaverse builder for premium fashion and luxury brands for more than two years now, so if you‘re seeking to develop a new strategy that could transform your e-commerce experience, please do reach out. And if you want to know more about past projects and are keen to take a virtual tour, our doors are open anytime.