Is retail ready for the phygital future?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Spieckerman Retail blog and a synopsis of the key takeaways from the latest Spieckerman Speaks Retail podcast.
Brands have focused their brand stories and customer relationships with determination to reach their digital destiny, yet traditional two-dimensional experiences haven’t evolved to meet the opportunity. Luckily, the landscape is set to change with a wave of innovation that will be unleashed in 2022 and beyond.
The CEO of ByondXR, Noam Levavi, is getting the ball rolling by creating immersive interactive 3D journeys in shoppable virtual environments.
Mr. Levavi defines XR, or extended reality, as an umbrella term for all immersive technology that merges both the physical and virtual worlds. He sees the metaverse as the next evolution of the internet that will be based on a 3D environment in contrast to the 2D feeds that still dominate e-commerce. Mr. Levavi claims that the current 2D feeds and layouts bring “no real experience” for consumers shopping online and that brick-and-mortar experiences are far more customized and engaging.
The company’s mission is to fuse the best properties of the physical world with the latest commerce and display technology to create compelling “phygital” experiences. ByondXR’s data confirms that its shoppable 3D virtual environments and gamification elements exponentially increase engagement. In Japan, for example, users play branded games hundreds of times over, even though rewards kick in after only one session.
Mr. Levavi explains that the company’s collection of more data helps continually optimize customer experiences. “Eventually you will be able to personalize the store for each user, so the customer will see exactly the product they want in the colors they like.” To further enhance virtual experiences, influencers will be brought into virtual stores to introduce potentially millions of followers to brands.
He predicts that, even though now “closed gardens of mini-metaverses” operate primarily in gaming, “eventually, everything will be connected.” Mr. Levavi anticipates a flood of new devices to hit the market starting next year, including headsets, bio-wearables, XR contact lenses and brain machine interfaces. After five years, usage will expand beyond gamers and early adopters. Then the market will reach a “tipping point” and massive adoption will follow, at which time he expects familiar screen devices like mobile phones and desktops to disappear entirely.
- Is Retail Ready for the Phygital Future? (podcast) – Spieckerman Retail
- Is Retail Ready for the Phygital Future? (transcript) – Spieckerman Retail
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you see as the next evolution in the merging of physical and virtual shopping spaces? Do you agree that 3D-gamification and aspects of the metaverse will be integral to the online shopping experience within five years?