In this alternative world, everything will be possible through an avatar: buying goods and services, attending concerts, travelling, playing games and even working. Pereira states that the amazing thing about this universe is that you can teleport from one experience to another without leaving your room. The development of the metaverse seeks to extend the real world into the virtual world by making everyday actions into a spectacle.
Of course, it will be necessary to understand a necessarily complex universe, made up of not one but dozens of metaverses. In the United States, for example, there are four major companies competing to be number one in the race to dominate the metaverse: Meta (Facebook), Roblox, Fortnite and Microsoft, as well as other technological giants that will also set the tone for this industry in the coming year.
This introduces a new form of interaction between consumers and brands through the D2A (direct-to-avatar) model where we will no longer buy clothes for ourselves, but for our representation in the metaverse. The challenge for companies will be to get people to carry out the bulk of their activities in this digital universe, just as we do in the physical world, giving rise to virtual marketplaces that already move large sums of money.
This is not so far-fetched in an age where humans are already glued to technology, whether professionally, socially or both, and it is speculated that by 2030 we will spend more time in the metaverse than in "real life". As such, the desire to dominate the new virtual spaces reveals an eagerness to control the way people interact with each other, says Pereira.
The retail sector is one of the most heavily invested in the metaverse. For example, Gucci has already started selling its own virtual clothing, the Gucci Virtual 25 trainers and H&M has recently launched its first virtual collection through Nintendo's social simulation game Animal Crossing.
Ikea also uses AR technology in its app to allow customers to create their own spaces and see how furniture would look in the physical world using AR technology.
There are brands that go even further and have no hesitation about making a clear commitment to the metaverse. This is the case for Nike, which has gone so far as to create its own virtual universe: Nikeland. A space that offers access to various sporting arenas, as well as a showroom where users can equip their avatars with Nike shoes to take part in competitions.
The brand also uses it as a testing ground so that younger generations can experience its new products through avatars before purchasing them in real life.
In short, Pereira says the metaverse revolution holds the promise of a digital experience in which the virtual world and the real world intertwine and merge under a single reality. It is now up to brands and retailers to find their place in it and explore its full potential.