Lowe expands the metaverse with a tool to help visualize projects

Lowe’s Metaverse Open Builder. Lowe’s Open Metaverse Builder.

Courtesy: Louie

It seems every company is getting into this field these days. Lowe’s doesn’t want to miss the opportunity to use it to help builders imagine projects.

But unlike other retailers that have chosen a specific virtual platform or game like Fortnite or Roblox, Lowe’s metaverse assets — including free downloads of 500 product assets, including items like chairs — are available in their own hub.

“Everything is emerging, and everything is ready to be explored,” Marisa Talberg, executive vice president and head of branding and marketing at Lowe’s, told CNBC in an exclusive interview. She said the retailer decided not to choose a single Metaverse platform but rather “kind of an agnostic approach and a kind of democratization”.

While other brands have found instant ways to make money in the metaverse, even on a trial basis, Thalberg said, “This isn’t about jumping on the spot and trying to make an event or commoditize it on the spot.”

Instead, she told CNBC, “Our goal is really to take these new frontiers and help people use their imaginations and help them make their virtual spaces as exciting, inspiring, and fun as their real-world spaces. And that’s the only benefit we’re seeking at this point.”

At least that’s the only mentioned benefit. As the first major home improvement retailer to enter the Metaverse and make its viable assets freely available, there is no doubt that the main objective is to monitor consumer behavior to finally take advantage of the opportunity that may exist. The assets are based on real products that the company currently sells online and in its stores.

Lowe’s Metaverse Open Builder. Lowe’s Open Metaverse Builder.

Courtesy: Louie

Analysts see a major breakthrough coming for metaverse. By 2026, a quarter of consumers will spend at least one hour per day in the metaverse, according to estimates by consultancy and research firm Gartner. Morgan Stanley estimates that the total accessible advertising and e-commerce opportunities could be worth $8.3 trillion in the metaverse, with $697 billion in home and home spending. The company lists walk-in Home Renovation Plans as an example.

“Just last year, it was estimated that about $100 billion was spent on virtual goods within gaming platforms. And that doesn’t even include NFTs,” said Cathy Hackle, CEO of the Futures Intelligence Group and president of Metaverse.

Metaverse participants have, in some cases, already paid thousands of dollars for unique, non-fungible tokens to outfit pilots from luxury and fashion brands such as Gucci, Balenciaga, Dolce & Gabbana and Ralph Lauren. Gucci saw 19 million visitors to the Gucci Garden on Roblox. The Dolce & Gabbana NFT called “The Glass Suit,” with accompanying physical clothing, has sold for more than $1 million.

Lowe’s, for its part, is launching a free, limited NFT collection of boots, hardwear and other related accessories for builders on the Decentraland platform for the first 1,000 participants.

Semantini Goodpool, Lowe’s executive vice president and chief information officer, told CNBC in an exclusive interview that the retailer is applying many of the principles it currently uses to shoppers for this metaverse project.

“What we’ve noticed in our current media like Lowes.com and in our stores…People love to experiment and while they shop and get inspired they love to put things together in the virtual world before they even start their project,” she said. “It’s the same idea for the metaverse. You want them to experience, feel and understand what it’s like before they start the project in the real world.”

Lowe’s Metaverse Open Builder. Lowe’s Open Metaverse Builder.

Courtesy: Louie

Godbole said many of these metaverse assets have already been created as 3D digital copies of physical products available for purchase, to help online shoppers visualize real-life dimensions and features. Lowe’s is already using virtual and augmented reality technology to allow shoppers to design an entire kitchen online or set the floor plan of their homes using their smartphones as examples.

“There is a huge appetite from our customers to use emerging technology” such as virtual and augmented reality tools, Godbole said. “We’re applying some of these lessons to metaverse.”

Currently, Lowe’s does not offer a physical good by purchasing a virtual one, or any link back to its website from any metaverse platforms, Godbole said. But this could change.

“In the future, we can totally think about how to connect all these different things and make sure of that [metaverse users] You can purchase these items at Lowe’s dot com or in our stores.”

Thalberg admitted that the typical metaverse participant is “really young,” likely younger than the average shopper or homeowner at Lowe’s today.

“But if you look at kids who have used platforms like Minecraft and Roblox, a lot of what they do there, cool enough, is being created and designed. This idea of ​​being able to build and decorate and design and improve is kind of the basics of how these spaces look.” “So if we catch them young, that’s great, but we’re seeing a real benefit as well, as we’re looking forward to a huge wave of new millennial homeowners who aren’t tech-savvy.”

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