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Meta recent announcement that its senior management will be working remotely from different corners of the world, from Israel and New York, to California and the UK, symbolizes an exciting new era. The decision goes beyond embracing remote work; it’s a testament to the efficiency of the metaverse, central to Meta’s growth aspirations. By working in the metaverse, the company seeks to prove that teams can collaborate and function effectively in an interactive, conversational, and realistic Internet. If successful, the move will once again disrupt the return to the physical office.
But here’s what’s interesting. The metaverse could disrupt not only the physical office, but also asset classes in real estate. Look at luxury retail store owners and shopping mall owners and then luxury apartment builders – all should start looking at how an immersive internet can redefine the way they sell goods and build customer loyalty. Here’s an overview of what that means.
Related: 3 Ways to Build Lasting Wealth in the Metaverse
Commercial Spaces and the Metaverse
The pandemic and the onward march of e-commerce have presented ongoing challenges for retail business owners and mall owners. In the face of record vacancy rates and store closures, tenants are increasingly looking for something extra to attract customers to physical spaces.
Look at Gucci, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, and Nike: their exciting metaverse launches range from a set of immersive experiences to limited-edition digital handbags. Other retail brands quickly realize they need to do something similar and rent space in a virtual store that helps organize and build community is a surefire way to do it. But not everyone is Gucci, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga or Nike. And therein lies the opportunity.
Retail owners and mall owners should create digital replicas of their assets in the metaverse and then rent the virtual and physical space together. In doing so, they allow tenants to create a solid interaction between the real and virtual worlds.
“Purchase our limited edition shirt in our virtual store to access our exclusive event in our flagship store” creates a new conversation with a customer and gives them a new reason to return to the physical store. Of course, both landlord and tenant benefit when this happens.
Related: Target will open mini Apple Stores to attract post-pandemic shoppers
Luxury apartments meet the metaverse
When do luxury condos sell well? When they’ve managed to generate significant buzz – and the metaverse serves as their means of doing so.
Here’s one way to approach it: Build a virtual replica of an ongoing residential development and allow interested buyers to own parts of the virtual development through limited-edition NFTs, which will then unlock preferential pricing and access to condos physical.
NFTs encode proof of ownership and can be rationed based on demand, helping developers reinvent the conventional waiting list. Additionally, the same NFTs can be leveraged to create even more buzz, tying their ownership to exclusive perks, as physical development comes online in the marketplace.
Scarcity and exclusivity reinforce mimetic desires, and NFTs related to virtual developments amplify this. It’s a marketing strategy that we’ll see more of in the years to come.
Related: NFT: the new bedrock of the virtual economy
Hotels and the Metaverse
Hotels are working diligently to differentiate their brands, and the Metaverse is giving them a new way to do that. Take the example of the Four Seasons in Bali and imagine a digital wellness retreat hosted by management in the hotel’s new metaverse property. Thousands of users log in, roam the digital property and participate in online activities. Many share it with their friends and subconsciously record this digital experience.
Now imagine that a given percentage of those thousands of users (and their friends) are planning a trip to Bali in real life. Are they more or less likely to book at the Four Seasons? More likely, of course. Digital familiarity improves brand awareness, and the metaverse will allow hotels to improve their existing funnel – a lifeline for their businesses.
The internet is entering a new, immersive era built on the metaverse, and it will have ramifications for players in the built world. Although in its infancy, mall owners, condo developers and hotel operators who take note of the opportunity will see huge long-term benefits.