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If you think the metaverse is just for digital-first, disruptor brands – think again. Ralph Lauren is one of the heritage brands embracing the metaverse as retail’s next frontier. “We are in the dream business,” Ralph Lauren CEO, Patrice Louvet, told show attendees during a discussion about embracing heritage and reimagination. “There’s a great consistency between our philosophy and what the metaverse brings,” Louvet said.

The show highlighted the trend of Gamevertising – a hybrid combination of gaming and advertising – with both Nike and Hyundai having partnered with Roblox to create virtual experiences. Research has found that  67 percent of Roblox users are under the age of 16, this is a clear attempt to reposition how they are seen by a younger audience. The metaverse is up-ending the traditional notion of a retail store . For instance, Burberry, who have created a digital replica of a Tokyo flagship store to give consumers around the world the opportunity to immerse themselves in this brand mecca. Many brands are now launching both digital and physical stores at the same time and likened it to the real estate industry where buyers can purchase both the physical house and the accompanying NFT (non-fungible token). 

Implications: Brands and retailers entering the metaverse are here to stay. Bloomberg calculates the metaverse represents a $800 billion global market opportunity, as the immersive virtual environment unlocks new economic opportunities that redefine brand engagement, product discovery, and online conversions, with augmented reality serving as a stepping stone into the virtual experiences. The metaverse is creating interesting cultural moments and revenue streams. Brands and reailers will need to have a strategy to stay relevant.  .