Lowe’s announced that customers will be able to enter the metaverse and use augmented reality to help them visualize a project they are working on.
The company’s metaverse collection includes free downloads of 500 products such as chairs and other items, all of which are available on its own hub.
“It’s all emerging, and it’s all up for exploration,” Lowe’s executive vice president and chief brand and marketing officer Marisa Thalberg told CNBC, adding that the company opted for “a kind of an agnostic and kind of democratized approach” instead of selecting just one metaverse platform like other retailers have done in choosing a particular virtual platform or game.
Some companies have chosen a singular virtual platform or game like Fortnite or Roblox.
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Thalberg said “this isn’t about immediately jumping in and trying to make an event or immediately commoditizing it” as other retailers have used methods to make a profit in the metaverse.
“Our goal really is to take this new frontier and help people use their imaginations and help them make their virtual spaces as exciting and inspirational and enjoyable as their real world spaces. And that’s the only benefit we seek to obtain at this point,” she said.
And Lowe’s is releasing a free, limited NFT collection of boots, hardhats and other building equipment for the first 1,000 participants on the platform.
Seemantini Godbole, Lowe’s executive vice president and chief information officer, told CNBC that the company is applying a number of practices used in its stores for the endeavor into the metaverse.
“What we have noticed in our current mediums like Lowes.com and in our stores … people like to experiment and while they’re shopping and getting inspired they like to put things together in the virtual world before they start their project,” Godbole said. “It’s the same idea for the metaverse. That you want them to experiment, feel and understand how it’s going to look before they start the project in the real world.”
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She said many of these metaverse tools had already been created as 3D digital versions of physical products that consumers can purchase to aid online shoppers in visualizing dimensions and features of a project.
Lowe’s already uses virtual and augmented reality technology to let shoppers design a room online or map a house’s floor plan using their smartphone as examples.
“There is just a huge appetite from our customers to use emerging technology,” Godbole said.
But Thalberg acknowledged that most people on the metaverse are very young, whereas the typical Lowe’s shopper or homeowner today is older.
“If you look at kids who’ve used platforms like Minecraft and Roblox, a lot of what they do there, is fascinatingly enough, build and design,” Thalberg said. “This idea of being able to build and decorate and design and improve is kind of core to how these spaces are emerging.”
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“And so if we catch them young, that’s great, but we see a real utility too, as we look to a huge wave of millennial new homeowners who aren’t afraid of technology,” she continued.