8 Retail Experiences in the Metaverse

Sid Bhattacharya
4 min readJan 3, 2023
8 Retail Experiences in the Metaverse

The metaverse is still in its early stages but rapidly evolving and expanding. It offers a wealth of opportunities for retailers to engage with customers in new and innovative ways.

See my previous blog on the “5 ways the metaverse will revolutionize the future of work”.

Gartner reports that 25% of people will spend an hour per day in the metaverse by 2026 for work, shopping, education, entertainment, and social.

As VR and AR technology continues to improve, we expect to see more widespread adoption and use of these technologies in the metaverse. We can also expect the development of new devices and platforms, such as smart glasses and headsets, that will make it easier and more convenient for users to access the metaverse.

Several metaverse platforms are accessible through mobile apps and desktop browsers without special headsets.

In addition, new technologies such as haptic feedback and multi-sensory experience will further enhance the immersive nature of the metaverse.

Here are eight possible experiences in the metaverse for the retail industry:

- Virtual try-on: Virtually try on clothes, shoes, and accessories, helping them to make more informed purchase decisions.

- Store tours and selling: Provide virtual tours of the retailer’s stores, browsing products and getting a feel for the store’s layout and atmosphere. In addition, users can also purchase physical products via digital copies in the metaverse space making for an exciting and immersive shopping experience.

- Virtual product demonstrations: Attend virtual product demonstrations using VR technology to see and interact with products in a more immersive and interactive way.

- Metaverse Events and workshops: Host virtual events and seminars, such as cooking classes or DIY demonstrations, using VR technology to participate and engage with the experience fully.

- Loyalty programs: Participate in virtual reality loyalty programs, earning rewards and incentives for shopping at the retailer.

- AI assistant/customer service: Access AI assistant avatars/virtual reality customer service, using VR technology to interact with customer service representatives in a more personal and engaging way.

- Personalized recommendations: Receive customized product recommendations based on their virtual reality shopping experiences, helping them to discover new products and brands.

- Game-based promotions: Create game-based promotions where customers can earn rewards for completing tasks or challenges in a virtual environment.

What are companies doing in this space?

Balenciaga — Launched a virtual store in Fortnite and provided skins and accessories for avatars.

Nike — With the launch of Nikeland on Roblox, Nike created a virtual world inside the Roblox metaverse and saw over 7 million visitors. Nike also created the soccerverse where fans can experiement with football(soccer) in the metaverse.

Gucci — Launched an NFT digital bag as a part of a Gucci garden experience, that sold for ~$4K when the physical bag retailed at $3.5K.

Nike also acquired RTFKT in 2021 as a part of its acquisition strategy to capitalize on the metaverse.

75% of Gen Z shoppers have purchased a digital item within a videogame and that 60% of these young shoppers think that brands should sell their products on metaverse platforms.

Looking at the biggest funding rounds for 2022, Epic Games got over $1B(developer of Fortnite) investment from Sony and KIRBI as the gaming company advance’s its company’s vision to build the metaverse. Epic Games also has partnered with LEGO to develop a family-friendly metaverse for kids.

There are also potential drawbacks to the metaverse that need consideration. Some people may feel uncomfortable using VR technology or struggle with transitioning to a virtual workplace, which could be overwhelming and disorienting. It is essential for businesses to be sensitive to these concerns and to provide support and training to help users adapt to the changes.

Overall, the metaverse has the potential to revolutionize the way we work and collaborate. Still, it is essential for businesses and individuals to carefully consider the potential challenges and find ways to mitigate them. By being proactive and embracing technology, we can fully realize the benefits of the metaverse and create a more productive and positive work experience for all.

What other use cases do you think would work to provide an immersive retail experience?

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Sid Bhattacharya

Global VP @sap @successfactors, passionate technologist. I write about ai, web3, analytics, hr, sap, apps and startups .