From real to virtual and vice versa: the retail of the future will bridge the gap

What if the real and the virtual were much more connected than they seem? To anchor your digital strategy in reality, here are four strategies resellers in the metaverse decrypted

Today, 9 out of 10 companies are accelerating their investments in the metaverse and, according to a study conducted by Meta in June 2021, in June 2021, 75% of business leaders see augmented and virtual reality implemented in their 2023 strategies. more active sectors, retail has established itself as one of the main precursors of these technologies, with effective use cases that lay the first foundations for a hybrid world, in particular thanks to augmented and virtual reality. From ready-to-wear to home décor, including makeup and in-store experience, retailers are experimenting with and adopting these extended realities. Focus on four ways these technologies can be mobilized by brands to unlock new opportunities.

Project the products into your daily life

Also according to the Meta study, two-thirds of digital buyers today say they want to try and use products virtually, without leaving home. Good news: Technologies like augmented reality can allow them to grasp them simply by having a smartphone. This technology has tremendous customization power and opens up many opportunities for product consideration for brands. Let’s take make-up for example: virtual and real meet in the hybrid, thanks to applications that allow you to try real make-up in virtual mode before getting it, or to virtually powder your nose before online meetings. The cosmetics giant L’Oréal is not wrong and has been investing in augmented reality technologies since 2012. In 2020, in the boom of videoconferencing, L’Oréal launched in partnership with Virtue, makeup filters to be applied on Zoom. And to launch his Red signature, L’Oréal Paris did not hesitate to rely on Meta’s Spark AR platform to distribute a series of augmented reality advertisements, allowing its consumers to try the latest shades of lipstick without leaving the thread. Facebook news. A strategy that also proved successful for Michael Kors, who allowed his customers to try on his sunglasses in advertisements and make a one-click purchase. The brand thus obtained a 20-point increase in advertising memory. In the home sector, Castorama has launched an augmented reality filter on Facebook and Instagram to allow its customers to test the furniture in their environment. The brand has in particular tested this functionality on movable walls in order to make the interiors modular. A complex range to sell online but made more accessible thanks to these tools, welcomed the marketing and digital director. A feature that also appealed to the furniture and furnishings e-commerce platform! Result: 2.5x more purchases and 40% more memorable announcements.

Faced with such a success, can we imagine that augmented reality will be the future of fashion? The Auroboros brand thus offers, in addition to its 100% virtual creations, digital clothes for hybrid Instagram shots. Outfits inspired by nature or science fiction that influencers in the flesh can put on their shots. Same principle from Républiqe, a virtual clothing brand offering bubble evening dresses or matching mini dresses and thigh-high boots, all in pixels. Creative and ephemeral fashion with an ultralight carbon footprint.

Redefine access to content and spaces

We explored it in the previous article of the dossier: the metaverse opens up the possibility of building and opening up to new worlds – and one of the strengths of virtual reality is undoubtedly its ability to transport us there in the most total immersion, without leaving your own. everyday life. Creating a virtual sign in the metaverse is becoming possible and advertisers are pouring into these new spaces for creation, sale and interaction. In France, Carrefour was the first to design with the purchase of 82,000 virtual square meters on The Sandbox platform in early 2022. A new address that will allow you to experiment with new forms of interaction, exchange and trade with your customers. In the United States, fast food chain Wendy’s made a name for itself by opening Wendyverse in Meta’s Horizon Worlds last April, a virtual space to meet friends, play basketball or order a bacon and egg sandwich, to reclaim IRL. .

If we can create a space in the metaverse, of course we can also organize events there, an opportunity that fashion is ready to seize. The latest example, the first metaverse fashion week (MVFW) was held at the end of March in Decentraland. The opportunity for fashion brands to try this new environment and scroll their avatars on a 3D catwalk or even to invest in the Fashion Street District, a district dedicated to fashion where brands have exhibited their virtual creations in shop windows, including virtual ones . Balenciaga was one of the first brands to hold a virtual reality show during Fashion Week 2021, sending Meta Quest 2 headsets to all attendees.

If commercial spaces invest the metaverse, the latter also invites itself into physical spaces. These experiments reach real-world stores. So Farfetch has developed the Store of the Future since 2017 and distributed it for brands. The platform thus supported Chanel, with the implementation, in 2019, of augmented reality technologies in its Parisian flagship store. Key features include the ability for the customer to connect upon arrival at the store, shelves equipped with RFID to recognize products and above all a connected mirror that allows customers to offer more information such as excerpts from fashion shows or suggestions for accessories. In 2021, the Browns store in London in turn asks Farfetch to support it in the implementation of these technologies.

Create synergies between universes

If these new technologies go beyond screens and borders, they also transcend the limits of universes that we imagine to be more distant, such as gaming and luxury. We can mention Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with the video game League of Legends, for which the maison had imagined limited edition skins in 2019. In addition to this virtual collection, the French luxury house has created a physical collection associated with a line of clothing and leather goods in the colors of the video game. In 2021 it’s up to Balenciaga to bridge the gap between real and virtual with its collection of skins for Fortniteonce again, accompanied by a physical line of hoodies and t-shirts branded with the name of the game, an opportunity for brands to marry a new universe and find their audience in more unexpected spaces.

Trust the experience of the creators

Content creators have real experience in their field, demonstrate authenticity, and are a great tool for brands who want to think outside the box. Take the example of Sephora Collection, which collaborated with neuroscientist Jessica Harrington to create a series of sensory AR ads that can activate olfactory memories. The textures, colors, shapes and movements of his creations were developed to represent the three different ingredients of the fragrances: a synaesthetic mashup that allowed his audience to make fragrances their own in a context where access to shops was harder.

For its part, Meta drew on Club Med’s travel experience to explore the possibilities of its RayBan Stories, Meta’s connected eyewear developed in collaboration with RayBan. Thus, Club Med takes us to the Alps, where content creators give us emotions in the middle of the dust.

Whether we decide to invest the real by increasing it with resources virtual, or on the contrary detaching from the physical world to create otherworldly experiences, brands are seizing extended realities to discover their opportunities, with audacity and creativity. One prerequisite: that these experiences tell a story that has real meaning for the brand.

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