From Kristin Gluson, VP of Marketing, Trigger XR
This holiday season, marketing to consumers is evolving as the metaverse takes ecommerce shopping to a deeper level of engagement and unlocks unique ways for brands and consumers to connect. Bloomberg Intelligence forecasts the metaverse market will reach nearly $800 billion by 2024 and Mobile Marketer says that 63% of retailers are developing or considering using XR, which includes AR and VR, to drive discovery and sales. Given this, it’s no surprise that brands are looking at XR and the metaverse to enhance retail experiences both digitally and in-store.
Here are some of the metaverse technologies and trends utilized by omnichannel marketing strategies for this holiday season:
- Immersive Retail Experiences
With a projected 1 billion users by 2030, XR is becoming a default tactic in every brand’s direct-to-consumer capabilities. These types of immersive metaverse experiences can help reimagine the in-store experience, out-of-store experience and digital product visualization when integrated seamlessly. For example, Ralph Lauren has partnered with the video game Fortnite to introduce a digital clothing and accessories collection within the Fortnite Item Shop as well as a physical apparel capsule—inspired by the digital-first collection.
- Pop-up Virtual Stores
Retailers are getting creative with seasonal product launches in response to changing consumer preferences and spending habits. Virtual pop-up stores are an innovative way to showcase AR-based store experiences anywhere and everywhere such as the “Klarna Oasis” pop-up store. Klarna’s first retail pop-up opened in Los Angeles in August 2022 and emphasized conscious fashion and clean beauty. During the pop-up, the “buy now, pay later” platform offered shoppers online and in-store discounts on products from brands such as Rebecca Minkoff, Christy Dawn and Westman Atelier.
- AR-Driven In-Store Holiday Events
Mega retail events in the metaverse can drive surprising profitability. When looking at the omnichannel consumer, about 70 percent make purchases more often and spend about 34 percent more than people who shop exclusively in stores. A great benefit of experiential retail is that it can help time-strapped consumers shop more in a single location, giving them a reason to visit and to stay longer.
- Virtual Try-Ons Are Popular
Virtual try-ons are getting more user-friendly and realistic thanks to advancements in technology. Walmart recently acquired virtual fitting room company Zeekit and launched its own virtual try-on tool to help shoppers see how various types of apparel might look on their own bodies.
- Platform-Based Shopping
Facebook/Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok have launched ‘shop-in-feed’ capabilities, which make it easy to target holiday social scrollers. And the benefits are big: marketers (particularly in retail) are seeing the traditional marketing funnel collapse as the consumer journey goes directly from targeted engagement to transaction. For instance, TikTok created the Runway Labyrinth, a virtual fashion show event broadcast live on their platform. The event included 3D worlds featuring TikTok creators, musical artists and renowned athletes, and encapsulated the energy of the TikTok creator community while also driving in-show purchases for the featured designers.
Clearly, selling in the virtual world this holiday season will help brands to level up the shopping experience. Research supports this approach as 66% of people say they are interested in using AR (augmented reality) for help when shopping. Additionally, buyer confidence increases as 80% of AR shoppers feel more confident in their purchases as a result of using AR. The benefit: two-thirds of consumers are less likely to return a product after using an augmented reality feature.
Holiday 2022 presents the best time to rewrite the rules of retail and get metaverse-ready. Seasonal marketing is an opportunity to build longer-term consumer relationships and spark brand-building marketing campaigns that offer a more engaging consumer experience. A new generation of metaverse-hungry consumers are waiting for the latest trends in shopping experiences, and this is just the beginning.