From hype to a new business model
A fashion week is always a big deal for the fashion industry and fashionistas from all over the world, no matter whether it’s in New York, Milan, Paris, or Berlin.
But a very special fashion week took place for the first time running from 24 to 27 March 2022. The “location” was the famous metaverse. Around 60 designers and fashion companies, including well-known brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, and Elie Saab, showcased their collections in this virtual world.
Nearly 108,000 visitors navigated this fashion week as avatars and enjoyed the creations in over 70 shows and 36 cyberstores. The individual pieces could be purchased directly from the companies or from the virtual department store of the British retailer Selfridges as digital versions; in some cases these could later be exchanged for physical products.
The term “metaverse” is not new. It originated 30 years ago in Neal Stephenson’s novel Snow Crash. This novel describes a virtual world called the Metaverse in which humanity could escape the “meat space,” becoming increasingly dystopian.
And virtual worlds in which visitors can move around as avatars, interact with each other, and purchase virtual products are not new either. The best-known example is Second Life, launched by the developer LindenLab in 2003. Often ridiculed for its slow success, the platform still generates remarkable revenues by selling virtual properties and products (exact revenue figures are not available, mostly figures between $75 and $100 million are mentioned). However, the metaverse differs from Second Life in significant ways. For example, the metaverse is not driven by a single developer but by various companies – most notably Microsoft and Meta.
Unlike Second Life, the metaverse is decentralized in philosophy and technology. In addition, it creates a link between the physical world and the digital, virtual world. It is always “up and running,” and there is no limit to the number of users. And there is one more advantage. Digital objects can be freely exchanged in the metaverse.
Your Guide Through the Maze of Terms
When dealing with the metaverse, you will repeatedly come across several terms, and their meanings are often not entirely clear. We explain the most important ones for you.
We already offer such a solution today. Here is an overview of the functions:
- Cost-efficient, automated, data-based production of visual 3D content of the highest quality.
- Support for Universal Scene Description (USD) files – each asset can be used for AR and VR as well as for offline rendering
- Delivery of content through our Content Delivery Network (CDN) to all applications worldwide
- Marketplace and exchange for 3D assets
- Provision of NFTs for digital twins of real-world models such as furniture, clothing, and more
Development of new target groups and business areas
Companies can leverage their presence in the metaverse to tap into previously inaccessible target groups, such as consumers with a particular affinity for digital media or those who did not find the desired consulting experience in two-dimensional eCommerce.
New products or product ranges
Digital versions of real products open new sales opportunities; for example, experience in the fashion industry shows that customers are willing to pay for them.
New shopping experience for customers
The fusion of the physical and virtual worlds and the highly personalized digital interaction with customers enable a new kind of customer experience.
New channel for marketing and PR
Metaverse users immerse themselves as avatars in branded brand worlds. They can experience companies and products more authentically than possible with websites, online stores, or social media.
New brand image
Early presence in the metaverse positions companies, municipal governments, and institutions as open-minded and innovative.
New possibilities for market research
The metaverse offers a wide range of possibilities for market research. Products can first be tested in digital form in the metaverse before they are manufactured in real life.
Companies can achieve significant savings thanks to the new possibilities of digital interaction, such as virtual, highly personalized customer advice or virtual collaboration with partners.
New ways of working
The metaverse opens new ways of collaboration between companies and their partners. It also redefines remote working because it enables interactivity and team-based work in the virtual space.
New policy regarding a company’s location
A company’s virtual presence in the metaverse means that it will have scope to rethink the company strategy for its presence in the real world.