The idea that new technology will revolutionise how we live, work and play has been proposed every so often. About a decade after the last such shift — when we saw how social, mobile and cloud come together — we are on the cusp of a new one: the metaverse.
Described as the successor to the Internet, the metaverse refers to a shared, persistent, 3D virtual realm where people can interact with objects, the environment, and each other via digital representations of themselves or avatars. It is not new; early versions already existed, albeit mainly in the gaming industry. Like the Internet in the late ‘90s, it is still unravelling; yet it is fast becoming central to conversations about retail’s future.
For retailers, it is a new shopping experience that bridges the physical and virtual worlds. Is the metaverse a valuable resource for retailers? Fundamentally, retailers must first think about what consumers desire, how they engage and how they consume.