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The Case for Retail in the Metaverse

May 11, 2023

Guest Post by Mike Riggs, Managing Director and Principal of IA’s Retail Practice

Extended reality, or XR, is both an increasingly ubiquitous technology and one with untapped potential.

Most frequently used for gaming and other forms of entertainment, XR has exciting implications for a range of applications—particularly retail environments, where the ability to “test drive” merchandise, having access to more products than are available in-store, and the opportunity to experience a brand on a deeper, more emotional level via XR are major benefits.

Despite this, limited research exists regarding best practices for XR implementation. Moreover, consumer attitudes and behaviors have gone through a sea change over the last few years. Given these factors—and our clients’ increasing curiosity about how to deploy XR in retail environments—IA conducted a study to drill down on specifics, surveying more than 1,000 respondents, representing a range of demographics reflective of the U.S. population, to gauge XR’s appeal and adoption challenges. Some highlights from the survey:

  • A majority of adults over 55, a high-income population, have never used XR, presenting a major growth opportunity if XR is developed to enhance learning, improve accessibility and access to healthcare, and increase social connectedness.
  • Another amateur audience: middle-aged suburban women, for whom marketing strategies should focus on the nurturing, health-conscious, cost-conscious, and practical aspects of XR.
  • A way to hook those already familiar with XR technology: customization of exclusive product, access to endless aisle, and on-body or at-home visualization.
  • Also incentivizing, especially for community-minded younger audiences, is the ability to shop in XR with friends, family, or groups

Although the survey data was specific to retail, these takeaways can be applied to many other commercial real-estate contexts, representing exciting opportunities for the industry.

A comprehensive white paper on retail in the metaverse is available on the CoreNet Global Knowledge Center.

Mike Riggs is Managing Director and Principal of IA’s Retail Practice

CoreNet Global