Metaverse and retail: a marriage of convenience

The metaverse synopses that retail players can benefit from are numerous. Provided you know how to effectively take advantage of these new virtual territories.

On 28 and 29 November 2022, more than 6,000 visitors met at Tech for Retail sales, the exhibition dedicated to technological and digital innovations for physical businesses and online sales. The opportunity to be interested in new ways of consumption and new areas to invest for brands such as virtual worlds and in particular metaverse. The metaverse synopses that retail players can benefit from are numerous. Provided you know how to effectively take advantage of these new virtual territories.

If the metaverse is still neglected by the general public, companies are seizing the topic with the ambition to improve their performance. Whether for simulation, training, collaboration, communication or enhanced customer experience to gain better insights, digital modeling of real-world processes is full of advantages.

The examples are many.

  • In the transport sector, virtualization in progress since 2020 from operator Deutsche Bahn’s 33,000 km of tracks and 5,700 stations is helping it strengthen the reliability and capacity of the rail network in order to automate traffic while reducing operation and maintenance costs.
  • In industry, Groupe Renault recently announced the “first industrial metaverse” to provide real-time oversight of production and supply chain data in order to achieve significant savings and drastically reduce delivery times for vehicles her.
  • From a collaboration perspective, the American real estate company eXp Realty has since 2018 replaced its physical premises with a metaverse in which its approximately 85,000 agents distributed around the world can meet at any time. The key: big savings on office rent.
  • The medical world is also starting to take advantage of virtual technologies, especially to help the patient understand their care in a global way. And who knows if, tomorrow, we won’t each benefit from one digital twin for personalized medicine?

With 3D environments, retailers can, in turn, offer their customers a variety of new and even personalized virtual shopping experiences, especially in the interest of strengthening the connection with mark of these, and that anywhere in the world. Store managers can also take advantage of the metaverse by taking advantage of the opportunity to discover new brand or brand products or collections without having to travel. Their products will be able to simulate traffic, packaging and shelf layout with a few clicks in a virtual store to verify appeal to consumer testers before placing them on physical shelves.

Comprehensive training to prepare your teams.

By staging stressful situations that are difficult to reproduce in role-playing games, the metaverse also has a large role to play in salesperson training. Virtual training to react calmly to an aggressive customer remains less anxiety-provoking and dangerous than an unprepared real-life experience. Retailer Walmart which, since 2016, has trained more than one million employees using 3D modeled scenarios, has realized the value of immersive technologies to prepare its teams.

And the returns on investment are there! For example, training in managing clicks and collect systems has gone from 8 hours to… 15 minutes. Moreover, projecting a candidate on a virtual stage to check his skills can reassure the employer in his choice and contribute to reducing the attrition rate, high in the sector, on the part of employees.

Metaverse to test a product before its production.

Metaverse is also the ideal place to test a product with potential users before producing it. In 2016, Jaguar presented the I-Pace, a prototype model of the electric vehicle to around 300 guests and journalists in a virtual exhibition to collect their feedback to improve the model. If the manufacturer has not finally benefited from this experience, perhaps long before his time, the benefits that virtual reality brings in terms of time and economic savings are visible against the high costs of developing a physical prototype. By acquiring RTFKT, Nike has taken the idea one step further by using the metaverse to bring together communities of customers, collectors and creative artists whose creations can be found on physical store shelves or in the form of reusable digital objects in other virtual universes.

100% digital retail is already here!

The 100% digital retail market is now a tangible reality for selling clothes, accessories, furniture, etc., transposable to other modeled universes and social networks. And a real opportunity to improve your brand. Last spring, Coca-Cola launched the Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte virtual drink in Fortnite, capitalizing on the video game’s large audience. Of course, it is still difficult to verify the economic reality of the model. But Morgan Stanley Bank estimates the potential for overall metaverse spending in the United States at $8.3 trillion.

Investing the metaverse the right way

New markets, reduced time to market, product improvement, optimization of maintenance, better customer knowledge, employee training… Beyond the demonstration environments that couturiers and other luxury players design today by organizing fashion shows, exhibition and sales in the virtual world, at Inetum we are convinced that the metaverse is a real asset for resellers of the most common products. But as with any technology with a strong dose of innovation, in-house, isolated initiatives with small budgets relative to ambitions are often disappointing at the risk of discouraging those entering these new digital territories.

To avoid these pitfalls, it is recommended to use the services of a specialized service provider. It is still necessary to know how to return to the correct profile. Combining its historical expertise in the retail and logistics market with its Intraverse solution for creating multi-support virtual business environments and its innovative capabilities, Inetum is the ideal partner to calmly support retail players who decide to invest in these emerging universes.

To neglect the metaverse today is to risk finding yourself isolated in the face of a phenomenon that, fueled by the boom in Web3 land, will tomorrow become the norm, as essential social networks are today. Can retail handle this risk?

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