Updated: Jan 12, 2022
With the start of every new year comes the inevitable “top ten” lists of business and technology trends promising exponential growth for one and all. What’s the common denominator for 2022? Across the board the predictions all share an obsession with the metaverse. Google the word and you’ll find plenty of articles ranging from the “will it last?” to the “quick jump on board!” variety, right down to white papers from the prestige venture capital and private equity firms.
As for fashion and the apparel industry, many of us have read, for example, how Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Adidas and Moncler have created digital collections of pieces echoing their brand style in collaboration with online gaming platforms including Robolox, Fortnite and other apps merging AR and VR. Think of an immersive world of boundless virtual identities and limitless cybernetic experiences to be had.
What makes these collections meta?
The fact that these capsule collections were created uniquely for the virtual world. You will never wear these pieces out for dinner. There is a Dutch virtual couture house where, according to Business Week “…users create exclusive apparel for their digital avatars on social platforms including VRChat, a 3D digital world that soared in popularity during the pandemic.” Some of these virtual pieces sell for upwards of real designer couture garments. Why? Even in the virtual world everyone wants to be a standout.
2022 promises an explosive burst of technical and marketing creativity in the digital realm. The question is, are you ready to explore the real-world opportunities that cross over from the metaverse apps? In this post-mobile world will you employ virtual tools to impact your margin, eliminate overstock and discounts, and to create new job openings along with ongoing revenue?
The reality is that It remains to be seen how lifestyle and apparel brands will use the multidimensional format to stand out from an increasingly noisy (sales) environment. Does the metaverse have the power to become a commonplace tool in the fashion marketer’s toolbox along with social media, virtual presentations and old school email blasts? Outside of virtual gaming, how can it be used for the messaging, marketing and communications so critical to success in the marketplace?
Do you have a metaverse strategy, and is it ready to launch immediately post beta testing?
Bottom line, enhanced communication between people is the goal of metaverse-based interactive entertainment and commerce. But to what end in the real world?
What is it that makes the metaverse attractive to lifestyle brands looking to stamp and promote their “look” on both the physical and virtual worlds? Does the metaverse offer a viable opportunity to make concrete inroads in the real world? Players on platforms like Robolox are dominated by the 20 and under crowd. Can the average product marketer experience brand growth in the real world of physical and manufactured products, and leverage its online activity in the metaverse to that end? Can virtual cosplay boost actual sales dollars to such a specific market segment?
Looking into our crystal ball, the only thing we know for sure is that blockchain, NFTs and the online and virtual worlds aren’t going anywhere. For matters of branding and fashion, the foreseeable future will surely call for further examination of brand applications in the virtual world, as we can all agree that the metaverse is here to stay.
Author, Web Content, Digital Media