- Albertsons on Cyber Monday started selling and delivering tangible items in the metaverse to customers, becoming the first grocer to do so, according to emailed information from a company representative.
- In its pilot experience launched on Decentraland, a 3D virtual browser-based platform, Albertsons offered Signature Select pretzels, peanut butter cups and a six-pack of mini Cokes, all for $1 with free delivery.
- Albertsons’ limited-time promo, called the Meta Mega Deal, aimed to bridge the physical and digital customer experiences.
Retailers, fashion brands and restaurants have been experimenting with connecting the metaverse to real life offerings, and now Albertsons is among the grocers spearheading the exploration of consumer engagement in virtual worlds.
For the Meta Mega Deal promotion, Albertsons showcased the deal on 25 virtual billboards in Decentraland. Users could scan QR codes on the billboards to then pay by credit card for the bundles, with delivery in as soon as 45 minutes, according to the press email.
“Giving users the ability to shop and order groceries in the Metaverse and have those goods delivered directly to their home is a unique way of offering customer convenience and satisfaction through an exciting new platform,” Jill Pavlovich, who heads up digital shopping experiences at Albertsons Companies, said in the email.
Albertsons will take findings from the Meta Mega Deal pilot to test, learn and develop a clearer understanding of what customers in the future will want and how to connect with them, per the email.
Along with opening up new opportunities to connect with customers and drive purchases, Albertsons’ presence in the metaverse shows the grocery company, which oversees more than a dozen banners including Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco and Acme, is closely following the behaviors of younger consumers.
“While we're one of the oldest grocery retailers in America, we always strive to be on the forefront of technology by creating meaningful experiences that build customer loyalty,” Pavlovich said.
There’s been considerable speculation on how grocery shopping could work in a virtual landscape, and in many ways the metaverse is still serving as just a place for fun and games, like the grocery order picking game Shipt and Meta showcased at Groceryshop in September.
A few months ago, Walmart unveiled its “isles” of virtual merchandise games and the ability to unlock exclusive interactive content in online platform Roblox.
“How are we driving relevance in cultural conversation? How are we developing community and engagement? How are we moving the needle from a brand favorability [standpoint] with younger audiences?” William White, Walmart’s chief marketing officer, told CNBC. “That’s what we’re trying to accomplish here.”
Walmart and Publix have reportedly filed metaverse-related trademarks.
While still an emerging space for grocers, the metaverse may eventually provide a way to tap into younger consumers’ spending power. By 2030, the metaverse may generate up to $5 trillion in impact, with roughly $2 trillion to $2.6 trillion of that affecting e-commerce, McKinsey & Company estimated earlier this year.