In general, the technologies that firms allude to when they talk about “the metaverse” might include virtual reality (defined by persistent virtual environments that exist even when you’re not playing) and augmented reality (which blends features of the digital and physical worlds). It does not, however, necessitate that those areas be accessed solely through VR or AR. Virtual worlds, such as Fortnite elements accessible via PCs, gaming consoles, and even phones, have begun to refer to itself as “the metaverse.”

Many organizations that have jumped on the metaverse bandwagon foresee a new digital economy in which users may produce, purchase, and sell items. In more utopian metaverse ideas, it’s interoperable, enabling you to move virtual objects like clothing or vehicles from one platform to another, however this is more difficult than it seems. While some supporters argue that emerging technologies such as NFTs can enable movable digital assets, this is simply not true. Moving goods from one video game or virtual world to another is an incredibly difficult operation that no one firm can handle.

To engage with youthful consumers, brands are venturing into virtual spaces. But are these digital places simply billboards for corporations, or can they provide real-world benefits?

Whatever it is, retailers are going in headfirst — and plenty of customers are watching.

Companies all over the sector are increasingly staging activations on platforms that are considered to be part of the metaverse. The definition of what the metaverse is (or is supposed to be) varies, but in general, it is a virtually immersive version of the internet. Retailers are studying Roblox, Decentraland, and Sandbox as ways to get into the metaverse, even if they aren’t as interoperable as some would want.

According to its most recent financial report, Roblox has 58.8 million daily active users, a 24% rise from the previous year. The platform is also popular among younger users: According to sources, there were 24.2 million daily active users under the age of 13 in Q2. With that age group expected to acquire purchasing power over the coming decade, it’s no surprise that businesses are attempting to meet them where they are.

Gucci, Walmart, and Gap have all launched Roblox activations ranging from well-designed virtual pop-up storefronts to interactive games. But is the metaverse merely a virtual billboard for corporations, or can it be linked to real-world items and revenue? Here’s a look at how some retailers are utilizing the space to get practical advantages.

‘Consumers continue to place a premium on physical encounters.’

Aside from creating visually appealing activations in the area, businesses have begun to encourage advantages such as real-world clothing collections, discounts, and loyalty bonuses.

Claire’s, an accessories business, debuted ShimmerVille in Roblox last month, with a focus on self-expression through virtual goods that are also available in its physical locations. In June, Victoria’s Secret’s young sub-brand Happy Nation teamed with Roblox to establish a virtual obstacle course where users could donate genuine pairs of underwear from the company to Undies for Everyone while also viewing the newest capsule collection.

Consider how you had to test things in the past. The only true method to evaluate the features and qualities of many products was to manufacture a batch of those products and get them out to market, which was costly. However, the ability to launch it from a digital standpoint allows you to accomplish things that scale much more cheaply.

What about a quick return on investment?

Experts are divided on whether these virtual worlds will generate actual money for businesses in the near future. Certainly, money is being invested in sites such as Roblox. The virtual world reported $517.7 million in sales in its most recent financial report, a 2% increase year over year. According to a McKinsey projection from June, the metaverse might have a $5 trillion influence by 2030. According to the paper, the metaverse would have a market impact of $2 trillion to $2.6 trillion on e-commerce. In addition, Citi projected in March that the addressable market for the metaverse may be worth between $8 trillion and $13 trillion by 2030.

Can brands, however, get more rapid benefits on their investments?

At the moment, experts see it as an area to learn and experiment, where businesses may focus on capturing the attention of new audiences. Only in exceptional instances can the brand realize a monetizable return on investment.

Not all Roblox brands choose to offer their own virtual items. When looking for other companies that have participated in the sector, such as Nike or Gap, the top results are goods produced and sold by individual producers rather than the brands themselves. Whether or whether money can be made from the metaverse now or in the future, many people feel that the concept itself has staying power, regardless of how it turns out.

Even if the hype cycle in the metaverse appears to have finished, firms are probably as involved and dedicated today as they have been in the past six months, and this is likely to continue. The fact is that these technologies will drastically alter our lives. This is not going away. Some individuals believed that the internet was merely a hype cycle. And the metaverse will have a similar influence.

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