January 23, 2022

Digital Marketing Education

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Brands can enter metaverse with virtual stores

“The intent of the virtual shopping experience was to help transform traditional grocery shopping from transactional to an interactive and inspirational experience,” Stephanie Larson, senior planner of customer marketing at General Mills, said in a statement. “The virtual store allowed us to make shopping for, and preparing, delicious game-day snacks and meals easy, fun and interactive.”

To date, the tailgate campaign has earned 13 placements across traditional media and social channels, totaling 596,242 impressions, exceeding General Mills’ projections, according to Larson.

The brand was so pleased with the virtual tailgate results that it created a virtual holiday experience that will run through December. The “Holiday Party” features an open floor plan of a kitchen, dining room, and living room decked out for Christmas. It features holiday entertaining tips like how to prepare a tablescape, or how to pair wines, as well as recipes using General Mills products. Since it began on Nov. 28, there have been 3,849 page views and an average duration session of one minute and 41 seconds.

The virtual stores can also be a way to connect with customers that speak a different language, or expand into new locations. “These virtual stores can be customized and localized to the individual market giving a new unique experience,” Marc Loeb, head of global sales at ByondXR, a company that builds immersive commerce sites, said via email. “This allows brands to enter and test in markets where they may not have yet penetrated in the physical. We are currently seeing tremendous growth in China and the APAC region of the world.”

Lacta, a Brazilian chocolate company owned by Mondelez, is hoping to see similar engagement with its new virtual chocolate shop. The sweets brand worked with ByondXR to set up the virtual store, which will have almost 80 products for sale, from truffles to chocolate bars, and include interactive elements like quizzes to help shoppers find the right gift.

“Food and other CPG products are going to transition to more experience-based selling,” Eran Galil, chief technology officer of ByondXR, said via email. “The metaverse is a new whole level by which the food industry can promote itself and stand out against the competition. Better prices are not enough – brands need to sell a better buying experience.”

Lacta’s products are usually bought in supermarkets, so its current e-commerce website has low traffic and engagement throughout the year, according to Galil. “With the virtual store, [Lacta] now has a ‘home’ of its own that elevates the brand’s presence to a more prestigious one – like top chocolatier specialty stores,” Galil wrote. He adds that the site is still in early days, but that the conversion rate is tracking higher than Lacta’s traditional e-commerce site.