The presence of restaurants in the metaverse is still too new to say which strategies (if any) will be key to securing customer loyalty in virtual reality (VR), but quick-service restaurant (QSR) giant Wendy’s argued in an interview with PYMNTS that the key to success in the space is focusing on strengthening digital societies.
Connecting with users who frequent virtual spaces is key to brands’ success, not just in the metaverse but across digital sites, said Jamie Bennett, Vice President of Media and Social Networks at The Wendy’s Company.
“While other brands may enter spaces and unnecessarily distract, confuse or detract from the experience, we listen, learn and prepare to make sure we always appear to enhance and add value to every interaction with our fans,” Bennett said. “As we’ve seen this community expand rapidly on platforms like Twitch, Discord, TikTok, and across multiple gaming verticals, we’re with them.”
The brand, which operates around 7,000 restaurants around the world, is launching a range of branded experiences on the Meta Horizon Worlds VR platform, including a breakfast-themed obstacle course, a virtual basketball court and most recently a digital skating ramp, among others, all of which Under the slogan “Wendyverse”.
See also: Wendy’s, Kraft Invest in Metaverse restaurants
Bennett said regular communication with the brand’s customers across these platforms helps the company “stay ahead of the curve” in these emerging spaces.
According to data from the July issue of the PYMNTS Digital Divide Study, “The Digital Divide: Moving to the Metaverse, created in collaboration with Paytronix, was drawn from a May survey of nearly 2,700 US consumers, and one in four had used Almost already the metaverse or the huge interest in doing so.In addition, that share has jumped to four out of 10 millennial consumers.
Read more: Study shows – Restaurants see Metaverse as a new loyalty game
Most of these consumers were interested in incorporating dining experiences into their digital routines. Fifty-four percent of consumers who had already used the metaverse or had a significant interest in doing so were “very interested or very interested” in incorporating restaurant purchases into their metaverse experiences, and another 19 percent were somewhat interested.
Moreover, participants in the metaverse were more likely to interact with restaurant loyalty offers than non-participants, which means that gaining spend for these consumers could be key to attracting consumers who will return frequently and engage with brands’ omnichannel offerings. Seventy percent of metaverse participants and highly interested consumers have participated in loyalty programs, compared to only 45% of the overall population.
Race to Metaverse
Brands ranging from QSR and fast food giants like McDonald’s and Panera Bread to smaller chains like Bareburger in New York City to food companies like Kraft have taken steps toward opening restaurants in the metaverse.
See more: Restaurants open Metaverse stores in race to be ‘the restaurant of the future’
In an interview with PYMNTS, Jeff Alexander, CEO of Wow Bao’s Chicago-based Asian-style restaurant, which has hundreds of virtual locations and a few traditional stores, hinted at an upcoming announcement of the company’s metaverse plans in the coming weeks.
Read more: Wow Bao takes advantage of vending machines as restaurants rethink self-service
“There’s a great way to create a community; there’s a great way to create loyalty; there’s a great way to create rewards; there’s a great way to create engagement, and when we announce our metaverse announcement, I think we’ll be able to offer all these different points and do something that hasn’t been done,” he said. to before. “
Trust the experts
Wendy, for her part, focused on getting to the ground before diving in.
“Our presence in space is based on our deeply rooted approach to community development: watching before everything goes in,” Bennett said.
Noting that there is a distinct culture around metaverse sharing, he said the best path to success in the space is to rely on those who know it best, and collaborate with those who actually excel in metaverse sharing rather than just coming in as an outsider.
Through these efforts, the company can also more effectively push the adoption of its promotions, which in turn get consumers to interact with Wendy’s e-commerce channels. Recently, for example, along with Wendy’s Frosty Village launch in mid-July at Horizon Worlds, the company offered free fries with the purchase of Strawberry Frosty via the Wendy app.
“When we started working on the Wendyverse, we identified that creator culture plays a major role,” Bennett said. “As brands begin to engage in this new dimension, it is important to respect the individuals and fans who have been in this space and made it what it is today.”
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