Luxury marketing has always ridden the waves of technological change and innovation to stay relevant. The metaverse is another channel to reach the next generation of emerging affluent customers.  

To learn how you can begin your journey, please read our playbook.

Everything old is new again

At Sitecore, our view, with the help of Microsoft, is that the metaverse (or extended reality if you prefer) is going to be the next big thing in luxury marketing. Use cases are emerging all the time, and the platforms that position you for success will allow you to orchestrate rich and immersive content, deepen personalization, and facilitate commerce on your terms.  

Analysts like to stress the novelty of the metaverse, but luxury marketers have a history of mastering innovative channels. Let’s consider the case of high-end perfume.  Before the 1960s, most advertising tended to stress the product itself – often just featuring the fragrance bottle and stating a few customer benefits. In the 1900s, these black-and-white, full-page ads were revolutionary. Decades later, they were not connecting with younger customers. 

Chanel’s creative force, Jacques Helleu, realized that desire was the engine of luxury commerce. The ads had to change. The marketing had to change.  

As the 1960s gave way to the 1970s, the rise of color television revolutionized the way that brands interacted with their customers – especially the younger generation ones that would power the next half- century of growth. The ads were not about the product, but about people becoming their ideal self (using perfume). What better way to ignite that desire in this young, emerging affluent generation than through color TV?

The same story played out during the rise of the internet, and then through the shift to mobile. Again and again, the luxury industry reinvented itself to engage with customers in the most relevant way and by figuring out how to ignite human desire – the essence of luxury branding – through 0s and 1s. 

Image of Aston Martin Home Page

Enter the metaverse 

Another generation of innovators grew up in the age of 3D gaming. For them, virtual worlds are the place where they can self-actualize and become their true self. They are comfortable with using augmented reality apps and virtually trying on different kinds of lipstick.

This generation is unleashing their creativity by imagining new luxury experiences such as online showrooms, virtual catwalks, VIP experiences, and other immersive touchpoints. According to Gartner, a quarter of the global population will spend upwards of one hour every day in the metaverse by 2026. 

No matter where in the metaverse hype cycle we find ourselves, the long-term trend toward immersive marketing is undeniable. 

Where to start in the metaverse 

“It feels like we’re in the early days of the internet,” said one luxury executive at Sitecore Symposium 2022.  “I just don’t know where I should start.” 

While a paradigm shift in new technology can feel daunting, the foundations for building a thriving metaverse channel can be built today. We suggest three essential investments – content management, personalization, and commerce. 

It all starts with content. The metaverse is a hungry place. As digital experiences take advantage of the creative opportunities provided by the third dimension, the velocity of content increases exponentially. In order to create and orchestrate this content, brands must ensure their content management platforms are ready to meet this challenge. Unless the underlying economics of content are managed properly with the right investments, projecting a solid ROI upon entering the metaverse might look daunting.

Personalization is the second key pillar for your journey into the metaverse. Just as web content can be deployed on-demand to match personas visiting your webpage, three-dimensional content can be called upon to match a particular customer’s needs. For example, if a customer’s interactions have revealed that she wants to purchase luxury glasses for use at a beach, the 3D storefront can transform to a beach setting.

Finally, commerce in the metaverse should be platform independent. Trusting someone else to build your metaverse experiences leaves you at the mercy of a platform provider who can take nearly 30% of each transaction. If your luxury brand can leverage robust commerce capabilities, the independence (and revenue) you gain will truly reward you for the hard work needed to create such innovative experiences. 

The way forward in the metaverse

Each 2D analog has a 3D equivalent, and the best way forward to is leverage modern best practices to build out what works today. 

To learn how Sitecore and Microsoft can help you begin your journey, please reach out to us today. We look forward to helping you reimagine the future of luxury retail.   

Aswin Mannepalli is Global Director for Industry Product Marketing at Sitecore. Connect with him on LinkedIn

Jacquline Baxter is Digital Strategist, CX at Sitecore. Connect with her on LinkedIn