In 2022, the metaverse is gaining more popularity than ever before. More and more users are joining virtual worlds, thus creating an opportunity for businesses to connect with their users virtually. With Facebook’s announcement in December, Mark Zuckerberg called the metaverse “the social media of the future”. These metaverses are creating immersive platforms where users can interact, explore, shop and much more! Therefore numerous brands are capitalizing on this opportunity to create their own virtual presence with the metaverse. Each brand is opting for its own entry strategy, intending to create both virtual and physical assets that its customers can utilize.
Metaverse and Brands – How Are They Connected?
The metaverse is gearing up to revolutionize the way users shop and interact with their favorite brands. The metaverse requires users to create avatars to move through the virtual world and with the current avatar customization options, users can easily set their avatars up to look exactly like themselves.
Imagine users stepping into a virtual world and going to a mall to explore what their favorite metaverse brands have to offer. Users can try on products from the brands to see how they would look by equipping them with their avatar and can make selections for real-life purchases within the virtual space. This is what most metaverses brands are trying to achieve.
Not only this, many metaverse brands such as Nike are building their metaverses where users can step in, play some games, explore the latest Nike collection, and make online purchases for real-life products and digital products as well.
A large demographic of shoppers, i.e. Generation Z are now moving past traditional shopping methods and are turning to the metaverse to socialize, play games, interact with friends and to browser metaverse brands to make purchases online.
Why Are Brands Getting Involved With The Metaverse?
To put it simply, brands are moving to the metaverse to connect with potential customers and to prepare for the future. The concept of Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) offers limitless potential to brands to offer exclusives to their target audience.
Here are some of the reasons why brands are looking to shift to the metaverse:
- To Offer A Customized Shopping Experience: As the world moves toward convenience-based online shopping, metaverse brands are looking for a way to offer customers an incredible user experience. When users step into the metaverse using VR, brands are looking to provide a realistic shopping experience. AR combined with VR allows customers to use their avatars to try on products such as clothes to see if they like how they look before making a purchase.
- Global Reach: Since the metaverse is accessible worldwide, metaverse brands can expand globally by stepping into the metaverse and offering their products virtually. These brands also have the opportunity to create their metaverses, similar to Nikeland. The Metaverse Brands can also consider purchasing land in the metaverse and creating their own malls or stores.
- Seamless Employee Interactions: With tech companies such as Meta looking to help businesses seamlessly transition remote workspaces to the virtual world, the concept of metaverse brands operating virtually seems more realistic than ever before!
- Digital Asset Creation: With brands such as Adidas launching their limited edition NFTs, brands have an excellent opportunity to create replicas of their real-life items for the virtual world. This creates an entirely new revenue stream for businesses! Imagine creating a limited edition clothing line just for virtual avatars! That is exactly where most of the millennials and generation Z individuals will be found in the next few years, thus making a virtual presence now is an excellent strategy for brands.
- Innovative Marketing: The metaverse also offers opportunities for innovative marketing strategies. Brands can buy land parcels as advertising space on platforms so that they can act as a billboard for their products or services. By leveraging partnerships with NFT brands such as Adidas’s partnership with the Bored Ape Yacht Club, brands can experiment with different types of collaborations to get across to their customers.
How Do Brands Sell Products in the Metaverse?
Wondering how your brand can start selling products in the metaverse? Here are some things you need to consider before you start selling:
Create Your Target Customer’s Metaverse Persona
The first thing metaverse brands should do is step into the mindset of their customers. Which platform are most of their customers planning on using, what they are looking for on these platforms, what sort of products would appeal to the target audience with respect to their age etc?
Keep A Close Eye On Competitor Strategies
Since the metaverse has become extremely popular, it is very important for metaverse brands to keep a close eye on competitor strategies. As mentioned before, planning your entry strategy is extremely important. However, if your competitor has already cemented a place on a certain metaverse platform, perhaps it’s best to explore a more competitive option.
Plan Your Entry
Decide on what platform you’d like to utilize, whether you’d like to create your NFT collection and even if you’d like to consider setting up your metaverse. For example, Paris Hilton announced that she will be setting up “Paris World” in Roblox. Remember, it is important to conduct extensive research before you make these decisions. Metaverse brands can also host events for users to attend and interact with the product line.
After completing the steps above, brands can sell products in this way:
- Create Replicas of Real Life Products: Brands can recreate their physical designs for the virtual world where users can purchase products and have their avatars wear them. For example, users can wear their favorite Nike shoes when walking around the metaverse!
- Releasing ‘Limited Edition’ NFTs: NFTs provide a sense of ownership to users and making them limited edition is a great way to increase sales! Adidas has been exploring different collaborations to launch NFTs for their customers. For example, they partnered with Bored Ape Yacht Club to release a line of limited edition NFTs, which were sold almost instantly. In January 2022, Adidas partnered with Prada to announce another NFT project!
- Open Virtual Stores: By connecting with customers in the digital realm, brands can ensure their products are in front of customers where they’re going to be spending the most amount of time. With AR allowing users to try out products virtually to purchase them in real life, brands can utilize virtual stores to increase engagement and maximize sales.
- Create Items Specifically For Avatars: Metaverse Brands can explore releasing a product line that is specifically designed for Avatars. These designs can be exclusive to the virtual world. Metaverse Brands can also use the metaverse to test out products before launching them in physical stores worldwide.
- Host Virtual Events: Metaverse Brands can host virtual events such as fashion shows and concerts to create engaging experiences for their potential customers while also marketing their product line. Metaverse Brands such as Dolce & Gabbana also participated in virtual fashion shows such as the metaverse fashion week hosted on Decentraland on May 24th, 2022.
8 Brands Selling In the Metaverse
The metaverse is a relatively new concept, and brands are just starting to see the vast business potential that it offers. With brands opting for different strategies to be a part of this new digital revolution, the future of virtual reality commerce seems closer than ever before.
The list below outlines brands gearing up to sell in the metaverse. While some have already made huge waves within the metaverse space, there are many in their development stages.
1. Benneton (Italian Fashion Brand)
Benneton is an extremely popular Italian fashion brand, which announced the opening of its virtual store in the Metaverse during the Milan Fashion Week. The CEO, Massimo Renon emphasized their commitment to changing the entire virtual shopping experience. Instead of opting for simply opening a virtual store, Benneton decided to create a space for users to experience games and engage with the environment. By participating in the gaming experience, QR codes are provided as rewards to individuals which can be utilized to make purchases in real-life stores. This ‘omnichannel’ strategy enables them to create an additional marketing space to interact with their customers.
Gucci decided to select Roblox as its metaverse platform to cement its position in the metaverse. In 2021, Gucci launched ‘Gucci Garden’ which was an extremely interesting concept where users entered the garden as ‘neutral’ avatars and began absorbing designs by interacting with the environments around them. At the end of their journey, avatars would emerge in one-of-a-kind designs (since each user had a different environment experience). The users then had the option to purchase the outfit for their avatars if they’d like.
This was one of the first experiments that Gucci tried out on the virtual platform, which was extremely well received by their customers. Now, Gucci has announced their efforts towards building a permanent location in Roblox called ‘Gucci Town’, thus demonstrating their commitment to embracing the metaverse.
The metaverse brand aims to converge digital and real-world shopping experiences to allow users to purchase digital assets for their avatars. Several interactive game-based surroundings allow users to express themselves freely.
Zara has also decided to venture into the virtual world space by leveraging its collaboration with Zepeto. The project entails the utilization of avatars to allow them to be customized within the app. Zara has created a virtual clothing line alongside makeup accessories which users can test out on their avatars.
The metaverse brand’s distinctive yellow, black, navy blue and bright orange colors are prominent within their digital worlds. They’ve also replicated copies of real-life models within the metaverse. The ‘Lime Glam’ collection is not only limited to the digital realm, the products were also built to be purchased for the real-life world.
Lois Vuitton adopted a very unique approach toward stepping into the metaverse. In August 2021, the metaverse brand launched ‘Louis: The Game’. This interactive game involves using an ‘avatar’ called Vivienne to navigate and explore to find limited edition NFTs.
This project was launched in commemoration of its 200-year-old anniversary and the game has amassed over 2 million downloads. Each NFT opens a new ‘storyline’, where you can collect up to 30 NFTs. There are some extremely rare NFTs as well including ones from famous NFT artist Beeple. The game is expected to be online till August 4th, 2022.
Nike has been very quietly making acquisitions to further enhance its transition into the metaverse. The metaverse brand purchased RTKFT Studios, to help build their range of NFT sportswear. This collaboration has been very lucrative where their CryptoKicks NFTs have managed to sell out instantly! The brand has selected the platform Roblox to build its metaverse called Nikeland, where its users can play interactive games, view virtual Nike products for avatars and can also make real-life purchases from within the game! The game incorporates the essence of Nike values where the metaverse brand promotes healthy competition through a set of challenges.
Both sportswear metaverse brands Adidas and Nike have been mentioned several times within this article. This is because they’ve adopted a very interesting approach to their virtual transition. Adidas chose to partner with well-renowned names in the NFT space such as the Bored Ape Yacht Club, Gmoney and more to release their NFT line. 30,000 Adidas Original’s NFTs sold out almost instantly, for over 22 million dollars. The metaverse brand also launched another collaboration with Prada in January 2022.
This metaverse brand is offering services to other businesses to help set up their stores within the metaverse. The brand has already assisted major businesses such as Mary Kay, Coach and Dermalogica. The brand offers services to set up stores within Fortnite, the brand’s website, and Roblox and can also set up the brand’s store to be compatible with the popular VR headset platform Occulus.
Disney Land in real life offers customers incredible experiences within their theme park. Since December 2021, the Disney team has started filing patents for virtual simulators that can assist in creating a virtual version of their theme park in the 3D digital space. Disney’s CEO confirmed that there is a long way to go before they’re able to fully connect the digital world and the physical world. Imagine utilizing your VR device to step into the virtual world and take your favorite theme park rides from the comfort of your own home!
Key Benefits for Brands
The metaverse offers numerous opportunities for brands and individuals to earn, and the movement of key brands such as the ones mentioned above to the metaverse signifies their understanding of the potential it offers. With the recent advancements with VR and sensors, such as Facebook developing sensor-based skin, the virtual world is set to be more immersive than ever before.
Here are some of the primary benefits that Metaverse Brands can get by being part of this technological revolution:
- More Immersive Shopping Experiences: Metaverse Brands can offer a much more immersive shopping experience to their customers by allowing them to step into ‘virtual stores’ from the comfort of their own homes. For example, by allowing users to see and test products in a virtual setting, metaverse brands can boost both virtual and real-world sales.
- Additional Revenue Streams: By creating virtual offerings for their customers, metaverse brands get access to a whole new revenue stream which they can utilize to cover costs for their transition into the metaverse! Since the metaverse is still evolving, there are various other ways brands can generate additional streams of income.
- Better Branding and Marketing: Metaverse Brands have an opportunity to host events to build more rapport with their customers. Marketing in the metaverse is also a huge benefit as metaverse brands have the freedom of exploring new ways to market within this vast space without much competition.
- Creating Their Marketplace: If metaverse brands decide to create their metaverse, they have the opportunity of promoting in-game sales, and providing rewards to its customers such as discounts and much more!
Metaverse Brands are now adopting several innovating strategies to step into the virtual realm. Since the metaverse is rapidly evolving, there is no right or wrong strategy for brands to enter. Before choosing a strategy to enter, metaverse brands need to analyze and research what their customers are looking for. Things such as the choice of metaverse platform, and the choice to develop their metaverse or to release an NFT collection have to be considered very carefully as each step could cost brands a lot of money if it doesn’t turn out to be successful.
However, the advantages far outweigh the risk, as businesses need to keep innovating to stay relevant to their target audience. Millennials and Generation Z make up a large part of the metaverse audience, thus reinforcing the concept of it being ‘the social media of the future’. If they miss out on this potential opportunity to scale right now, they might find it difficult to create a space for themselves if major brands have already settled into the metaverse.