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What is Metaverse?

What if we tell you that you could shop from a retail store not through its website or app but by virtually visiting the store with a VR headset on? Or imagine being able to order merchandise while playing a game within the game. Such innovations could mean a lot of shocks and surprises for retailing and retailers. If the concept takes off as much as the buzz it has been creating off late, it could well bifurcate even eCommerce into an old and new version.

Metaverse is nothing but any digital/technological platform that is capable of delivering a more realistic or virtual experience to users with or without the potential for giving effect to real-life situations. There may have been no necessity for this term at all; probably the reason why even the experts leave defining it open for interpretation. The concept of metaverse is the coming together of technologies for creating and delivering a verisimilitude experience to the audiences and customers. For instance, the PlayStation or Xbox controller that shakes when particular in-game situations happen is also an example of metaverse. The internet is also an early version of what we are now calling metaverse. You could shop as if you are in a marketplace. The same applies to phones as well. You can speak to someone as if they are in front of you. It is like technology and experience reaching another level of relationship.

In this blog, we shall explore ideas and options on how different retail brick & mortar businesses can embrace metaverse in varying degrees and possibly, also start a metaverse store in the near future.

Departmental Stores and Supermarkets

Departmental stores and supermarket brands that have not yet gone omnichannel are already facing stiff competition from their omnichannel counterparts and dark stores. Adopting metaverse will necessitate them to take up digital transformation. But metaverse is more about the experience factor. These businesses will have to work on that. One initiative towards embracing metaverse could be having online cameras for live-viewing of merchandised inventory in stores. The idea is to compensate for the fact that a customer is actually not in the store. This must be followed by giving customers the option of adding items to their carts by tapping on their phone screen.

Fashion Retail

A strong reason for many customers not buying fashion products online, especially apparel and footwear products is the lack of validation. In online shopping, customers are deprived of the experience of checking out how a particular dress or footwear would look on them. This is where physical retailers have an upper hand. By going digital and adding the element of VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality), retailers could further leverage this competitive edge against both online and offline retailers. Using virtual 3D avatars, customers could see how a dress or footwear would look on them. They could try hundreds of products and select the best ones for themselves. Businesses would get sales even during closed hours with home delivery or pickup features. Many renowned brands have already started making advancements in this area. Along with lending a novel and fun experience of shopping in the metaverse, it could be a huge competitive advantage for the early starters.

Beauty and Personal Care

Retailers usually do not face any problems with renowned and popular brands of beauty and personal care products. The problem emerges in encouraging customers to try new brands and products. This problem can be contained to a significant extent by displaying pre-recorded videos of product application videos (preferably short videos) on display screens in stores. The services of relevant social media influencers and local makeup artists could be availed to make these videos. Wait, does that count as metaverse? Metaverse need not always mean ARs and VRs. The essence is the experience that can be realistic and/or virtual. The same approach could be applied digitally for omnichannel shopping, or what we may now rightfully call metaverse shopping.

Health & Wellness

Access to high-quality healthcare and wellness products and services has always been a hurdle for people living in semi-urban and remote areas. Ecommerce and remote consulting have solved this problem to some extent. The metaverse approach could help organisations in this sector deliver a much better experience while the matter of accessibility will depend on the prevalent IT and internet infrastructure. For instance, doctors could have a look at their patients via VR technology in relevant cases for prima facie examinations. One may argue that such facilities already exist. Yes, they do. That is why we said earlier that the term metaverse better serves novelty in nomenclature. The difference is in the quality of the experience traded.

Automobile and Auto Accessories

Automakers like Mercedes, Toyota, Kia and many others already have virtual showrooms. Without physically visiting these showrooms, customers can peek into the exteriors and interiors of the cars. They can swap between day and night modes and check the lights. They can switch to any seat of the car for viewing perspective. Even the doors can be opened and closed. Maybe someday we will also get to drive the realistic, virtual versions of these cars on our smartphones or laptops in a virtual environment as we can do in video games. These places are not intended to create conversions but for customers to explore and learn, and possibly also generate some interest. Customers are unlikely to buy cars over virtual visits. But many driver training schools have applied the concept of metaverse (whether they call it by that name or not) more profoundly by imparting driving lessons using simulators in their institutes.

Hotels and Restaurants

Like automakers, many hotel brands already have the feature of virtual tours. But more than tours, these are pre-recorded compilations of photos and videos. Metaverse is more than that. We may very soon see the features of the ability to move, speak to hotel staff (customer support), check the rooms, avail booking services, and do more within these virtual tours.

Metaverse could be a brilliant opportunity for restaurants and cloud kitchens. They could show the standards of quality maintained in their kitchens, see the food items after preparation, speak to the managers directly, place orders, or raise complaints and all within a virtual environment.

Home Décor

Companies like Ikea have been using AR technology for a long time to help customers choose their products. Going beyond virtual tours, Ikea has an application through which customers can check how a product would look in their home. This lends a far more realistic experience than having to completely rely on imagination before making a purchase. It may not sound extraordinary today but it was a superlative form of innovation when it first came. It still has profound relevance for businesses even today. The same approach has been adopted by many paint companies. It makes it so easier for customers to visualise and pick the colour of their choice. Would such an application of AR technology benefit your business?

Consumer Electronics and Home Appliances

As a customer, imagine being able to prepare a food item, say using a microwave, virtually over a digital platform and get that food delivered to your doorstep. Here, the focus is not on the food but the performance of the cooking appliance. The value chain has to be sorted and if done right, the experience would be no short of being an extraordinary one. Or say you want to buy a refrigerator and you want to see its electricity consumption. That too could be virtually exhibited to you.

How you approach metaverse retail and what kind of innovation you bring in to deliver an uber experience to your customers is all up to you. We only shared a few ideas and options for your further evaluation. Metaverse could comprise existing or emerging technologies encompassing AR, VR, Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, IoT (Internet of Things), virtual currencies, 3D reconstruction, Web 3.0, and others in the pipeline. The idea is to use these technologies to enhance customer experience in the shopping journey coinciding with business goals and objectives.

About YRC: We are retail and eCommerce business consultants on the path of discovering unmatched ways of doing business.

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Author Bio

 Nikhil Agarwal

Nikhil Agarwal

Chief Growth Officer

Nikhil is a calm and composed individual who has a master’s degree in international business and finance from the United Kingdom. Nikhil Agarwal has worked with 300+ retail e-commerce brands and companies from various sectors, since 2012, to define their growth strategy and achieve operational excellence. Nikhil & his team have remarkable success stories of helping brands achieve 10X growth.

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    The idea of having Ecommerce Consultants on-board from the beginning itself points towards reducing the involvement of the promoters in daily operations. Ecommerce Businesses willing to be a brand reaping profits & sustaining the competition must ensure that most of their processes should be automated. The more the manual intervention, the more would be the errors.

    In Ecommerce business, you get only 1 chance to impress the customer & if you mess up there, you lose the customer for long.

    Process automation in respect to all the activities pertaining to customers from order receiving to order fulfilment is a must for a seamless experience for the customers.

    Task Management is another grey area where most deadlines fail as 90% of the tasks are assigned manually & are forgotten, unheard, misunderstood or mistaken.

    YRC Team of Ecommerce Management Consultants helps to make maximum of the processes system-driven to ensure minimalistic manual intervention.


    No matter how good your product is, the customer would know only if it looks good.

    Photography includes the following steps:

    • Cataloguing your products
    • Cataloguing your images
    • Backup your images (A few cloud storage solutions include Dropbox, Google Drive, Bitcasa, Apple’s Cloud Storage etc.)
    • Choose the right camera & lens (You may also outsource the photography to a third party agency)


    Digital Marketing includes SEO & SMM. SEO i.e. Search Engine Optimization includes activities like back-linking, meta tags, blog-writing etc. to ensure your website ranks on the 1st page on Google Search.

    Next comes SMM i.e. “Social Media Marketing” which as the name suggests including promoting your products on all the social media sites, email marketing, influencer marketing & several other BTL activities.

    These activities are going to be recurring & would decide the traffic on the website, the conversions, whether the right target market is tapped, the likes, the views, the orders, the reviews & much more. YRCs Ecommerce Consultants create a budget for digital marketing right from pre-launch to launch & for each month thereafter.

    Building digital marketing strategies in coordination with the agency, selecting them to signing them off would be the role of YRC.

    This ensures seamless coordination, detailed interactions & desired execution as it is always advisable to work with a single agency than multiple of them.


    Selection of the right software for smooth functioning of back-end operations right from production to webstore display would be suggested and integrated by YRC Team.

    YRC’s Team defines SOPs of Product Movement, maps it with the locations & people. They then create a blueprint of all the features required in the software & help in shortlisting & selection.

    IT Integration involves connecting your offline inventories with real-time online webstore so when a sale occurs, inventories get deducted real time across offline as well as online platforms.

    This helps in accurate inventory management, maintaining the MOQs, re-order levels & achieving the optimum inventory levels.

    Some popular software include unicommerce, viniculum for your front-end website management & Genisys for your entire back-end Purchase, Production, Accounting, Invoicing etc. management.


    • How many cities or countries you wish to sell in?
    • Where should your Warehouse be located?
    • Should you have one warehouse in each country or city?
    • Should you be having your own delivery team in your base city?
    • Would the 3rd party vendors be reliable? What happens when they lose or misplace your product during delivery?
    • How should I manage the logistics if my goods are coming from different countries?
    • How should the goods be stored and barcoded?
    • How much space do I require for warehouse?
    • I am sure several such questions must be haunting you while you think of starting your own fashion ecommerce brand.


    At YRC, our warehousing and logistics experts can help you devise a strategy for all of the above mentioned queries and much more.

    We design the layout of the Warehouse considering the inward, goods processing, software entry, barcoding, outward, goods return, scrap storage, goods stacking & much more.

    Logistics route plan is devised considering the manufacturer to your warehouse and from there to last mile delivery locations.


    This Step involves 03 distinct parts:

    Part 1: Choosing the right Platform:

    From several platforms available in the market right from Shopify to magento, woocommerce, prestoshop, wordpress etc. you must choose the one that fits best for your business

    Part 2: UX Designing:

    “UX” denotes User Experience, which if put in simple language is building the functional requirements of the website.

    UX Designing includes designing the features required in the website, customer journey map, website features, the browsing features, navigation features, ecommerce order management process flow, checkout cart features, catalogue management, ecommerce payment system, cross selling features & much more.

    “As per statistics, 68% of the customers abandon the carts before payment”

    An interesting UX ensures the customer sticks on to the website for a longer time.

    Part 3: UI Designing:

    UI stands for User Interface, which means designing the look and feel of the website. UI includes using the right colours, elements and the entire aesthetics of the website.

    A good User Interface ensures the user completes the task that he has come for. It navigates the user through the journey of the brand in the simplest but most effective way.

    The UX designer maps out the bare bones of the user journey; the UI designer then fills it in with visual and interactive elements.

    If User experience is the bare bone, user interface wraps it up with an attractive cape.

    At YRC, our team if experts can help you develop the entire User Journey to ensure it is engaging!


    This step follows the “Designing” Phase, whether you have an in-house design team, freelance designers or an outsourced design company. It is one of the most exciting phases, as here you see your designs turning into products & your ideas turning into reality.

    In most start-up cases, production is outsourced i.e. brands tie-up with the established manufacturers/ job-workers to get their products manufactured.

    Sampling involves multiple 04 Stages, Fit-Sample, Prototype Sample, Pre-Production Sample & the Production Sample.

    Prototype Sample is the first sample provided to the buyer. It can be in any fabric/ colour. This sample is just to understand whether the product design looks equally great in reality.

    Fit Sample, as the name suggests is prepared to check the fit of the garment i.e. the various sizes, length, width etc.

    Pre-production is made by the actual production line. Here the stitching quality and other aspects related to manufacturing are checked. This is the last stage where rejection can be accepted.

    Production Sample is made before the production which is the replica of what is going to be finally produced.

    Once you are through with all this, you are good to go ahead & get your goods manufactured.


    Product Designing or Sourcing is the heart of the Ecommerce Fashion Brand.

    Product Designing / Sourcing can be done in several ways, as follows:

    • In-house Design Team
    • Freelance Designers
    • Outsourced Design Team
    • Ready Product Sourcing (From Manufacturer or Wholesaler)

    At YRC, we evaluate your business strategy & business model to arrive at the decision, which of the above ways would be best-fit for your business. In certain cases, product sourcing may be a combination of the above.

    These are the people who are going to build your brand! Whether they are the designers or merchandiser, your brand look is going to be in their hands.

    If you are designing each garment from the scratch, the sourcing would play crucial role in developing design identity of your brand.

    Sourcing includes fabric, trims, lining & all the raw material required to build the garment.


    Branding is the “Look of the Brand”, right from logo to tagline, the colours used, the brand story, the brand communications on social media, the packaging & all the other aspects which speak directly or indirectly to the customers. Branding constitutes the look & feel of the brand & hence must be thoughtfully planned to match with the product that we are selling.

    Branding must appeal to our target audience. Example : A golden colour logo depicting finesse, art, richness, premium, however beautiful it may be individually cannot go with a brand selling affordable kids wear products. So, your logo must be in-line with your brand positioning, whether you are an expensive brand or a luxury brand or a value for money brand, it must be depicted from your “Branding”.

    It is an integral part to attract the target audience.


    Organogram is the “HR Blueprint” of the business which is created at the onset, to map out the team required across each function at various stages of the business. At the launch, only key people need to be got on board to ensure the project gets started & at this stage, all of them need to multi-task. Similarly, certain financial as well as operational goals are set for addition of the further team. Example, for the operations team, we hire 1 operations manager during the pre-launch phase & we add 1 more only when the business kicks-off & we reach a volume of selling more than 1000 pcs/ month or a turnover of more than 0.1 million USD.

    SOPs are Standard Operating Procedures, a bible to run the entire organization right from Sales, Purchase, HR, Order receiving to Order fulfilment, Inventory Management, Accounts, Warehouse, Logistics, Supply Chain, Production & all the other relevant functions for the business. Business must be organized from its first day of operations; only then the tasks can be delegated.

    At YRC, we design the organization structure, the processes, and approximate time taken to execute each process, job profile of every member within the organization, their KRAs, KPIs & the Reporting Structure.


    Critical Pathway Analysis (CPA), is a project management technique which cannot be overlooked while launching an ecommerce fashion brand. Brand launch process is cumbersome with multiple inter-dependent & time-bound tasks involved, which need to be tracked to ensure the project remains on track.

    CPA outlines key tasks across the project, their turnaround time (TAT) & the dependencies of tasks upon each other. It identifies the sequence of tasks, their interdependent steps from inception to completion, their criticalities, and their dates of onset, target dates of completion along with the key responsible person for the respective activities. Critical Pathway helps in understanding the unimportant & not urgent tasks which may jeopardize the execution of the project because of an unexpected snag! It also maps out the potential bottlenecks which might be posed because of the dependencies of tasks upon each other & cases where the next task cannot be commenced before the completion of the previous one.

    CPA detects the minimum & the maximum time involvement of a particular individual or team to execute the task, thereby arriving at the overall deadlines associated with the project.

    At Your Retail Coach, we design the Critical Pathway & review it periodically to ensure the project is on track & the progress is measurable.


    Business Strategy includes the vision, mission, goals, business model, business plan & strategy for all the functions within the organization.

    Business Strategy is a well-defined plan that outlines who, what, where, why, how & when for the company; for example, who would be the target market, how to attract the target audience, when to launch new products, where to operate from, how to handle competitors, what would be the USP, what would be long term goal of the organization & several other answers to the 5Ws of Strategy.

    Business Strategy aligns the organization towards a common goal. Business SWOT helps company to identify & overcome their weaknesses & focus to sharpen the strengths. Business strategy forecasts future risks and helps business in building skillsets to overcome the potential threats.

    YRC’s Business Plan focuses on creating a “Blueprint” of the business, thereby deriving the feasibility of the concept & gauge whether the opportunity is lucrative to invest time, energy & effort. Business Plan creates cash flow understanding i.e. building inflow & outflow cash projections from Week zero to week 60 i.e. 05 year projection. Business Plan calculates the capital investment, operating costs, one-time costs, recurring costs & all the other numbers relevant to obtain the breakeven sales, return on investment, return on capital, internal rate of return & several other ratios. Business Plan is also one of the important requirements if you are targeting the “Investor Route”. Fund raising becomes extremely transparent & channelized. With business plan panned out clearly, the business will know until what point must it be stretched & where to stop, which reduces the probability of unplanned investments.


    Starting the concept of Ecommerce Fashion brand with Market Research ensures we get detailed understanding of the industry & this research report also acts as a social confirmation for your concept. Market Research helps in understanding the target locations, their population, potential online buyers for your product, competitors for each category, and top selling products of the competitors, competitors’ price range, offers & their responses & much more. Market Research helps in thorough understanding of your brand position as compared to our competitors. It helps in identifying gaps in the market, in your category along with the scope of the said product in the desired market. This will help in validation of your concept & prevents you from making the same mistakes as your fellow brands, eventually saving your time, energy & efforts. This phase is also a make or a break phase, as the market research study may at-times come up with some eye-popping numbers & statistics which might compel you to re-think on your product or category that you are planning to sell or alter your entire concept itself!! Market Research Reports analyse the competitors’ webstore for their traffic, conversion & sales. This is extremely valuable information to derive our inventory budgets & projections, which takes us to our next phase.