To many consumers, the metaverse seems like a far-off fantasy. To many brands, however, it’s already here. Companies that anticipated dramatic transformation sparked by the metaverse are investing in this virtual world today and building it out as rapidly as possible. By leveraging the technology of the metaverse, businesses can extend their brick-and-mortar presence into three-dimensional virtual spaces that maintain brands’ look and feel while leveraging the unique characteristics and advantages of an online environment—especially the complete freedom from physical boundaries. The metaverse allows customers to engage with immersive retail experiences while moving seamlessly between virtual and physical environments, contributing to retailers’ omnichannel approach.
In one sign of the retail evolution now in progress, business investment in the metaverse has more than doubled since 2021, according to a new McKinsey report, and soared above $120 billion in the first few months of 2022. According to McKinsey senior partner Eric Hazan, “Consumers are open to adopting new technologies; companies are investing heavily in the development of metaverse infrastructure; and brands experimenting in the metaverse are getting positive feedback from consumers.” Report co-author and senior partner Lareina Yee describes the metaverse as “the next platform on which we can work, live, connect and collaborate. It’s going to be an immersive virtual environment that connects different worlds and communities.”