Salons in the Metaverse
Imagine a crowd of avatars walking around in a virtual space as they explore and look for things to do. They see your logo on a huge virtual billboard and walk into your digital shop. They’re able to browse through galleries of your work, try on customizable avatar makeovers, and purchase branded accessories that come with coupons and gift cards for real-life services at your salon.
The metaverse can make this possible. While it’s still a niche platform visited mostly by enthusiasts and gamers, chances are that there will be a huge market opportunity within the metaverse by the next decade. Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta plans to invest $10 billion this year to develop augmented and virtual reality-supported products. Google, Amazon, and Apple are mobilizing as well, and Wall Street predicts the metaverse to develop into nothing less than a $1 trillion-dollar market.
Before developing a strategy to establish your salon’s presence in a virtual world, it’s important to familiarize yourself with some of the terms that may come up often in this article.
Our current understanding of the metaverse is limited because we still can’t predict what the finished version of it will look like.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the metaverse is “a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.”
How we will access this space and interact with various elements is yet to be defined. Experts say that the metaverse will largely be accessed in 2D and it will take another 10 years before we see technologies that make it possible for larger audiences to visit these spaces in a fully immersive experience.
Often used synonymously with the metaverse, Web 3.0 represents the third generation of the Internet that is decentralized and runs on public blockchains, eliminating the Internet’s reliance on the current search and social media platforms.
This Internet ‘revolution’ will make it possible for the further integration of metaverse environments.
Investopedia defines NFTs (or Non-Fungible Tokens) as “cryptographic assets on blockchain with unique identification codes and metadata that distinguish them from each other.” NFTs can be in the form of images, videos, or in-game items.
As the metaverse continues to develop, you’ll likely see NFTs being displayed and used as forms of payment within the virtual environments.
OpenSea is one of the most popular decentralized marketplaces that lets you explore the NFTs available in the market today. Vevepedia is a great place to learn about licensed NFTs.
How is the Metaverse Relevant to Your Salon?
While the space is still being built, it can be important to realize that the purpose of establishing a presence in virtual spaces now is to target audiences early. Digital marketing approaches could look very different a decade from now. It was only a decade ago that all local businesses realized the benefit of having a website and being listed on Google Maps and spaces like Vagaro’s Marketplace for potential customers to find them. Consumer trends are the driving force behind any marketing strategy and as the market grows in the metaverse, you’ll want to make sure that you establish a presence early enough to grab a percentage of the market share.
If you’ve tried to market your salon or brand on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, or most other social media platforms, you’re probably aware of how much you can benefit from connecting with potential customers online. The metaverse and Web 3.0 will offer you a new way to connect with customers by offering them a 3D experience of your content. Here’s how:
- With art festivals, concerts, and other social gatherings being turned into digital experiences, there will undoubtedly be opportunities to target customers either within those events or spaces around them, such as waiting rooms and paid advertising booths.
- Salons could allow clients to customize detailed 3D models of themselves to show stylists exactly what they want. Online consultations would take on a new form of service with the potential for extra revenue. Check out how Nike uses current 3D technology that allows you to customize shoes to get an idea of how that service might look for your salon.
- Augmented Reality (AR) technology is already being used by the Amazon Salon in London. Customers can see how their hair looks based on the products they apply in AR.
- With Web 3.0 taking off and NFTs gaining popularity at an exponential rate, microtransactions could become a form of value exchange between you and your customers. Currently, users on the Internet create value for online platforms simply by engaging in them. With decentralized platforms, it will become easier for you to give some of that value back to the users in the form of microtransactions and incentivize them to engage with your platform. For example, you could provide users with a fraction of a token (similar to a cryptocurrency) for online engagement, which they can then use to redeem services at your salon.
- Salons could use the Vagaro booking software in virtual worlds and have customers book appointments directly. Whether they’re in between gaming sessions or hanging out in a chat room with friends, having your brand pop up and allowing simple appointment bookings could make a huge difference in the number of customers that sign up for your services.
- Creating digital versions of your products that people can use on their avatars seems to be the go-to strategy to keep people interested in your brand or business. Whether you offer them for free, or for a price (potentially with service coupons attached), there’s going to be a benefit in having your brand represented on users’ avatars.
Barriers to Entry
It can be tough to prepare for this upcoming shift in the digital paradigm when the metaverse is yet to be defined. Other than the fact that we can’t accurately predict exactly when or how much it’s going to affect consumer trends, here’s some of the barriers you might face if you’re willing to take the next steps and prepare:
- You can expect land (or space) in virtual environments to get really expensive as soon as it becomes available and its popularity grows. A plot of digital land was sold in Decentraland for a record $2.43 million worth of Mana (Decentraland’s version of cryptocurrency) in November, 2021. Digital spaces like Decentraland create value by limiting the available land for purchase. If you were planning on owning a property that customers can visit, you might want to research the various platforms and when the best time would be to purchase (or rent) some space.
- There is a bit of a learning curve if you’re a salon owner or a stylist who isn’t interested in how NFTs or digitized versions of their products and services are created. It can also become difficult to create competitive content within the metaverse relative to the content being created for social media platforms today.
- Areas of the metaverse with the most traffic will undoubtedly be saturated by the biggest brands pouring most of their resources into their own marketing strategies. Local businesses and salons will have to find a way to work with them so that they aren’t squeezed out of the competitive space.
While it may sound overwhelming, there’s plenty of time to research the opportunities that will be presented to us when the metaverse arrives. At Vagaro, we’re excited to see how AR and VR technology will develop and transform current trends. We want to enter this new digital paradigm together and help salons and local businesses succeed in it. For now, keep your eyes and ears open to see what trends are emerging, and maintain a digital presence by engaging with your customers on social media.
Vagaro is a cloud-based scheduling software commonly used by beauty, fitness, and wellness businesses to manage booking, credit card payments and processing, marketing, payroll, inventory management, reporting, and much more.