What opportunities and changes does metaverse offer retailers?
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift to digital consumption, which changed customer experiences and expectations. At the same time, it enhanced the need for human interaction and a sense of community.
Shopping malls are already centres for these connections: hubs for culture, leisure, and wellness, as well as for physical shopping. And this role is set to strengthen as retailers evolve to seamlessly carry online experiences into physical spaces and vice versa, a fusion of both worlds to become “phygital”. It’s a mouthful to say, but very real and coming to your neighbourhood quite soon.
To thrive, phygital retailers must innovate and offer their customers the best of the digital and the best of the physical, as well as opportunities to move easily between the two.
Focusing on seamless integration
This marks a shift in our own expectations as well as those of our customers. There is no longer a bifurcation between the physical and the digital; it’s becoming clearer that a hybrid or omnichannel approach is what customers want and expect.
Digitalisation is opening up new revenue streams. Rather than focusing on ones that already exist, it is creating myriad opportunities to connect with customers and drive sales beyond the in-store visit.
To tap into this, retailers need to get used to meeting their customers wherever they are, and that includes the metaverse. Around $54 billion was spent on additional in-game content in 2020, according to JP Morgan, a figure that’s only set to grow. And it’s not just for kids: a digital version of Gucci’s Dionysus Bag created for the Roblox marketplace sold for over $4,000 – more than the price of the real version.
Cohesive experiences to increase sales
Bridging the physical and the digital while creating a cohesive customer experience offers the key to success. The need for this seamless integration is underpinned by Google research showing multichannel and marketplace formats will drive 86% of sales growth across Europe and the US in the next five years.