The metaverse is gradually rising in its search volume over different search engines. Of course, one could ascribe this to the energy that Meta, formerly Facebook, has put into it in the recent past. In fact, some people think that Meta is currently being negatively affected by its investment in the metaverse project. Here are a few things that have happened in the metaverse this week.
3 Things About Meta Platforms That Smart Investors Know
No doubt, it has been an unpalatable year for Meta as its shares tumbled down more than 70%. As it stands, the company has lost an estimated $660 billion in value — roughly equivalent to the total market cap of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. With the current condition of Meta, it becomes a question as to whether this is a good time for investors to buy or sell. A lot has been happening within the ranks of Meta and investors are not oblivious to them.
First, Meta Platforms has now spent over $36 billion on the metaverse. This is a reflection of the degree of interest that Zuckerberg has in the virtual 3D space. He has made presentations from the metaverse and has changed the company’s name from Facebook to Meta, which is a further reflection of his vision. As the bills for the metaverse have come due, Meta’s share price has tanked. Secondly, most investors, if not all, know that Meta’s free cash flow shrank from $12.8 billion to $317 million in less than a year. This is the company’s lowest turnover in over a decade. Meta’s overall fundamentals have deteriorated. Lower overall ad spending and competition from TikTok are hurting the core Facebook and Instagram businesses.
Investors should know, if they don’t already know, that the structure of shareholding at Meta means that Mark Zuckerberg holds all the cards when it comes to the company’s future. Even though Zuckerberg holds only about 13% of the common stock, he owns more than 57% of the voting shares. What this means is that Zuckerberg can run Meta however he wants; there is no clear way for shareholders to oust him from his role as CEO.
Ralph Lauren Launches New Collection And Logo With Fortnite on Metaverse
Ralph Lauren, the iconic fashion brand that you know, has officially announced its partnership with Fortnite, another massively popular online metaverse-adjacent video game. Ralph Lauren has also redesigned its classic logo for the first time, transforming it from a horse to a cartoon llama. The Polo Stadium Collection are both online and offline, and they include a limited number of physical items including hoodies, sweatshirts, sweatpants, button-down shirts, polo shirts and caps. Some of these items became available on November 2, with others scheduled to drop in early December. According to the company, prices will range from $59.50 to $188, featuring the new Fortnite Llama logo. Digital outfits will drop for in-game sales between November 5 and 12, priced around 1,500 VBUX (or six U.S. dollars).
Already, Fortnite boasts almost 400 million registered players who trade, build, and buy on the platform, which brought in $5.8 billion in revenue for 2021. The Polo brand is not the first fashion brand pitching its tent in the metaverse. Balenciaga, Moncler, Marvel and Nike have been featured in Fortnite, Gucci has an entire world in Roblox called “‘Gucci Town,” and Burberry recently announced a partnership with Minecraft.
Why Customer Experience is at the Center of Metaverse Retail
Following COVID-19 and the technology that came with it, a lot has changed about how retail companies carry out their business activities. New and immersive technologies like virtual reality (VR), extended reality (XR) and mixed reality (MR) are changing consumer behavior, employee expectations and the shopping experience. Retail is migrating to the metaverse. No doubt, the gaming industry seemed to be the first to embrace these new technologies, but today, big and small companies have little options than to follow suit. According to a 2022 Raydiant consumer behavior study, 56.6% of survey respondents prefer to shop online rather than in person — almost a 10% increase from 2020. In another study by PwC, about 32% of VR users shopped on VR platforms in the first half of 2022. In the words of Betsy Morse Rohtbart, VP, Global Web and Ecommerce at Vonage:
“By using communications technology through social and messaging platforms, online retailers are breaking through the bricks and mortar and directly connecting with customers (both reactively and proactively) and, in doing so, moving past the one-time transactions to two-way conversations and ongoing engagement for more meaningful relationships.”
Lauren Mathews, a writer covering retail, added that:
“While physical retail has exceeded expectations, the pandemic has forever altered how we shop in person. Consumers expect stores to be digital-first, focused on speed, convenience, and community. As retailers navigate the future of physical retail, they will need to transform their store strategies to meet evolving customer needs.”
Customer experience will remain a key aspect of retail. Even in the metaverse, consumers will be looking for convenient and pleasant experiences. According to Scott Keeney, Chief Metaverse Officer (CMTO) at TSX Entertainment, there’s a need to stop these lofty jargon and focus on giving consumers explosive experiences. In the end, people rarely care how the meal is cooked: they just want to have something that tastes good and is healthy.