Metaverse is the next big thing for retail! Everyone is talking about it. And why not? The global pandemic has brought us closer to the digital world like never before, throwing us into the exciting new world of augmented and virtual reality.
While metaverse is the new buzzword globally, few understand it and its unlimited opportunity to help brands create unique experiences for their customers. So, what is metaverse?
According to Gartner, “Metaverse is a collective virtual open space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality. It is physically persistent and provides enhanced immersive experiences.”
While still in its nascent stages, the concept of metaverse has caught the eye of tech giants, including the likes of Facebook and Microsoft. It’s the next big technology platform, with technology leaders, social networks, online game makers, and most importantly, big fashion brands vying to capture a piece of what experts predict to be an $800 billion market opportunity.
By 2026, 25% of people will spend at least one hour a day in the Metaverse for shopping, education, social media, work, and entertainment.
Here’s looking at how popular retail brands are leveraging the metaverse to drive more engaging and immersive experiences for their customers.
Dyson came with its virtual store to allow users to try out its products on a variety of hair types. After logging into Dyson’s virtual store, customers can use its VR demo to style their hair in the metaverse or look deeply inside the products to understand their technology.
Popular sportswear brand Nike built Nikeland, its own metaverse studio, to turn sport and play into a lifestyle. Nikeland’s surroundings match the buildings and fields inside Nike’s real-life headquarters.
What’s more, you can dress up your Nikeland digital avatar in classic Nike apparel and staple footwear like the Air Force 1, Nike Blazer, ACG, Nike Tech Pack, and Air Force 1.
Visitors can play games such as dodgeball, the floor is lava, and tag inside the virtual world. Creators can also develop their own mini-games using interactive sports materials.
Since Metaverse is the sum of all virtual worlds, including augmented reality, the internet, and other technologies, it undoubtedly encompasses tons of data generated by artificial intelligence (AI) that needs to be collected, analyzed, and leveraged for accelerated innovation.
In this blog, we’ll talk about online retail, one of the most upcoming and potentially game-changing use cases of AI-enabled virtual assistants in the metaverse of tomorrow.
The ability to shop in the metaverse is the next big retail trend. And leading retail brands are jumping on this bandwagon. With the integration of conversational AI technologies such as virtual assistants and voice bots, brands are now looking to offer interactive, real-time, and more immersive digital shopping experiences.
Imagine living in New York and trying on that pretty red dress from a Paris-based clothing brand virtually through a 3D fitting room or taking a thrilling test drive to buy your next car in virtual reality. Or try out the latest accessories, the coolest new sunglasses, or the trending makeup products. While it’s your virtual avatar doing that for you, you wouldn’t mind it considering your newfound ability to access global retail brands while sitting in the comfort of your living room.
That’s where the metaverse has the potential to take the world of retail. The integration of AI-powered virtual assistants and conversational AI bots allows brands to track customer activity, purchase behavior, and demographic profiles, learn from prior patterns, and leverage this data to provide more personalized product recommendations and encourage purchase.
Here’s how metaverse is making all this possible.
To tap into the unlimited potential of the metaverse, many brands are investing millions to make this vision a reality. Or should we say “virtual reality?” Pun intended. The virtual shopping experience involves 3D digital avatars that would help users interact with other 3D digital objects and digital humans in the virtual world. These digital humans are virtual sales assistants, who assist users (or, to put it in better words, their virtual avatars) with online shopping, guide them through the brand’s online store, provide advice, and hand-hold them throughout the sales process.
Customers (i.e., their virtual avatars) can try out products, check out discounts and offers, and pick out items for purchase.
Naturally, these digital humans are voice bots designed to ease the process of searching and buying products and ensure virtual shopping feels natural and frictionless, screaming out convenience for users.
These virtual assistants have conversational AI capability that helps them understand an intent, carry on human-like conversations with users, and provide truly immersive and engaging human-like experiences in the virtual world.
What’s more, you can customize your virtual/ 3D digital avatars to render them human-like features and make them look like you, be it hair, makeup, or clothing. In fact, some brands solely design clothes to be worn only by avatars in the metaverse.
AI-powered virtual assistants can analyze, understand, and learn the users’ preferences and shopping habits and generate unique product recommendations and buying tips based on such data.
Let’s take a quick example. Outfit generator apps will be the next breakthrough in the metaverse, providing unparalleled shopping experiences in the virtual world. Advanced AI technologies will help create virtual wardrobes, wherein users can put their existing clothes and get personalized outfit recommendations, exposing them to completely new and unique shopping experiences.
We are a global player in next-gen digital services and consulting, Acuvate leverages next-gen technologies to build chatbots, voice bots, custom apps, and workflows that increase business efficiencies and support collaboration, information orchestration, and intelligent analysis.
If your company is new to the metaverse, it would be wise to understand the vast opportunities the technology is prospected to offer. We, at Acuvate, can help you take baby steps into the metaverse and help you explore retail experiences and environments from different industries in the virtual world.
To know more, please feel free to schedule a personalized consultation with our experts.
Abhishek is the AI & Automation Practice Head at Acuvate and brings with him 17+ years of strong expertise across the Microsoft stack. He has consulted with clients globally to provide solutions on technologies such as Cognitive Services, Azure, RPA, SharePoint & Office 365. He has worked with clients across multiple industry domains including Retail & FMCG, Government, BFSI, Manufacturing and Telecom.