More than likely, you’ve heard the term “metaverse.” For many, like myself, the term is associated with gaming and a virtual world, but they don’t have a clear understanding of what is included or what is possible in the metaverse.
So, what exactly is the metaverse? In short, the metaverse is a virtual reality space where users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users. According to metaverse expert and venture capitalist Matthew Ball, the metaverse is “about being within the computer rather than accessing the computer. It’s about being always online rather than always having access to an online world.” Facebook touts the technology as “3D spaces… [that] will let you socialize, learn, collaborate and play in ways that go beyond what we can imagine.”
While the most obvious application of the technology, which requires a virtual reality headset, is social connection and for gaming and entertainment, the metaverse has the potential to transform many of our everyday experiences and interactions, including purchasing a vehicle.
“The Metaverse will definitely be the biggest tipping point auto retail has ever experienced in the coming years, but it’s also just the next evolution of what many now call ‘Digital Retail,’” said Germain Toyota general manager Brian Kramer in a recent LinkedIn post.
Just this year, in mid-March, Germain Toyota completed the first auto retail sale in the metaverse. Like dealers nationwide, the Naples, Fla. dealership is constantly looking to adapt to and adopt new technologies that improve the vehicle sales process for their customers. The enhanced adoption of digital retailing tools when the COVID-19 pandemic hit was one proof point of this evolution as is the first of its kind transaction at Germain Toyota.
The dealership will now be able to transact with customers in whatever means they prefer – whether it be entirely online, completely in-person or some combination. That is what we have seen to date with digital retailing: Some customers want to go through most steps of the car buying process online with the exception of a test drive, while other customers are more comfortable going through the finance process in-person.
However and wherever consumers want to transact, the country’s more than 17,500 dealerships are willing to meet them there – even in the metaverse.
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