Not long ago, the metaverse seemed a concept of the future. However, new Accenture research reveals consumers are starting to engage now, with the number of purchases in the metaverse looking set to rise in the next year, bringing new opportunities for retailers and brands.
In fact, about 60% of millennials want to buy real-life products in virtual worlds. Even among baby boomers, a third of consumers are interested in services such as consulting with experts in a virtual or augmented reality setting on topics such as hair or make-up tutorials.
In the beauty space, nearly
half of all consumers said that they’re interested in buying virtual “looks” such as makeup or hairstyling that can be applied to their avatar or to themselves virtually through a
It makes perfect sense. As consumers spend more time in virtual spaces, their digital selves become as important as their physical selves. And there’s a potentially big market for virtual beauty products to meet that need.
Clearly, part of this trend is about integrating ecommerce into the metaverse, with consumers browsing and buying real products virtually, with store pickup or home delivery in the real world. But retailers and brands will also need to think creatively about experiences that go beyond purchase.
In beauty, this could mean holding live streaming events and games in virtual worlds, or enabling personalized consultations and augmented reality try-ons — while making sure they’re all seamlessly connected to existing analytics, ecommerce and digital payment capabilities.
This is a more complex and dynamic business ecosystem, but also a richer one. To adapt to it, brand owners and retailers will need to strengthen their relationship with consumers by truly putting “people” at the heart of their marketing strategies. They’ll also likely need to consider new types of partnerships.
We’re starting to see interesting examples of innovation, such as one large beauty company partnering with a software platform to create a new way for people to try on make-up on Instagram via augmented reality.
With more than half of consumers anticipating spending more time in digital spaces, brands and retailers have a great opportunity to experiment with building deeper relationships with their consumer base. For instance, offering the help of a brand ambassador who consults with shoppers as they view and virtually try on outfits can entice them to visit a physical store or engage with the brand in another way.
The metaverse may resemble the early days of online or mobile commerce. It’s clear that consumers will be shifting more of their work lives, leisure time and shopping excursions to immersive platforms. And that means retailers will need to imagine ways to create memorable virtual experience for their consumers – not to mention their digital avatars.
This is an exciting opportunity for brands. But they’ll need to re-evaluate their relevance and their customer-centricity for this more dynamic marketplace. Because increasingly, power is in the hands of the people. By doubling down on customer engagement now, retailers can position themselves to drive tangible revenue benefits come the holiday season. The new and emerging forms of engagement offer new ways to meet customers where they are today and where they’ll be tomorrow.