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4 ways brands can succeed in the metaverse
March 29, 2022
As the metaverse continues to mature, brands need to shape the way that they show up in this new virtual reality. They need to push the boundaries of creative freedom while staying true to brand purpose and their core audiences.
The metaverse represents a huge opportunity for marketers to reimagine and redesign how brands interact and engage with their audiences. Many brands are already preparing for life in the virtual world, with Nike filing patents for digital goods, such as their digital sneakers or ‘cryptokicks’ to be sold as NFTs and Gucci creating an immersive experience, Gucci Garden, to appeal to a new generation of luxury shoppers.
While the opportunities appear limitless, many retail brands are struggling to connect the dots between the theoretical and practical applications of the metaverse for their brand. So, what can brands do to ensure that their metamoment is more than just fleeting?
Define and design your metaverse strategy
The retail industry is changing and the metaverse is an opportunity to better serve consumer needs in the digital space. Your metaverse strategy needs to identify how and what digital interactions can solve your consumers ongoing painpoints. The metaverse provides creative freedom and accessibility like we’ve never seen before, providing great opportunity for brands to scale at speed.
Forward-thinking brands need to build a strategy with potential new revenue channels in mind - think immersive virtual stores, proof of attendance tokens, direct-to-avatar commerce and NFT loyalty programmes. For example, beauty brand Charlotte Tilbury’s virtual storefront incorporates virtual consultations, a social shopping function and the opportunity to win gifts and prizes, while fashion brand Ralph Lauren has released an exclusive capsule collection in partnership with 3D avatar simulation and social networking app Zepeto.
Build your metaforce
Brands need to hire people who will help them reach their metaverse ambitions fast. You need experience architects who can leverage digital, gaming, VR, 3D modelling, CGI content and video editing skills to orchestrate brand experiences that create relationships and build lasting communities. Every interaction matters and brands need to ensure that their teams are upskilled and sufficiently proficient in curating meaningful experiences for meta-success.
Value beyond transaction
How we define brand value is changing. Long gone are the days where product alone was king, today it’s all about the experience. How, where, and why you buy has never mattered more, with PwC reporting that 73% of customers highlight experience an important factor in their purchase decisions.
The payoff is tangible, with the same report indicating that shoppers are willing to pay an average 16% price premium for great experience. The metaverse is taking immersive experiences mainstream, with the convergence of 3D, AR and VR creating accessible and affordable experiences for all.
Brands that invest in harmonizing customer experience across channels will be able to grow brand loyalty early among a valuable, highly engaged audience, while setting themselves up for long-term success once the metaverse reaches a stage of mass adoption. Beauty brand Clinique has set themselves apart, taking advantage of the curiosity around NFTs and the metaverse to launch a tokenized loyalty program rewarding long-term brand fans with a special edition NFT as well as a supply of their products.
Bridging physical and digital
Virtual experiences are here to stay, and we are seeing more brands blur the lines between their physical and digital offerings. While interest in the metaverse continues to grow, foot traffic to the in-store retail environment is also on the rise as pandemic restrictions fade and shoppers feel more comfortable returning to stores. Brands can bridge the gap by combining physical and digital to create truly seamless ‘phygital’ experiences, digitalizing their stores to provide truly seamless retail experiences for customers who now demand greater choice and personalization at a minimum.
Brands can turn to US retail giant Walmart for inspiration. Despite the fact that 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store, the brand continues to invest in it’s digital experiences including building an app-based e-commerce store, offering livestream shopping events and partnering with virtual clothing try-on startup Zeekit to offer consumers new ways to shop.
The metaverse may be what everyone is talking about, but for a brand to truly own their metamoment they must create experiential value that far transcends brand and product, while staying true to their purpose. Brands who can get their metamoment right open themselves up to long-term success and a unique opportunity to reposition and refresh their brand in an emerging channel.