The metaverse is getting a ton of hype these days, and many of the world’s biggest companies are jockeying to stake their claim in the next evolution of the digital age.
But what exactly is the metaverse? It remains a somewhat amorphous concept that means different things to different people. However, one fact is clear: the metaverse is the future of online commerce. It is a 3D virtual universe where people will shop for and purchase products in entirely new ways.
This has a lot of implications for retailers. It requires that they learn to present their products to online consumers in an immersive way. It requires that they place the right visual assets and content on their websites to engage customers and elevate their shopping experience. In short, it requires that they learn to do business in the metaverse – or get left behind in a cold, lonely space where customers seldom go.
Here are three steps retailers can take to reshape their operations and succeed in the metaverse.
1: Kill Static Product Photos – or Be Killed
Traditional product photography is an outdated process. Yes, visuals remain the most critical asset for ensuring online sales. But producing visuals the conventional way is expensive, inefficient, and time-consuming. For starters, once you shoot a product, it’s impossible to modify or update the visual without reshooting. Photoshoots are also a logistical nightmare, requiring professional photographers, a team of on-site staff, post-production, and more. All this adds up to very high costs to fulfill your growing and ever-evolving product-visual needs.
To succeed in the metaverse, it is critical for retailers to replace traditional product photography with computer-generated imagery (CGI) and 3D-rendering technology. This is how you can start to create high-quality 3D product visuals that are infinitely changeable and always shoppable. Better still, with 3D visualization, you can update, refresh and adapt product photos for highly personalized and dynamic customer experiences – all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional photo shoot.
The good news is that there are now SaaS visual content platforms that make it easy for any retailer to reap the benefits of CGI and 3D visualization – and take their product merchandising to greater heights. It’s critically important to work with a company that offers next-generation product visual solutions, and that can be you with every step of the way as you gradually cross into the metaverse.
2: Get First in Line for 3D Indexing and Jump to the Top of Google Search
When you digitize your product catalog with 3D photo technology, you make it possible for customers to visualize your products in various situations and see precisely how those products will fit into their lives. For instance, if an online furniture retailer has an entirely digitized catalog, it can invite a customer who’s shopping for a new bedroom set to see how each piece will look when placed in their actual bedroom.
A digital product catalog will be a vital bridge to the metaverse, helping retailers prepare for the future of commerce while at the same time saving money and eliminating the pain points associated with traditional photographic images.
Every retailer must get ahead of this now and start thinking deeply about the metaverse. If you don’t believe me, you’ll probably believe Google. After all, Google is now indexing 3D product visuals, so these types of images will be essential if you want to be near the top of Google search results – and be seen in the metaverse.
3: Mine a Wealth of Customer Data from 3D Visuals
Product visuals are one of the best opportunities you have to learn more about your customers. You can gather data from your product images and see which visuals customers like the most and drive the most shopping-cart placements.
With CGI and 3D visualization, you can customize and modify images to improve A/B testing. People aren’t one-size-fits-all, and your product images shouldn’t be either. You can test which visuals engage customers the best, easily adapting color, style, and products in visuals to trigger more purchases.
Better still, you can use this data to improve the entire customer journey and prepare for business in the metaverse.
Like our universe, the metaverse is a limitless space with endless possibilities. It’s an augmented reality where savvy retailers can significantly augment their sales. But success in the metaverse will not happen overnight. Retailers will find their footing there by small steps, not giant leaps.
They must start now. After all, the best way to learn is by doing – and the retailers who enter the metaverse today will be those that succeed quickest when the metaverse is up and running and open for business.
By Alexandre de Vigan, CEO, nfinite.