The RetailX Metaverse Almanac 2023 report, available to read online now, looks at which retailers are investing in the metaverse and how are they making those tentative first steps.
It highlights that 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.
The first steps in this have been to appear on the platforms that currently make up the metaverse – Roblox, The Sandbox, Decentraland et al – offering game-like experiences, NFT-backed virtual versions of the goods retailers sell, putative virtual stores and some live events.
While not quite the fully immersive, 3D shopping experience that it could deliver, these first steps are the vanguard of the sector finding its way into the metaverse, showing the early crop of metaverse users the potential of what they can do and creating a presence, a flag in the virtual ground, declaring that they are here.
More prosaically, they are also using it for simple marketing and advertising.
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