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McDonald’s and Ralph Lauren are Early Movers in the Metaverse

Highlighting retail leaders that have created value-driven experiences to foster customer engagement and connection in the metaverse.

The Evolution of the Internet Sparks an Explosive Growth Forecast:

Bloomberg reports the total market size of metaverse activity totaled nearly $600B in 2021 and estimates global revenue could surpass $780B by 2024 with a CAGR of 13.1%. The primary revenue stream in the space is gaming software and services, supplemented by live entertainment, gaming, and AR and VR hardware and social media advertising. 

As we have discussed previously on our blog, retailers are seeing value in participating in the metaverse, even in its early stages. However, for many retailers and brands a significant question remains: What distinct value does the metaverse offer for retailers and brands?

  1. Consumers are spending time in the metaverse in the present, and that time is only increasing.

According to Gartner, by 2026 25% of the population will spend at least an hour daily in the metaverse for work, social interaction, shopping, education, or entertainment. The metaverse, especially among the younger consumer base, will become an integral space for both work and play.

  1. The metaverse provides new ways to engage with consumers through differentiated digital experiences.

The realism which categorizes metaverse interactions lends itself to sensory, immersive experiences, which retailers can leverage en masse.

Ralph Lauren launched a metaverse partnership with 3-D social networking app Zepeto, which features a virtual world highlighting iconic New York City locales such as Central Park, Ralph’s Coffee, and the brand’s Madison Avenue flagship store. The partnership also featured a 50-piece virtual clothing collection available for purchase.

Photo Credit: Business of Fashion. Avatars dressed in Ralph Lauren clothing as a part of its metaverse experience.

Ralph Lauren’s decision to translate these brand-relevant spaces into the metaverse provides consumers increased access to meaningful, immersive experiences that are aligned with RL’s core persona. These venues also function as spaces for virtual social interaction, serving as an additional community-building opportunity for the brand.

Ralph Lauren is specifically prioritizing engaging with a younger consumer base. At the National Retail Federation’s Big Show in January,  CEO Patrice Louvet said, “one of our strategies is to win over a new generation and the new generation is there. So, we have to be there.”  Even in its pilot stages, Ralph Lauren has already seen value from its metaverse campaigns; only a few weeks after launch the company had sold more than 100,000 units of virtual apparel.

  1. The metaverse offers a significant transactional opportunity.

There is an opportunity for retail entrants to commodify relevant assets and transact with their consumer base leveraging both digital and physical products and services.

Photo Credit: Getty Images. McDonald’s filed trademark applications to operate a virtual restaurant in the metaverse featuring both virtual and physical goods.

 McDonald’s has filed trademarks for a metaverse restaurant concept that will feature both virtual and real-world food. After ordering in the metaverse, patrons can receive food delivered to their homes in partnership with home delivery services. McDonald’s captures the value of metaverse transactions with this model, as they’re providing a space to transact and socialize within the metaverse, that also simultaneously satisfies food cravings among users. The duality of the chain’s virtual and IRL food offerings exemplifies the intensified sensory experiences capable through metaverse interactions.

McMillanDoolittle can help your team create value in the possibilities presented by the Metaverse. For more information on our concept development and digital transformation strategies, Contact Us. To stay up to date on our latest retail insights, follow us on LinkedIn.

Reagan Jacobs

Reagan provides research, planning and analysis support for McMillanDoolittle retail consulting projects. She supports company and client projects through consumer research planning, merchandise and operations analysis, financial modeling and graphic design work.

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