It feels like you can’t scroll through your LinkedIn feed, read your favorite news source or open an email today without stumbling across an article (or 5) about the Metaverse. What was once a “concept” to mimic the real world with digital technology, from augmented reality to social media, has been catapulted to the mainstream media. The Metaverse is now a movement that cannot be ignored to engage younger generations of shoppers who move seamlessly between digital and physical worlds at the tap of a finger or the blink of an eye for those Smart Glass readers!
So, is this all simply hype or is something bigger happening right before us? We may be biased at Eyekandy, but retailers and brands need to formulate a strategy and begin to experiment in this unique universe. Below unpacks a few compelling reasons why:
If you are contemplating whether the Metaverse plays a role in your overall business strategy, the best advice that we can give to you is to not try to ‘boil the ocean.’ The Metaverse, like all things digital, is evolving with consumer adoption of technology. It’s better to get in early and identify a few simple wins across your core business to gain learnings. These opportunities can range from purchasing digital real estate to shopping in Augmented Reality to NFTs, and more.
Once you have developed the right strategic approach for your business, begin a methodical and phased deployment strategy that builds a playbook for your organization over time. Believe it or not, the foundation of the Metaverse has been quietly brewing for nearly a decade with a ton of applicable insights and data already in place. Partners, like our team at Eyekandy, are here to be a consultant on this important venture to future proof your business.
However, the past year has shined a new light on innovation. Whether good or bad, the pandemic forced retailers to accelerate their digital roadmaps to meet the needs of people around the globe. When you look back to reflect, retail companies mobilized concepts like BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store) at the flick of a switch. That is no simple task!
There is also another incredibly powerful advancement for retail that has been quietly metamorphosing over time. Augmented Reality (AR), once viewed as gimmicky, has now become a personalized strategy to connect in-store experiences to a Shoppers home.
Augmented Reality is simply a must have today, especially as Global Tech Giants and Telecom companies make massive investments to revolutionize this growing ecosystem in the next 18 months. In today’s commerce environment, there are three reasons why you must implement AR to delight your customers and convert them to buyers.
Global ecommerce sales are expected to reach $4.2 Trillion by the end of 2021 according to Forbes and IBM has even reported that the pandemic accelerated the shift to digital shopping by roughly 5 years.
However, the ability to place products directly in your home via Augmented Reality is nothing new. It was born out of a necessity in industries like automotive and home decor. Consumers are now accustomed to “try-before-you-buy” across all classes of trade ranging from virtually seeing the latest shade of lipstick, to deciding if they should get the 65” or 75” OLED TV.
In fact, 63.33% of respondents in a recent Eyekandy study said that they would favor a retailer that offers Augmented Reality services over one that does not. This behavior change and desire for innovation will never go backwards, as it proves what we all have known for quite some time — people demand speed and convenience.
“We were really excited when Eyekandy approached us looking for a UK partner to launch their AR + Live Video solution. The pandemic has meant that bridging online and offline sales became important almost overnight. Whilst our physical stores were lucky enough to remain open during 2020, we, like many others, saw a huge uptick in online business and Eyekandy helped us meet that demand. When I trialled their solutions for myself I was blown away. I was sending screenshots to all my contacts! In a short period of time, over 40% of people who were shown the solution on velorution.com chose to use it – it’s allowed the team at Velorution to close sales efficiently and wholly online, without the customer ever setting foot in store”
Brands are seeking greater accountability for their media investments, while retailers are capitalizing on this need by developing robust retail media offerings that leverage their digital assets as prime real estate. Walmart has been a leader in this space for quite some time, however, companies like Target, Walgreens, The Home Depot and Macy’s are all now seeking a piece of the pie in a market that reached $17 billion in 2020.
As part of these solutions, brands are still looking for a blend of innovation and performance. Augmented reality complements these solutions by offering the ability for retailers to enhance product description pages (PDPs) with rich content experiences that enhance the shopper journey. Many retailers have even stated that adding AR to these pages delivers improvement to their SEO strategy.
The biggest barrier for deploying augmented reality for any retailer was previously limited by technology. In the early days, a shopper would need to download an app or hardware to activate an experience.
With the advent of WebAR, people can now seamlessly access an experience directly from their internet browser. This instantaneously gives retailers access to over 3.6 Billion smartphone users according to Statista.
If you are a retailer that is still considering whether augmented reality is the right opportunity for your business, I can confidently tell you that the answer is YES. The perfect storm has come together between both shopper and brand needs, allowing you to drive incremental revenue through this immersive and engaging platform.