Is retail ready to enter the metaverse?
On Wednesday, a new Fox series, “Alter Ego,” debuted that gives singers an opportunity to perform as an avatar they create in the latest example of a new concept and buzzword, the metaverse.
Another example came last month with Facebook’s beta test of Horizon Workrooms, which enables people using an Oculus Quest 2 headset to take on avatars and participate in virtual meetings from their keyboard.
“When you use Workrooms, it feels like you’re really there with people,” wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post. “You’ll notice conversations flow more naturally and you’ll pick up social cues that are missing on video — people turning to listen to each other, hand gestures and spatial audio to give everyone a sense of place in the room.”
“In the future,” he added, “working together will be one of the main ways people use the metaverse.”
Rooted in the gaming world, the metaverse refers to places where people exist in immersive, shared virtual spaces.
As it involves retail, Wunderman Thompson’s new “Into The Metaverse” report notes that discovery is typically happening in stores or on Instagram, but more advanced virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) approaches can bring “intuitive, immersive and engaging” discovery to brands’ websites and create experiences that extend well beyond physical retail’s four walls.
Christina Wooton, VP of brand partnerships at Roblox, told Dezeen. “For Gucci Garden, we opened up the ceiling of one room to show the sky. There are butterflies flying around and flowers growing on mannequins’ heads. You can’t do this in the real-life art exhibition.”
The metaverse still faces numerous unknowns, including the cost and comfort of VR-headsets, how disparate virtual realms will interact and privacy issues. Nonetheless, expect Facebook, Roblox, Epic Games and other tech giants to elevate the hype in the years ahead.
“The defining quality of the metaverse is presence, which is this feeling that you’re really there with another person or in another place,” Mr. Zuckerberg told analysts in July. “Creation, avatars, and digital objects are going to be central to how we express ourselves, and this is going to lead to entirely new experiences and economic opportunities.”
- Alter Ego – Fox
- We just launched Horizon Workrooms – Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook
- Facebook, Roblox See the ‘Metaverse’ as Key to the Internet’s Next Phase – The Wall Street Journal
- Wunderman Thompson Launches ‘Into The Metaverse’ – a Metaverse Road Map for Brands – Wunderman Thompson/PRNewswire
- New trend report: Into the Metaverse – Wunderman Thompson
- The Metaverse Will Radically Change Retail – Business Of Fashion
- The fashion exec’s guide to the metaverse – Vogue Business
- What the Metaverse is and why it matters to you – Yahoo Finance
- Augmented Reality Helping Build ‘Store of the Future’ – Pymnts
- Gucci hosts virtual exhibition in online game Roblox to mark centenary – Dezeen
- Big Tech Wants You to Live in a Virtual World. Prepare for Real Problems. – The Wall Street Journal
- Facebook, Inc. Second Quarter 2021 Results Conference Call – Facebook
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of the potential of the metaverse and what it might mean for retail? Do you see a slow or fairly quick opportunity for retailers to capitalize on the metaverse?