Is the metaverse important to the future of retailers?

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**Written by Daniel del Palacio

The metaverse may seem like a complex, distant and unfamiliar concept, but it is not a new topic. In fact, many of us have long been part of this world that combines the physical and the virtual. Video games were the first to introduce digital spaces for interacting with other people through avatars (individual online projections) that represent us on the Internet; Second Life, World of Warcraft or even The Sims have been developing this concept for decades.

However, this concept has recently become more visible due to the statements of large technology companies that invest several times in the development of the metaverse within other sectors that directly affect retail. This has made many consumers aware of the technological and comprehensive advancements to come in the coming years, in a space that, according to a Bloomberg Intelligence report, is already valued at US$500 billion and could reach US$2 trillion by the end of the decade. Huge opportunity for brand name pocket books.

There are already hyper-real worlds, augmented reality shopping and 3D virtual tours. But the globalization of the metaverse and its implementation for different ranges of experiences opens up a range of possibilities for e-commerce, as the metaverse allows us to experiment, create, sell and buy in a very similar way that we do every day, but online.

In many ways, the metaverse can be considered the next evolution of the Internet. And, as has happened with other technological innovations – such as the initial rise of e-commerce, which changed the business landscape – failure to consider or understand this new reality can leave some brands in the sector behind.

Today, companies have the opportunity to prepare in advance and make the most of every new opportunity. At Adobe, we believe it is very important for brands to begin to understand what the metaverse is, how it works, what opportunities it opens up for each company’s industries and audiences, what immersive experiences it can offer users, what presence a business can have and, above all, understand that it will not to exist one metaverse, but several, accompanied by multiple immersive experiences. For this to happen, companies must continue to communicate through tests and pilots that can reveal what business opportunities they have in this virtual space. Interaction is key in dealing with disruptive innovations like the metaverse.

There is no single metaverse

Although Meta (Facebook) has positioned itself on the subject, there is not just one metaverse. At Adobe, we envision the development of ongoing digital experiences where people interact with digital objects, digital environments, and each other. This can be done through virtual reality, where people put on a headset and enter a fully digital 3D world. Or through augmented reality, where the world of real life is enhanced by a digital experience, often through smartphones.

The concept continues to mature and evolve, but it certainly has significant potential to change the way we work, play, shop and connect. However, this will be determined by global user acceptance and access to the technology that enables these experiences.

At Adobe, we’ve spent years helping businesses deliver omnichannel customer experiences today, and metaverse is no exception. Some brands are already using 3D design workflows like virtual photography with tools like Substance Stager to not only create amazing user experiences, but also to improve, create product designs and marketing content faster and more efficiently. In this sense, leveraging these tools for today’s workflows is not only critical to success, but also prepares brands for the metaverse and winning over future customers.

This is a process that brings great benefits to companies seeking innovation. In product design, you can largely eliminate the need to build and ship physical prototypes by allowing them to be digitally tested before the physical version is built.

Today we hear about exclusive ownership of virtual artifacts, avatars, and even real estate that already resides in the metaverse. And in the new economy of this all-encompassing world, we expect to see exponential growth in digital commerce. Customers want these digital goods, clothing, artwork, avatars and real estate. For this reason, we’ve decided that buying, selling and trading these items can now be done with the support of the Adobe Experience Cloud, including Adobe Commerce features.

The digital acceleration we have seen in the last few years is unprecedented. The digital economy is driving business growth across all industries, but questions remain: How can brands unlock this opportunity? When is the right time to immerse yourself in technology? At Adobe, we believe it’s all about providing relevant and consistent experiences for our users – that add value, respect user privacy, and are tailored to each individual’s needs.

*Daniel Del Palacio is Director of DX Marketing at Adobe Experience Cloud LATAM

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