What the metaverse means for retail and consumer goods

(Source: Biascioli Alessandro via Envato.)

It seems like every day a new piece of content is published about the metaverse that defines the metaverse, projects its market size, and offers frameworks for conceptual understanding. But the big question is, What does the metaverse mean to my customers and my business?

Identifying opportunities for retailers  

At Microsoft, we break down the metaverse into three strategies: consumer, enterprise, and industrial. Each strategy unlocks specific use cases, as an effective way for retailers to identify where the metaverse can have an impact. 

Consumer metaverse

Centred around online gaming and Xbox, providing a platform for users to collaborate, engage with immersive experiences to explore, play games with their friends, and shop.  

Use cases include:

  • Virtual Stores. Immersive shopping experiences brought to life through digital products, interactive content, and store-associate interaction. Virtual stores enable brands to interact and connect with their customers at a new level.
  • Virtual Worlds & Experiences. Branded worlds & pop-up experiences for consumers to shop and interact with other customers. 
  • Augmented Store Experiences. Use a mixed reality in-store to drive engagement, connection, and conversions of physical products such as virtual fitting rooms, virtual try-on, and body scanning.
  • Games & Engagement. Branded game experiences that provide interactive ways for customers to engage. 
  • Branded Virtual Products. Creation of virtual products, either recreated replicas of traditional physical products or digital only, for consumer avatars to use in the metaverse.
  • NFTs and Loyalty. Virtual items that serve as membership into branded loyalty programs based on incentivised behaviour.


Enterprise use cases focus on opportunities for employees, with immersive experiences to collaborate seamlessly, learn new skills, and empower front-line workers.   

Use cases include:

  • Training. Empower employees with immersive virtual or mixed reality experiences to learn new skills, processes, and procedures and improve knowledge retention.
  • Product Design & Collaboration. Create private, secure, virtual spaces for geographically distributed teams to collaborate on product design and development lifecycle.
  • Employee Recruitment & Onboarding. Attract, ramp up, and retain talent by creating private, virtual worlds for employee collaboration and culture building.
  • Front Line Worker Empowerment. Provide front-line workers with the confidence they need to engage and convert customers through immersive experiences tied to unified customer profiles.
  • Store Layout Visualisation. Create virtual planograms for associates to collaborate on core store-visualisation tasks such as merchandising, store layout and seasonal updates.


Fuelled by real-time data and sensors that will bring IoT, AI, and AR/VR/MR together for continuous simulation with digital twins to drive efficiency, scale, and insights to factory floors and supply chain fulfilment centres

  • Digital Twins. Fuel the digitisation of physical assets with real-time data to design, analyse, manipulate, and optimise products in a scalable manner through continuous simulation.
  • Manufacturing Design, Safety & Testing. Virtually test and install new devices and software to simulate interaction with existing assets without disturbing the production line.
  • Simulate & Refine Processes. Run scenarios of new and improved processes and workflows without impacting physical assets.
  • Data visualisation. Bring to life insights via data from and sensors from IoT, AI, and mixed reality to analyse, monitor and predict scenario outcomes.

These use cases are not meant to be a complete, comprehensive set, but are meant to inspire you to think about the types of business challenges you could apply a metaverse strategy to.

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In this live digital event, our expert panel will share their metaverse learnings and the insights obtained from working with some of the largest retailers in ANZ and across the world.

From customer conversations and real-world strategies to practical recommendations that you can apply, our speakers will help you deepen your metaverse knowledge.

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About the author: Mike Edmonds is the senior director, business strategy, worldwide retail & consumer goods, at Microsoft.

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