When (Physical and Virtual) Worlds Collide
In a somewhat bizarre twist that is also a sign of the times in 2022, Meta (“the artist formerly known as Facebook”) announced that it will open a store on May 9th to introduce consumers to the Metaverse. For the uninitiated, the Metaverse is Facebook’s virtual reality environment.
The metaverse will be a place where we can work, play, and connect with others in immersive, online experiences.
Studying experiences and creating publicity
Our own Matt Montgomery and Dave Huntoon’s initial reaction to this is incredulity – “why would Meta open a brick-and-mortar store to introduce people to the Metaverse, which itself exists only virtually?” Here is what they had to say:
Initial reaction aside, there are some logical reasons as to why this strategy makes sense. The “Meta Store”, as it will apparently be known (and let no one accuse Meta of being overly creative when it comes to picking names), is located close to Meta’s Reality Labs, the Meta division creating products for the Metaverse. This store will in effect provide an opportunity for Meta to observe consumers learning about the Metaverse and wrestling with using new products and equipment.
An added benefit is the publicity associated with this announcement – not many retailers can get national press by opening a single, ~1,500 sq ft store. Acknowledging the convenience of having this store located proximate to Reality Labs, one potential drawback of the site location decision is that Bay Area residents tend to be a bit more tech-forward than the rest of the country – this has the potential to skew Meta’s assessment of consumer adoption (assuming there is no plan to open additional Meta stores in different parts of the U.S.).
The benefit for retailers
The Metaverse has the potential to provide significant opportunities for retailers and others to sell physical goods and services through yet another virtual channel. The metaverse may provide many potential customers the opportunity to connect with brands on a whole new level from the comfort of their home. Brands have the ability to design a whole new customer experience by digitally building upon their available floor plans for user to virtually walk through or completely redesigning how they tell their story. In the meantime, it’s most likely that brick-and-mortar sales of equipment integral to accessing the Metaverse will outweigh the sales of products and services that consumers purchase during their time spent in the Metaverse.
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Via: Techcrunch.com and 1worldsync.com
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