NEW YORK—Eighty-three percent of consumers show interest in making purchases via the metaverse, according to research from Accenture, while 42% of survey respondents said they had visited a retailer in the virtual world to get advice, make a payment or browse a product range when shopping for a physical item. Fifty-six percent of respondents plan to in the next year. Among millennials, these figures increase to 51% and 61%, respectively.
Almost two-thirds (64%) of consumers have already purchased a virtual good or taken part in a virtual experience or service in the past year.
According to the Accenture, more than half (55%) of consumers agree that more of their lives and livelihoods are moving into digital spaces. In response, the vast majority (90%) of retail executives say that they anticipate that leading organizations will push the boundaries of the virtual world to make it more real, increasing the need for persistence and seamless navigation between the digital and physical worlds. What’s more, 72% of global executives state that the metaverse will have a positive impact on their organizations, with 45% believing it will be breakthrough or transformational.
“The metaverse era has begun, and so for consumer-facing companies, it’s not about deciding if they’re going to go into the metaverse, it’s deciding how,’’ said Jill Standish, senior managing director and global head of Accenture’s Retail industry group. “Retailers and brands will need to reimagine and experiment with what new immersive and consultative experiences could mean to consumers. In addition to new opportunities to sell, the metaverse can also help build loyalty through experiences that go beyond just buying a product.”
Restaurants are experimenting in the metaverse. Last year, Chipotle built a restaurant on Roblox’s gaming platform for a Halloween promotion, and the fast-casual restaurant is now launching a game and new virtual restaurant on the same platform. The restaurant looks like Chipotle’s original restaurant in Denver, and up to 100,000 players who successfully roll a virtual burrito in the game will earn “Burrito Bucks” good for real food at Chipotle restaurants in the real world.
Chipotle loyalty program members also can trade in their reward points for Roblox gift cards on Chipotle’s app or website, plus Chipotle is making a special burrito available for order in the app that includes ingredients voted on by Roblox users and others in a Twitter poll.
Wendy’s recently opened a virtual restaurant in Horizon Worlds, the virtual reality game from Meta. McDonald’s has reportedly filed patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that would allow it to open a virtual restaurant in the metaverse that would deliver food online and in person.