The Metaverse Is Coming
By Shane O’Neill, Vice President
On October 28, 2021, Facebook officially changed its name to Meta. Oh, you didn’t notice this on Facebook itself because Meta is a publicly-traded company and Facebook is just one of their assets. Meta will be spending tens of billions of dollars in the next few years to build the Metaverse and believe me, it will change everything. People will laugh, just like people in the early 90s did with the concept of the “internet” or how some scoffed at the idea of people cutting cable in 2010. Whether you like it or not, understand it or not, or think it’s not relevant to you, the Metaverse is coming and how you think about retail will change forever.
What is the Metaverse?
That’s a good question as it rapidly evolves and adapts, but generally speaking, it’s a fully immersive 3D digital world, like the Holodeck on Star Trek but much bigger. Different versions of the Metaverse already exist, such as Roblox or Second Life but what Meta is proposing is much bigger than what currently exists. Other big tech players, such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft, are already forging ahead to stake their own claim in the Metaverse. Even Disney is planning to expand its world to the Metaverse. I imagine, like the internet, there will be some sort of universally accepted protocol that will connect various types of metaverses, much like a URL connects to a website.
What will you do in the Metaverse?
Short answer, everything. Since the Metaverse will be a digital world, the possibilities are endless. Here is a much shorter synopsis of the hour+ presentation launch from Meta. In the metaverse, you will have a digital version of yourself, called an avatar. You will interact with other avatars in the 3D world including taking meetings or hanging out. You can buy digital property. You can even have your avatar look however you want from realistic to cartoonish. And now we get into the meat of this article and what this means for retail jewelers.
Fashion lives in the Metaverse
Since avatars are digital representations of ourselves, we undoubtedly will want to dress to impress. Think that’s ridiculous? Not so fast. Nike has already filed patent applications for its products as “downloadable virtual goods”, protecting the brand’s rights in the virtual world. It’s not just Nike, though. Other luxury brands are also in the space including Louis Vuitton and Valentino. Just like in the real world, if not more so, people want their digital selves to look “Fabulous, darling”. But looking fly in the digital world isn’t free. You have to pay for these digital goods. In fact, these goods will most likely be sold as NFTs (Non-fungible tokens), which prove ownership via the blockchain, so people can also resell the products they’ve purchased. Ok, ok, I’ll reel it back in, but if you want to know more about NFTs, click here. What does this all mean? It means you can actually have a jewelry store in the metaverse and sell jewelry!
Advertising, in a nutshell, is about one thing; eyeballs. With people living both within and outside the metaverse, digital advertising will explode. Imagine advertising on a billboard on a virtual mainstreet, or sponsoring a metaverse launch party. Digital advertising will be available in ways we haven’t even imagined yet. Just take a look at today’s youth and their immersion into everything digital. You don’t think the metaverse is going to be a huge part of their lives? Well, Meta is betting tens of billions of dollars that you’re wrong…and we’ll pay for it all using cryptocurrency. Ok, I won’t go down that road, but you get the point.
The bottom line is, just like we saw with the birth of digital marketing, the bridal consumer will live and maybe even work inside this other reality. You will be able to connect with them in this virtual world and the only thing that will stop you is your own imagination.