How Digitalization and the Metaverse Are Revolutionizing the Retail Industry
Future retail establishments, like the one in the Mall of the Emirates, will make use of technology and data to offer insights into consumer behavior.
By 2026, it’s expected that we’ll be spending an hour a day in the virtual world, therefore the expression “see you in the metaverse!” will be very common.
Where will we be going, though? Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and even digital clothing will be among the most eagerly anticipated possibilities. Brands like Adidas, Gucci, and Vans have already established themselves.
What Possibilities and Modifications Does the Metaverse Present to Retailers?
Customer experiences and expectations changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which expedited the shift to digital consumption. It also increased the demand for interpersonal relationships and a sense of community.
These links already have centers in retail malls, which also serve as centers for culture, leisure, and wellness. And as stores develop, they will be better able to effortlessly bring online experiences into physical venues and vice versa, fusing the two to become “phygital,” strengthening their position. Although it takes a lot of words to say, it is quite genuine and will soon be in your neighborhood.
Physical stores need to innovate and provide possibilities for customers to effortlessly switch between the physical and digital worlds in order to succeed.
Putting Seamless Integration First
This signals a change in both our own and our consumers’ expectations. A hybrid or omnichannel strategy is what customers want and expect; there is no longer a division between the physical and the digital.
New revenue streams are becoming available due to digitalization. It is generating several possibilities to connect with customers and increase sales outside of in-store visits rather than concentrating on the ones that already exist.
Retailers must become acclimated to meeting their customers wherever they are, including the metaverse, in order to capitalize on this. Around $54 billion was spent on additional in-game content in 2020, according to JP Morgan, a figure that’s only set to grow. And it’s not only for children; a digital replica of Gucci’s Dionysus Bag made for the Roblox marketplace sold for almost $4,000, costing more than the real thing.
Integrated Experiences to Boost Sales
The secret to success is in combining the physical and digital worlds while delivering a seamless customer experience. According to Google research, multichannel and marketplace formats will be
the primary drivers of 86% of sales growth in Europe and the US over the next five years, supporting the necessity for this seamless connection.
This is the latest development for malls, which have long provided more than just a place to make purchases. It expands on its function as a place where people can gather, unwind, and make memories.
And it’s not only for children; a digital replica of Gucci’s Dionysus Bag made for the Roblox marketplace sold for almost $4,000, costing more than the real thing.
With retailers providing an immersive environment and using digital displays that modify content based on factors like gender and age, the personalization we’ve all grown to expect online is quickly extending to the physical world.
When customers express interest in a product by picking it up from the shelf, physical shops can personalize recommendations or present product information on a screen. With the help of an app, consumers may choose things and make an appointment to try them on, as is the case with Chanel’s collaboration with FarFetch. Beauty products and clothing can also be digitally tested.
Increasing Involvement and Developing Trust
This kind of communication between brands and their consumers has a beneficial effect on engagement. A stroller firm called Bumbleride observed a 33% rise in its sales conversion rate after adding 3D models of the strollers to its online site, despite the fact that many expectant parents prefer to test out baby products in person.
Future retail establishments, like the one in the Mall of the Emirates, will make use of technology and data to offer insights into consumer behavior. The customer experience can be improved by tracking and analyzing visitor counts, demographics, footfall heatmaps, dwell periods, sentiment analysis, and storage capacity.
Our malls will soon be accessible to those from outside the UAE virtually, giving them the chance to experience the distinctive ambiance and services firsthand. In the end, that might increase their propensity to come in person.
Opportunities Are Many in the Digital World
The metaverse will open up chances for merchants rather than hinder physical sales, permeating every industry in the years to come and generating yearly profits that are predicted to exceed $1 trillion. This implies that when it comes to retail malls, actual foot traffic no longer conveys the whole story.
We have faith in the retail industry’s future, where physical and digital elements will collaborate to place the client at the center of an engaging, sensory, and emotional experience that will satisfy their needs.
While individuals are beginning to assemble in the metaverse at the same time as shopping malls have traditionally served as the hub of communities, research suggests the two may coexist and function harmoniously to provide everyone with the sense of connection we know they need.