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No matter what people say, the Metaverse is the hottest topic in marketing right now. Even if the hype is somewhat overblown, virtual worlds are here to stay, offering new opportunities for brands to engage, excite, and profit.

In fact, brands have little to lose and much to gain by entering the Metaverse. Here are 6 examples of trailblazers turning virtual markets into lucrative revenue sources.

Nike: Taking Sportswear into the Metaverse

Sportswear feels like a natural fit for NFT designers, as footwear legends Nike are showing. The sportswear giant truly embraced Metaverse eCommerce with its purchase of RTFKT Studio – one of the leading designers of NFT sneakers.

RTFKT has proven that digital trainers can be profitable, raking in $3.1 million for 600 pairs in just 6 minutes during one 2021 sale. And Nike themselves have invested in patents for virtual footwear, suggesting that they are signed up for the long haul.

In 2021, the company launched Nikeland on the Roblox platform as a place for fans to play, explore, and share experiences. But the RTFKT tie-in is different. Partnering with the largest seller of NFT sneakers on the OpenSea marketplace opens up the world of Web3, where developers and users will be free to experiment with new ideas.

In the future, we can expect to see Nike products that blend real-world and Metaverse features, allowing wearers to showcase their brand fandom everywhere they go.

Nike is far from the only athleisure giant stepping into the Metaverse. Long-term rivals Adidas have translated their Originals collection into digital products, collaborating with designers from the Bored Ape Yacht Club to create the “Into the Metaverse” range.

Priced at 0.2ETH, their NFT-based garments include hoodies and tracksuits for Sandbox users. And the company also has plans for a content center in the online universe, selling new designs as they appear.

Samsung: A New Way to Make Tech Sales

The Metaverse is based on emerging technologies, as brands explore how to deliver complex VR experiences or connections between real-world and virtual businesses. As tech giants evaluate the early potential of Web3, Samsung is head of the pack.

In 2021, the Korean electronics company opened Samsung 837X – a virtual store located in a digital version of New York’s Meatpacking District. Designed to be immersive, 837X blends promotional material, live music events, and quest-like games which explore sustainability-related themes.

As with most current Metaverse projects, the Decentraland-based store offers wearable NFTs and badges. The result is what the company calls an “experiential playground” where art, eCommerce, and technology collide. The idea is to stimulate brand loyalty and sales, both real and virtual. Compared to other tech brands in the Metaverse arena, Samsung is showing what’s possible.

Walmart: Groceries 3.0?

The largest physical retail company in the world is also making the giant leap into Metaverse retail, challenging other sellers in the process. Walmart is creating a collection of NFTs and even its own cryptocurrency for in-store transactions.

Patent documents indicate that the company intends to create NFT-based sporting goods, cosmetics, toys, furnishings, electronic tools, home appliances, musical instruments, and much more. If it can be used in Metaverse properties or worn by avatars, Walmart will surely try to stock it.

Moreover, Walmart’s experiments are heading in some unexpected directions. For instance, the patents include language about virtual reality “physical training services” and “health and nutrition” classes – presumably provided via the firm’s Metaverse locations.

Terms like “Verse to Home” or “Verse to Curb” also hint at fusions of virtual and physical world shopping. It’s a comprehensive vision that features numerous bold plays, and one that offers plenty of hints for rivals.

Balenciaga: The Metaverse’s Fashion Trendsetters

Fashion is the biggest growth area for NFT-based products right now, with technology limiting user capabilities but allowing them to clothe their avatars however they wish. And creative labels have been quick to capitalize.

Cutting-edge brand Balenciaga has been the fastest of all. In 2021, the company dived into Fortnite fashion, offering digital outfits via its virtual boutique. Players could try outfits for size and chat with fellow users. In a neat touch, buyers of real-world Balenciaga apparel could also unlock Fortnite versions for free.

Since then, the Parisian label has added a dedicated Metaverse Business Unit to the corporate hierarchy as it seeks to move beyond gaming skins – a move echoed by Gucci, who have also been first-movers on the Metaverse catwalk.

Gucci also hit the headlines in 2021 with its “Gucci Garden”. Based on Roblox for two weeks, the garden allowed visitors to wander through themed rooms and explore limited edition digital apparel.

While the label itself didn’t create the Garden as a huge money-spinner, resales of those items did attract huge prices. One Gucci bag sold during the event was resold for 350,000 Robux (around $4,115), more than the physical equivalent would cost.

Sephora: Expanding the Boundaries of Beauty Retail

Cosmetics company Sephora has always been on the cutting edge when it comes to virtual and augmented reality, pioneering smartphone make-up samples via its hugely popular Virtual Artist online shopping app. So it's no surprise that the brand is an early adopter of Metaverse retail.

In 2021, the company chose to take its House of Beauty event virtual, creating a 3D environment over 5 spaces, including the Sun Room, Home Theater, the Sephoria Loft, the Family Room, and the Garden.

Visitors to Sephoria 2021 could enter for free and explore the venue, which hosted product showcases, "pop-ins" from celebrity ambassadors, virtual fitting rooms, and virtual games where customers could win Sephora swag. Virtual photo booths and make-up tutorials added extra fun, while there was even a workout zone.

Make-up and fragrances aren't yet in demand among Metaverse avatars, but Sephora shows how brands can still promote their physical products and prepare for new consumer shopping habits. 

Of course, they won't be alone. Clinique has issued NFTs celebrating the brand's past, while lipstick label Nars has partnered with Nintendo to offer cosmetic add-ons for Animal Crossing fans. The cosmetics industry is clearly ready to capitalize, whatever shape the Metaverse takes.

Coca-Cola: Timeless Taste Embraces a New Frontier

Even food and beverage brands are finding ways to promote their identity and expand eCommerce sales on Metaverse platforms. While digital avatars don’t need to eat and drink, their controllers do, and there are plenty of creative ways to use AR and VR to reach them.

Coca-Cola is a great example. In 2021, the company ran an experimental auction via the OpenSea NFT marketplace. With the help of 3D modelers Tafi, it created the Coca-Cola Friendship Box – a visual spin on old-style vending machines.

Customers could bid for four exclusive NFT loot boxes containing unique digital gear, like bubble jacket wearables or a quirky Sound Visualizer. Every winner received a real-world fridge to store their beverages – a clever bridge between the physical world and virtual reality.

Coke also built the experience around International Friendship Day, giving it enhanced brand appeal. And the proceeds of more than $1 million were donated to charity. All-in-all, it was a great way to promote positive customer vibes while experimenting with NFTs.

Other beverage brands are exploring what the virtual world has to offer. For instance, Molson Coors is creating the Meta Lite Bar in Decentraland to coincide with the 2022 Super Bowl. Featuring darts and pool games, the augmented reality tavern will serve as a place for over-21s to socialize, win prizes, and even pour virtual beers.

Partner with ARsenal to Create 3D Assets for the Metaverse

The world's biggest brands are preparing for the age of the Metaverse and companies cannot afford to be left on the sidelines. From beverages to Balenciaga apparel, virtual worlds are proving to be fertile marketing spaces. And as the Web3 technology behind them matures, we can expect ever more complex and immersive virtual shopping experiences.

Fortunately, playing a starring role on the virtual stage isn't out of reach for small and medium-sized eCommerce companies. No matter what sector you operate in, it's possible to commission high-quality 3D models that can be used as the basis for NFTs, digital environments, and other mixed reality experiences.

ARsenal by CGTrader allows you to turn real-world items into models that are ready for use in Metaverse locations. Convert product catalogs into digital forms, or let your creativity roam even further - taking advantage of the freedom that Web3 provides.

Consumers expect brands to be bold and experiment, and the pressure to innovate will only become more intense as online worlds become mainstream. Unlock your creativity and add a new dimension to your digital commerce with the help of CGTrader Arsenal.

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6 Creative Brands That Are Leading in the Metaverse

Lara Oliveira is a Content Manager at ARsenal. With over a decade of experience writing across corporates and startups, she is now focused on helping companies innovate with 3D and AR technology. Reach out to her at pr@cgtrader.com to talk about possible content collaborations!

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