Facebook’s rebranding as Meta has changed the public’s perception of the metaverse and led to greater awareness of the virtual world. In the fourth quarter of 2021, Facebook Inc. changed its name to the Meta platform and most retailers and consumers took note. Since then, brands from different niches are foraying into the metaverse with their personalised marketing campaigns, discussed below, to connect, sell and interact with consumers.
Metaverse has not only grabbed the attention of the retailers, but consumers too as they are also keenly interested to interact with others in a virtually empowered environment. The survey results from Insider Intelligence reveal that 3 out of 5 consumers believe that metaverse will soon be a popular social media channel, utilised by 17% of individuals to socialise. Consumers’ attitudes towards the metaverse differ greatly by generation as 24% of youngsters think of the digital world as an exciting way to play and interact with others, while 41% of 55+ think that it would not be as good as real-life.
Winter Escape (Roblox) by Ralph Lauren
Established Brands are now testing the top-of-funnel marketing more than ever before. Interaction with consumers can help build trust and provide a better chance of converting them into shoppers later. Ralph Lauren’s holiday-themed experience in Roblox does so by allowing consumers to shop digital clothes from the virtual polo shop and enjoy the digital space by ice skating and picking up their favourite hot chocolate. The chief digital and content officer at Ralph Lauren, Alice Delahunt, said that:
“The partnership (between Ralph Lauren and Roblox) is built on years of digital innovation and underlines our belief in the opportunity that virtual spaces and economies present—especially when it comes to the next generation of consumers.”
Chipotle’s Burrito Builder (Roblox)
The chain is an early adopter of Roblox marketing, a platform that enables it to test new experiences in the metaverse. Chipotle is aiming to bridge the gap between the digital world and real-life to drive more consumers to its restaurants. Chipotle launched a game and virtual restaurant in Roblox allowing consumers to earn burrito bucks that can be used at real chipotle locations. The chain is the first major brand to allow Roblox players to exchange in-experience currency for real-world items, and serve virtual food on the platform; it later launched a menu item inspired by the metaverse community.
Coca-Cola Byte (Fortnite)
Coca-Cola introduced its Pixel Point Fortnite experience, featuring neon coloured environment embellished with Coca-Cola imagery and hidden games within glass bottles and cans. Coca-Cola used a custom-built Fortnite island to debut the limited-edition gaming-inspired Zero Sugar Byte flavour. This move illustrates how Fortnite has become an advertising platform.
Unilever’s Metathon (Decentraland)
Unilever’s deodorant brand, Degree, hosted an inclusive metathon in the 26.2-kilometer Vegas City Sports Quarter of Decentraland. Registrants were free to choose an avatar of their choice reflecting their identity. Degree is aiming to promote inclusivity and diversity in the metaverse via the avatar representation to build trust with a consumer base that is mostly overlooked. These digital trends may have an impact on categories whose products are not used enough, including deodorant.
Babylist, a digital baby registry company, has partnered with Obsess, which is a digital store platform to offer a virtual shopping experience to customers. The two brands aim to set up a virtual showroom in a virtual house allowing customers to visualise how products will look in their homes. Through the use of virtual reality technology, shoppers can learn more about products, access photos, videos, and educational resources as they navigate through a retail space. The CEO and founder of Obsess, Neha Singh, commented:
“Our goal is to make the online registry experience easy, fun, and interactive, while helping parents-to-be discover products they didn’t know about before and visualise how they might use them in their own home when their new baby arrives.”
Retailers mostly utilise virtual reality to create buzz around their brand, but Obsess is compelling people to make purchases. By offering a virtual showroom for their products, retailers can provide the in-store experience without requiring customers to leave the comfort of home (or even get off the couch).
Findings: The metaverse around the world
- Chinese consumers will spend $200.1 billion on metaverse-related IT by 2025.
- For 67.2% of Chinese consumers, the metaverse is an exciting way to communicate, interact, and play with family/friends.
- 1% of South Korean consumers have used VR, while 19.3% of them have used virtual spaces like ZEPETO.
- British consumers are somewhat sceptical of brands advertising in the metaverse as only 15% think that companies should advertise as compared to the 22% in the US.
- Only 17% of British consumers are interested to explore the virtual world of the metaverse, while 36% believe that they do not need the metaverse.
- 39% of German consumers see themselves as a part of the metaverse.
- 50% of the 18-24-year-old French consumers are interested to shop in digital stores.
- 24% of French individuals are excited to chat and meet people in the metaverse.
Realistically speaking, it will take time for 100% of customers to be using Web3, purchasing NFTs, and engaging in immersive metaverse experiences. The Internet will become increasingly complex and immersive as new technologies develop. As these experiences become more ready for primetime, they will cross the chasm from niche market uses into mainstream use. Brands, however, are using immersive experiences to drive in-store traffic, replacing traditional e-commerce sites and selling virtual goods. They’re also engaging existing customers with immersive experiences and providing digital customer services to attract more and more consumers.