What is the Metaverse and How Will It Affect Consumer Behavior?

03.01.2022 Articles
By Sargena Narsa, PR & Communications Content Specialist

The metaverse is creating major buzz around the globe – but how will this virtual landscape change the way consumers shop, and how can brands take advantage of it? 

The metaverse is a 3D virtual world with rich and immersive experiences that go beyond gaming. It involves a digital economy where people can create, buy, and sell goods and services. Users can also use the metaverse for educational purposes, collaborations, and social interactions.  

Although this virtual landscape may seem to be in the distant future, we are already witnessing the initial stages of how the metaverse affects the way we interact with technology. Users are replicating their daily routines and interests in the virtual world by creating customized avatars and cars, forming virtual relationships, purchasing digital real estate, and meeting friends at virtual events and concerts.  

As the metaverse paves the way for new interactions between users and technology, it will also start to influence the interaction between brands and consumers. To stay ahead of competitors, brands will have to adapt and gain a better grasp of their consumers’ behaviors within this digital sphere.  

How does the Metaverse change the way consumers interact with brands? 

With over three-quarters of global consumers depending on technology throughout their everyday lives, it’s safe to say that a majority of consumers will eventually make the transition to the metaverse, and consumer behaviors will adapt as new forms of content, consumption, and commerce become available. We have already witnessed the power of digital commerce in video games, but how will transactions differ in the metaverse? 

Although there is already an intersection between digital commerce and video games, the metaverse takes shopping to the next level through virtual products and services, bringing in new revenue channels for brands, and giving marketers the chance to connect with new generations of consumers.  

Consumers are already using this parallel world to replicate their physical daily habits in the digital sphere, especially creating new habits where they own digital land, cars, and other high value products. It’s reported that a digital house is worth an average of $76,000, an original piece of artwork is valued at an average of $9,000, and digital designer handbags are worth over $2,900. Brands dedicated to selling digital-only fashion are also making waves. RTFKT, creators of virtual sneakers and collectibles, generated $3.1 million in sales within 7 minutes.  

Neha Singh, CEO of Obsess stated, “Our data indicates that the majority of younger consumers want to be able to shop their favorite brands anywhere they go online, including on metaverse platforms.” Obsess’ study found that 70% of consumers that visited a virtual store made a purchase. The survey also indicated that approximately 75% of Gen Z shoppers have purchased a digital product within a video game, and 60% of these shoppers think brands should sell their products in the metaverse. 54% of Gen Z shoppers claim that people should be able to shop anywhere they go online, while 45% suggested that metaverse shopping environments should replicate shopping malls. Nealy half (41%) of Gen Zers suggest that brands should sell products in the metaverse because it provides consumers with a platform to buy digital items, such as nonfungible tokens (NFTs).  

How should brands make the transition into the digital sphere? 

With the rise of the metaverse, there are a few things brands can do now to ease their transition to the virtual world:

1. Establish your metaverse brand experience 

Brands that build a presence in the metaverse now will be at the forefront as this space continues to develop. However, metaverse branding, marketing, and commerce strategies will differ from other digital channels. For example, through the integration of AR and VR technologies, users can interact with 3D representations of brands, “try on” virtual clothing, and even visit digital replicas of storefronts to be fully immersed in the brand. In comparison to traditional channels, the ultimate goal of setting up shop in the metaverse will be to “have the most captivating digital experience” rather than solely focusing on brand exposure and visibility.

2. Get to know your metaverse audience and how they engage with your brand.  

Marketers will have a new opportunity to research audience demographics, but should note that the way consumers engage with brands and purchase products in real life could be completely different in the virtual realm. It will be crucial for brands to understand the relationship dynamics between users as well as NPCs (non-playable characters) in order to succeed in the metaverse.   

3. Redefine your consumer journey to include the metaverse.  

It took years for brands to understand how digital channels complemented brick-and-mortar, and brands can expect that the metaverse will add one more aspect to the consumer journey! Brands can get ahead of the game by integrating metaverse platforms into their existing consumer journey, following their audience into the digital sphere, while targeting new communities of users. 

4. Incorporate Visual Search Optimization into your digital playbook.  

Similar to how brands optimize themselves on Google, the same will need to be done for the metaverse. Visual search optimization has already been making waves for the retail industry, and it will be a key component for a brand’s digital success going forward in the metaverse.  

The possibilities in the metaverse are endless. The metaverse holds potential for innovation in branding, marketing, and commerce. Whether advertising through a video, virtual billboard, interactive ad, or experience, brands can find infinite ways to spread their message and engage with consumers across the globe – virtually.  

Thanks for reading! 

Follow the latest industry trends with insights straight from our experts: BDS Marketing Blog.