In our Metaverse Almanac 2023, we look at what the metaverse is, how it works, who is building it, and how consumers, retailers and brands are using it today. We examine the concerns many have with privacy and addiction and also consider how retailers may use the metaverse in the years ahead.
A recent study in the US found that 66% of 1,000 business leaders questioned said that they and their companies were ‘actively engaged’ in the metaverse in some form or other. However, that level of engagement is varied, ranging from researching ideas to testing use cases, to running proofs of concept, right up to, in a small proportion, generating revenues. Interestingly, 80% of them see the metaverse as being an active part of their businesses within three years.
Five key metaverse business models currently in play, or considered to be viable in the near future, include:
- Advertising – Metaverse advertising works much like traditional online advertising: advertisers pay money to be seen on a platform or in the metaverse.
- NFTs – Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are unique, blockchain-verified virtual goods that are usually limited in number and exists purely in the metaverse.
- Digital land real estate – The virtual world needs virtual land for businesses to build on and selling that land, and selling, reselling and leasing space, especially in Second Life and similar games, is starting to generate revenues (and costs) in the metaverse.
- Avatar customisation – Avatars, virtual renditions of users in the metaverse, are one of the aspects of this new world that many are growing familiar with.
- Virtual goods – The sale of virtual goods has been pioneered in the gaming sector, with games selling weapons, power and even points for many years. This has readily transferred to the metaverse, with characters, clothing and more offerings being added.
Retail is one of the first non-gaming sectors to see the potential of the metaverse. While the sector has always been quick to embrace internet technologies, the metaverse potentially adds a whole new dimension to what has gone before for brands. The internet has taken a large slice of retail activity, but it is flat. Retailers have been quick to see that, ultimately, the metaverse can create an immersive, 3D simulacrum of real-world shopping online.
In the report we discuss Metaverse retail ‘events’. The report reveals that of these retailers and brands that have been operating in the metaverse, 34% have offered up one event, so far, 38% two and 28% three or more . Of these, most offerings are temporary, with a quarter (24%) lasting less than a week, most (41%) lasting between a week and a month, while 29% last between a month and a year. Just 6% have any degree of permanency, lasting more than a year.
Log in to access the report to read case studies on Metaverse activations from brands including Gucci, Nike, Adidas, Alibaba/Tmall, Warner Music Group and Samsung.
The report concludes that the current economic downturn is already being marked out as one where technology – specifically AI and better customer experience – is the one thing that can deliver the efficiency gains and competitive edge that fiercely competitive times demand. The move to a metaverse experience of retail is just part of that.