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What the metaverse means for retail today, and what's in store for tomorrow

Though the metaverse remains a fuzzy concept, a growing number of brands and retailers are jumping on the bandwagon. While the promise of the metaverse for retail holds great appeal (shopping experiences integrated seamlessly throughout immersive digital worlds), the development of the technology to support it is still in the very early stages. We take a look at the factors driving the surge of interest, key opportunities and challenges for brands and retailers presented by the metaverse, and what actions can be taken now to prepare.

Still confused on what the metaverse is? Click here to read our primer on the metaverse.

What’s driving interest in the metaverse among brands and retailers?

Fear of missing out (FOMO) has been a major factor fueling brand participation. While there are several competing visions of how the metaverse could materialize, a growing number of brands have boldly embraced the concept. Facebook’s rebrand to Meta in October 2021 unleashed a tsunami of hype and excitement, piquing strong interest among brands, followed by some subsequent backlash.

Underpinning all the buzz is the very real potential for virtual and augmented reality to fundamentally change how consumers interact with brands and shop, both online and in-person.

The possibilities will take on greater importance as Gen Z and Gen Alpha consumers come of age, since these digitally native generations are growing up immersed in online experiences—largely through gaming—and are spending money on virtual goods and services within these environments.