The future of shopping - Changing Consumers’ Mindset through Metaverse Immersive Experiences: hibe Case Study
Authors: Hugo Alcantara, Cesar Alcantara
Abstract: 2021 represents the consolidation for e-commerce growth globally. Started in 2020, driven by COVID19 pandemic, consumers have been forced to drastically change their behaviors and preferences.Due to the disruption caused, people needed to remain at home to be safe, thus, ecommerce platforms represented a life saver as consumers were able to buy online and, either wait for the products to be delivered or decide to pick them up.Several platforms such as Amazon or Mercado Libre, retail ecommerce like Walmart and brand D2C platforms showed huge YoY growth, accelerating the adoption of these technologies as people are getting more comfortable by using them.However, there is one problem that remains unsolved. In countries like Mexico or China, shopping is seen as a leisure activity in which people enjoy by socializing with friends and family while having meaningful in-store experiences.It becomes more relevant when is deeply affecting Gen Z, the largest population cohort with more than 2.5 billion people, especially in two key topics:1.Individuals within this cohort have had to perform in-home most of the typical outdoor activities, such as shopping. 2.Even though Gen Z is digital native, 72% of them consider that the physical interaction and experiences are as, or more, important as digital experiences.Thus, we identified some questions to be answered: How to develop a technological solution to provide consumers a meaningful, yet safe, digital/physical shopping experience? What behaviors need to be changed? Which technologies are now available to do so?To answer these questions, we focused on ways to improve the UX offered by ecommerce platforms, trying to follow a different direction than the “1-click” model. Therefore, we found a solution within the metaverse, which enabled us to provide meaningful and immersive experiences to consumers focused especially on Gen Z, a generation with needs, limitations, and skills different from others. We have called the solution “hibe”.hibe is the first virtual mall in Mexico within a metaverse. It was built including an e-commerce platform as the boutiques’ engine, as well as gaming and advertising capabilities across the mall. In addition, we have followed a phygital model, to organically connect the digital and physical worlds through meaningful and immersive experiences.For our first use case we collaborated with adidas Mexico. Together, we launched 3 different models of sneaker’s collaboration with Jeremy Scott. We developed experiences in hibe to enable more than 1,000 users to win the opportunity to buy them, making it fair and clear for everyone. To close the experience, they had to go to a “Lust” boutique, pay, live an in-store brand experience, and pick their sneakers up.Overall, we conclude that users, are eager to try new-immersive experiences we are offering with our venture. They have highlighted how important is for brands to improve the way they connect and engage their consumers. hibe now represents a venture approaching this field of practical application in Mexico, just like Roblox and Fortnite are doing abroad.
Keywords: UX, metaverse, experience, virtual, phygital, Gen Z
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