You have likely heard it countless times by now — the metaverse is coming. Is the metaverse real though? Should we be paying attention to it? These are all valid questions every retailer, merchant and brand marketer are asking themselves right now.
Even though the metaverse is in its infancy, there are several early adopters on the brand and marketing side that have already jumped into the emerging digital world to help boost sales, awareness and engagement.
With the popularity of the metaverse quickly on the rise, there’s no better time than 2022 to act and benefit, especially with sales and revenue in mind.
Opportunity for Retailers to Create a Branded Virtual World
It is one thing for your brand to take part in a virtual world. It is another thing entirely to create a virtual world built around your brand. A growing number of marketers such as Louis Vuitton are heading down this path.
In celebration of Louis Vuitton’s 200th birthday, the brand created a mobile video game — Louis The Game — to better engage its audience. During the game, players travel through a magical world on their way to a birthday celebration. Along the way, they collect a variety of items that are used to unlock postcards.
The journey is meant to communicate Louis Vuitton’s message of creativity and craftsmanship. Successful players can collect 30 non-fungible tokens (NFTs), including 10 by the world-renowned digital artist Beeple.
With this approach, Louis Vuitton can target a new audience, Gen Z, that is more receptive to interactive experiences, such as those in the metaverse, as opposed to traditional marketing tactics.
Merchants can now Provide First-Hand Product Experiences
Brands that are on the cutting edge and make this move early on are the ones that will establish themselves as early winners in the metaverse goldrush.
Take Gucci for example — a long-time leader in the high-end luxury fashion industry that jumped in on the action in 2021 by making its products available for purchase on Roblox. The company, in collaboration with Roblox, rolled out its “Gucci Garden Experience” during a two-week period. By holding the event in the Roblox metaverse, the company was hoping to attract the attention of the Gen Z demographic. And that’s exactly what happened. One exclusive digital Gucci bag sold for 350,000 Robux, or approximately $4,115.
While it was only a two-week experiment, Gucci proved that diving headfirst into the metaverse could have a positive impact on its bottom line. Expect more of the same from this luxury retailer in 2022 and beyond.
Brands Looking Into the Future
Companies evolve. The products and services you can access today weren’t available to everyone before you. And the products and services of tomorrow aren’t yet available to the public.
For instance, Future Mobile City is a super-modern metropolis where players can experience future solutions such as hydrogen fuel-cell technology.
There’s no shortage of how brands can use the metaverse to boost sales, engage their audience and provide a more personalized experience than ever before.
With the metaverse picking up steam among brands and participants alike, expect plenty of developments as 2022 wears on. One day — probably not too long from now — we’ll look back and realize that the above examples laid the groundwork for many successful campaigns that followed.
How Big can the Metaverse be?
That is the billion or likely one day, trillion-dollar question every other company is racing toward answering.
For early adopters of the metaverse, it is hopefully the second coming of a new digital revolution that has not been seen since the early days of the internet’s dot-com boom. Granted there are a lot of entertainment factors tied into the metaverse that consumers love, what these companies are chasing ultimately at the end of the day is the enormous dollar figure that comes with it.
If you ask Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, who made a massive bet on the metaverse himself by renaming his social networking behemoth to Meta, that is exactly what he would want. He and Meta are not alone though in this ambitious journey. Google has been working on its own metaverse-related technology for years now and Apple has its own metaverse-related ambitions in the works as well.
While there is certainly a great deal of excitement around the metaverse, and rightfully so based off early traction and mega-investments to date, there are critics who are taking a more measured approach. For every moonshot idea like the metaverse, there are countless busts that take the tech industry by storm and die off just as quickly. Does Google’s glass experiment ring a bell?
The metaverse feels like a different beast though, thanks to having a head start in interest and fandom with various VR and AR projects that have taken off over the last decade.
Austin Rotter is a strategic PR and media relations strategist with over a decade of experience working with a number of clients ranging from Fortune 100 brands to hyper growth companies.