Article

Gemma Banks
Gemma Banks 8 March 2022

Understanding Your Customer Before Diving Into the Metaverse

When we asked 3,000 consumers across the UK, “would you like to shop for your favourite brands and products in the Metaverse?” - the response was varied to say the least. While that’s not to say that the virtual world won’t become the next phenomenon, or that it isn’t already, it’s clear that for retailers, there are a few questions that need to be ironed out first before diving into the digital world.

We took two main takeaways from our consumer poll:

  • The majority of people (58%) have no idea what the metaverse actually is. 
  • Of those that do know what it is, 13% have categorically said they don’t want to immerse themselves in it. 

Why Should Brands Even Care Then? 

Well, remember the internet? Many naysayers thought that was nothing more than just a flash in the pan. Now it’s the centre of everything we do, from how we communicate and in the last decade or so—how we shop. 

While the apparent resistance is telling, we know that times can change just as quickly as opinions can. So, here’s what we think brands should consider if they’re thinking about entering the metaverse. 

No Need to Dive in

It’s easy to see other industries such as gaming and entertainment make massive waves within the metaverse and immediately want a slice of the pie. However, the fact that over half of people still don’t know what it is suggests that a considered approach for retailers is a more recommended tactic. 

Although we might be some way off from consumers prioritising using real money to buy virtual goods, there's an opportunity for retailers to give options for customers to try products digitally, which could result in fewer returns, and ultimately - less waste. For example, digital fashion pioneer, DressX allows their customers to virtually try their items on, then send them their own personalised lookbook before purchasing. 

Educate First

The overriding feedback from our survey was confusion. People often show reluctance to the unknown, so uncertainty is the real hurdle retail businesses entering the metaverse need to overcome first. But what should retailers be educating their customers about exactly? Well, explaining the benefits is always a good place to start. 

More importantly though, honesty and transparency will serve businesses best. Understanding that while the metaverse is growing at an exponential speed for many industries - it still might not be for everyone. So while educating your audience is key, understanding them is just as important.

Be Adaptable 

The metaverse is a creative melting pot of many things from social to gaming to crypto. It’s a broad spectrum, and this means your approach should be fine-tuned for your audience, but also ready to change, grow and adapt. Take fashion brands for example. The ability to change look-books, campaigns and mannequins in a digital-first space can be an invaluable weapon in their marketing arsenals. 

Find a New Dimension 

Traditionally, most brands rely on 2D assets such as photos and videos of products. In the future, 2D assets alone are not going to be enough though. It’s hard to fully predict what the metaverse in 2022 is going to look like. One thing is certain, there will be an increased demand for 3D assets that can be deployed against the metaverse and shared across various experiences, from fashion items to real estate and eventually to retail. 

To prepare for this shift, brands need to consider 3D models of their products and how they could exist and give agency in digital worlds. And how 2D, 3D and increasingly 4D and augmented reality moments flow together in the new marketing mix. 

What the Future Holds

One way or another, it’s clear that the metaverse is making massive waves from a number of different angles, but that doesn’t mean there should be an instant clamour to get involved - especially if it’s not right for your own specific audience. 

As with most trends, excitement is often met with trepidation, so reassuring as well as educating will be key to helping your customer understand why the digital world is set to become such a massive game-changer. The question is: how will the metaverse shape your brand in the future? 

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