The very real virtues of the metaverse or the virtual

The perception of the metaverse fluctuates between enthusiasm, fear and skepticism. Far from fantasy, above all, this ground-breaking innovation offers enormous potential in terms of customer experience.

The Metaverse has been on everyone’s lips for months. Like all “disruptive” technological innovations, it arouses its share of extreme reactions, fears and fantasies… Some, fueled by the fantasy of science fiction, prophesy a fusion between the physical, biological and digital worlds. , and the abandonment of our existences in the real world in favor of an addictive projection in the virtual. At the other extreme, others show the greatest skepticism, trusting the first metaverse attempts, which hardly meet the expectations of the public – Mark Zuckerberg paid the price recently, after the launch of his virtual world. , is considered disappointing.
The reality, as always, lies between these two extremes. No, we don’t get to live a new life in the metaverse; and yes, the metaverse has enormous potential. It will soon be a virtual tool that primarily offers huge benefits in the real world and especially it will be extremely convenient for the trade for the benefit of both consumers and retailers.

Exactly 40 years ago, Morris Holbrook and Elisabeth Hirschmann, professors at Columbia University and New York University, conceptualized Experiential Marketing. In particular, they introduced the role of emotion and experience (“the experience”) in purchasing mechanisms. Four decades later, it is tempting to see the most successful embodiment of this “consumer experience” in the new tools offered by the metaverse.
In fact, today anyone who buys online can evaluate products and services thanks to the information provided by the website that markets it and that of the manufacturer (this is called web 1.0), as well as by verified comments. customers or various influencers (this is web 2.0). The metaverse will make it possible to develop in a world of opinion, where everyone will be able to assess for themselves, as close as possible to the real conditions of use, a product or a service.
You can try on a virtual shoe on your avatar modeled with unprecedented precision, try a new model of the vehicle, or take an immersive tour of a hotel for your vacation and get an accurate picture of the surface of the rooms, their layout . All this without leaving home.
In the metaverse, touch, taste or smell will not (yet) be encouraged, but it will represent progress compared to traditional consumption: the demo car will not be immobile like at the dealership, it will be able to move, accelerate, change color. We can get an idea of ​​its interior space or its handling on an almost larger-than-life simulation. Admittedly, this virtual experience will never be worth the “real” test, but it will allow you to prepare it, to get a first idea or to make a choice where there are too many options.

Towards a “perfect” remote shopping experience

Therefore, contrary to what we often hear, the metaverse will not only be intangible, virtual objects possessed via NFTs. Of course, a few will buy virtual shoes to style their avatar. But this may remain marginal compared to the virtual fitting of clothing done for a purchase in the physical world. Few of us will buy virtual villas to settle in the metaverse, but many of us will make remote visits to choose our resorts, or before any real estate transaction.
Of course, there will still be failed attempts and trial and error before arriving at a finished form of this hybrid reality. But the potential of this technology is enormous; because what opens up here is a path to a “perfect” remote buying experience. This will never replace shopping in a store, which is an irreplaceable experience. But we will get closer to perfection because we no longer need to go to a store “to try”; because we will no longer be limited by the stock of colors and sizes available in a given store; and because we can come back, with a single click, as many times as necessary.

The precision of the modeling of the fitting, its immersive nature, its lightness, will allow safer purchasing decisions for the consumer. This will certainly result in a lower number of product returns and therefore also a lower carbon footprint. By allowing more reasoned, better informed consumption, the metaverse will also facilitate the marketing of used or refurbished products. And it’s also good for our planet.

So no fears or fantasies. Let’s enter the metaverse with enthusiasm!

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