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Lowe’s Give Away Virtual Furniture: Love It In The Metaverse – Buy It For Real

Wait… So you’re not trying to sell us virtual furniture… Just real furniture… Virtually?

While there is – so we’re told – still a market for actual possessions for those of us who find ourselves trapped ‘in real life’, it’s the debate-stoking world of virtual possessions that gets us really excited.

But Lowe’s, the American retail giant specializing have flipped modern virtual consumerism on its head and created a ‘new’ way to tie up virtual and actual furniture in a way that might just actually make sense.

Because real life is better than virtual

Rather than fashion another fantasy kingdom or recreation of the Starship Enterprise in Minecraft, Lowe believes the metaverse will be far more cosy with genuine items that you can buy in their store. For real.

That’s why they’ve pulled together 500 product assets, including chairs, sofas, tables and more and made them available on their very own metaverse hub: Lowe’s Open Builder.

A huge range of Lowe’s real-world furniture is now available to download for free in industry standard, AR-ready USDZ and GLB forms

Speaking to CNBC, Lowe’s executive vice president and chief brand and marketing officer Marisa Thalberg says, “It’s all emerging, and it’s all up for exploration.” The retailer chose not to pick a single metaverse platform but rather “a kind of an agnostic and kind of democratized approach.”

The only way is up

Analysts have estimated a massive breakthrough ahead for the metaverse in such that by 2026, a quarter of consumers will spend at least one hour per day in the virtual space, according to consulting and research firm Gartner.

Morgan Stanley has also estimated that the total addressable market for advertising and e-commerce opportunities could be worth $8.3 trillion in the metaverse, with nearly $700 billion in home and home-related spending. 

Spreading the word: Put a little Lowe’s product placement in your slice of Decentraland

Thus Lowe will be releasing a free, limited NFT collection of hardhats, boots as well as other related accessories for builders on the Decentraland platform to its first 1,000 participants.

Let’s be clear here. They’re not trying to sell you virtual furniture… They’re selling you REAL furniture. The aim here is that if you see it and love it in the metaverse, then you might be that bit more inclined to buy it for real.

See it in the metaverse – take it home. For real

Lowe’s executive vice president and chief information officer, Seemantini Godbole told CNBC, “What we have noticed in our current mediums like and in our stores [is that] people like to experiment and while they’re shopping and to get inspired they like to put things together in the virtual world before they start their project. It’s the same idea for the metaverse. [We] want them to experiment, feel and understand how it’s going to look before they start the project in the real world.” 

Godbole went on to say that a lot of metaverse assets being released had already been created as 3D digital versions of physical products available for purchase, being offered to assist online shoppers to visualize real-life dimensions and features in their virtual and augmented reality kitchen planners and smartphone apps.

“There is just a huge appetite from our customers to use emerging technology. We are applying some of those lessons in the metaverse”, he said.

And although Lowe’s isn’t currently offering an easy route back from a cyber creation to a real-life shopping opportunity, Godbole said that that could change.

Linking virtual and the actual

She said, “In the future, we could absolutely think about how do all these different things link, and make sure that [metaverse users] are able to shop these items on Lowe’s dot com or in our stores.” 

Finally, Thalberg also acknowledged that the usual metaverse participant “skews really young,” likely younger than the typical Lowe’s shopper or homeowner today.

“But 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. This idea of being able to build and decorate and design and improve is kind of core to how these spaces are emerging. 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.”

Imagine it. Selling real furniture. Whatever next.

Written By

Isa Muhammad is a writer and video game journalist covering many aspects of entertainment media including the film industry. He's steadily writing his way to the sharp end of journalism and enjoys staying informed. If he's not reading, playing video games or catching up on his favourite TV series, then he's probably writing about them.

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