Of course, this is a new frontier, and it does pose some challenges to physical retail stores. While it’s true that digital and physical stores are not mutually exclusive and, in fact, 56% of Americans still prefer in-store shopping, it’s hard to say how the Metaverse will affect these statistics. By creating a more immersive experience, it may be able to fill in the gaps that traditional online shopping does not — such as socialization. And with the world becoming more digital three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the desire to shop through an immersive experience from home may be more appealing.
Another consideration is cost. Virtual real estate in the Metaverse is a coveted commodity, and it’s led to something of a virtual land rush. Earlier this year, a single parcel of land on major metaverse platforms went for an average of $12,000. That doesn’t include the cost of operating systems that can support the Metaverse platform. Of course, business owners must always weigh the cost against the value to determine whether or not something is a worthwhile risk. But if you have a tight budget, this might be a prohibitive cost.
Ultimately, physical stores wanting to join in the Metaverse virtual store while maintaining their physical front should conduct a thorough assessment of cost and budget while planning. They may also want to come up with special offers or incentives for in-store purchases, so that they receive business on both ends.