Retailers Prepare For The Metaverse And VR Marketplaces

LAS VEGAS—There will always be a human connection and human component in retail but talk around the metaverse is gaining steam. So said Brandon Isner, Americas Head of Retail Research at CBRE.

Isner spoke briefly during a microlearning session at ICSC Las Vegas, about how to prepare for the expanding metaverse from both the retailer and the landlord perspectives. Most importantly, he said, “doing some recon” is essential to even begin to understand where you should start.

“The metaverse is basically a progression of the internet,” Isner said, “but with depth.” Where the excitement lies in the metaverse, he explained, is that there is an open sourced metaverse that self-governs each experience.

While some think the metaverse growth is still years away, there is actual data to support the rise of the metaverse, he explained. “Web search has been growing and NFT interest is growing as well.”

According to Isner, as people were stuck at home, virtual reality headset ownership ticked forward with Omeda predicting that they will double by 2026. “But headsets are only one way to get into the metaverse,” he said.

He pointed out that land sales in the metaverse have also been very active in 2021. Now the activity, he said, is spilling into the business and development side. “There are virtual property REITs that will show actual returns on virtual space.”

On the occupier side, he said that retailers are also establishing a presence in metaverse worlds. Lego, American Eagle, and Forever 21 are a few he noted. “It is helping to create brand awareness.”

If all this seems overwhelming, he told the audience, note that “we have barely cracked the surface.”

But he said that there are some practical ways to interact in the metaverse right now. “Strategize on how to build the tech to make the jump. Go in and do some recon and look around… You can use marketing to establish brand awareness.”

In closing, he said that approximately 76% of marketing executives are already looking for ways to integrate their business in the metaverse.

Speaking to the Consumer

GlobeSt.com also caught up with Richard Rizika, partner and co-founder of Beta, who talked about retail as an amenity, noting that “retailers are exploring new and innovative environments to speak to the consumer. “The value of mixed-use environments are enhanced by thoughtfully merchandising with brand relevant retail,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

Additional trends he is following include digitization of the industry, which he says will further speed up ordering and fulfillment process. He is also looking at physical store right sizing to enable delivery from store as well as in store pick up as a competitive advantage for brick and merchandise returns for “brick and mortar” retailers.

According to Rizika, property level marketing is becoming more and more important to drive traffic and to engage with the communities they serve. He also adds that another trend he is following is how machine learning will increase the speed of business and will change the way we work in the future.

Keep checking back with GlobeSt.com to learn more trends attendees are following and for more coverage from the ICSC Las Vegas event. And check out the stories below that you might have missed.

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