If you are over 30, the very idea of visiting a design shop with your avatar is very likely to give you chills. But if you are over thirty you also know that it is very difficult to stop changes, even when they come with the face of a video game.
So wondering if the metaverse will change retail design makes sense. Even if your name is not Nike or Dolce&Gabbana, brands that have long since launched (called "drop" in jargon) their own NFT. Because they know their young or very young customers well and do not let themselves be distracted by tech biases: all those beliefs about technology that typically make it difficult to have a rational opinion.
What the big brands of the metaverse have understood
Big brands know that:
- Millennials are strongly geared towards experiences and personalized products, which in the metaverse are easier to obtain and even to design individually
- the GenZ, the one born after 1995, as well as the GenAlpha, which at the moment is still at school, will not stop attending the metaverse once adult.
- While not knowing exactly what will happen, and while not based on the bombastic figures of the turnover expected in 2030 on metaverse (8/13 trillion dollars), they bet on new technologies because those who do not he did it in the past he was wrong.
The metaverse is therefore here to stay
And to be populated also by retail design and by forms of distribution and sale that are still to be planned. But it is not said that it will be terrible, quite the contrary. Let's imagine we could design a showroom (as long as it still makes sense in VR) on Decentraland.
The possibilities are endless, no physical limits are known and, as says here the archistar Bjarke Ingels, by designers and design professionals, is an opportunity to do things better and experience a new reality.
How to deal with the shock? With calm, research, experimentation. And based on their own values: Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana for example started with the idea of family, home, warmth, to create a community virtual based on decidedly Mediterranean values.
The key point is: what will happen in the VR / AR showrooms?
Examples of luxury or large-scale distribution brands that are experimenting or even registering new brands for products virtual or hybrid come to the aid.
The starting point is the experience: personalizing, exploring, understanding how an object works and how it is made (also from a production point of view), is essential for those who buy online. Younger customers and those of the future will want to "touch" what they want to buy, even if only virtually. Dyson for example has chosen an interesting path: you "enter" the object to understand how it works.
What will be designed for the metaverse?
Another interesting aspect. Balenciaga for example has signed the skins for Fortnite. The mood is always the same, a little aftermath, a little urban and even a little bad. His physical collection does not differ much from this aesthetic choice and it is evident that a hybridization of forms has already begun, a dialogue between real and virtual that will change the way of imagining the appearance of objects.
It is clear that those who have so far worked only in the metaverse, such as the designer Andreas Reisinger, will not escape the seduction of becoming three-dimensional when given the opportunity. So why not take the reverse step and go from the concrete to the virtual object?
You could potentially visit a showroom of wonders, located on a planet with black and white polka dots, with the shop assistants with a fox's head. And once you have chosen the sofa, for example, change its color, texture, composition. Understanding how it is produced and if, for example, it is sustainable. And maybe even buy one for the home virtual, or a macro version to use as a monument in the garden.
Retail design has an opportunity in the metaverse
Fortunately, made in Italy knows how to do it, it is certainly not the first time that it has changed the cards and revolutionized people's lifestyle. However, the inertia due to skepticism is frightening. Maybe a partnership with fashion could be useful? Dolce&Gabbana recently made its intelligent debut in the virtual world, with a NFT collection (which has reached stellar prices) and the creation of a community (another key point) with a ecosystem of benefits and previews.
The comment of the two stylists was: "For Dolce & amp; Gabbana fashion has always been a fusion of very distant worlds and new technologies have inspired the vision of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana from the very beginning - explain from the company -.
The new community #DGFamily Nft represents the digital equivalent of one of the cornerstones of the brand's DNA: the idea of a family, a community of people who find themselves united by shared passions and values".