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Metaverse Implications for Retail Technology and Service Providers

By Robert Hetu | August 08, 2022 | 0 Comments

Technology and Emerging TrendsRetail Trends

Despite the intense hype and excitement about future retail opportunities, a single retail metaverse will not emerge before the end of this decade. Our latest research aimed at technology and service providers that support the retail industry sets out to guide product leaders on the impact of Metaverse, Web3, NFT and other technologies. Product leaders must not overspend but invest selectively to capitalize on retailer early-adopter experimentation in the short term.  

High Level Findings on Metaverse in Retail

  • Metaverses won’t be a consistent source of revenue for retailers until at least the end of this decade.
  • Cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are highly volatile, making the value of transactions difficult for retailers to predict and maintain.
  • Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR) and 3D gaming will be integral parts of creating immersive retail experiences. But implementations are still not user-friendly and will not be viable in the long term.
  • The premise of Web3 is decentralized control and a peer-to-peer creator economy. This will challenge retailers’ existing approaches to personalization, customer relationship management and loyalty.
  • Metaverse initiatives have begun to see executive ownership and accountability in retail to ensure alignment with corporate strategy, as it’s not a safe place for the retailer to play untethered.

What is a Metaverse?

Gartner defines a “metaverse” as a collective virtual 3D shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality. A metaverse is persistent, providing enhanced immersive experiences. Gartner expects that a complete metaverse will be device-independent and will not be owned by a single vendor: It will have a virtual economy of itself, enabled by digital currencies and NFTs. 

 

Graphic comprised of the elements of a metaverse Gartner expects a complete metaverse will be device-independent and will not be owned by a single vendor: It will have a virtual economy of itself, enabled by digital currencies, NFTs or some equivalent. This will seriously call into question the existing nature of the retailer-customer relationship and, therefore, the foundational retail business model. Yet retailers are largely in an embryonic state regarding metaverses, and Gartner’s inquiries from retailers reflect this immaturity as questions range from basic concepts to industry examples.

Gartner clients can read more here: Metaverse’s Implications for Retail Technology and Service Providers

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