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The weekly dispatch: The metaverse faces its toughest challenge yet, Victoria’s Secret embraces virtual fittings

Illustration of a person standing at a desk, gesturing toward a large monitor with the acronym FTX and a downward line graph.

As the so-called ‘peak of the peak’ approaches, shifts within the marketplace are only increasing in pace as consumers embrace the elation of getting back to a sense of normalcy. In this week’s dispatch, we read about Mastercard’s Black Friday sales predictions, retailers and consumers alike finding relief in shipping costs, and how Victoria’s Secret is climbing its way back to being a leader in the intimates space:

Sales boom expected for the upcoming Black Friday

A store counter showing a credit card machine and a sign with the Mastercard logo on it.

Mastercard is forecasting a surge in Black Friday sales this year, predicting a 15% increase over 2021 thanks to the euphoria of a post-pandemic climate.

The Mastercard SpendingPulse™, a data-driven market report that tracks consumer spending, outlined a series of sales predictions for Black Friday that run the gamut from retail, dining to travel.1

The rundown:

  • Brick and mortar are forecasted to see an 18% increase, with window shopping and doorbuster deals seen as the leading causes for the increase.
  • Predictions for department stores both in-store and online indicate a potential 25% upswing in sales, thanks to deep discounts and the convenience of one stop shopping destinations.
  • Travel expenses, including flights and accommodations are forecasted for double-digit growth as consumers feel more confident about travel post-pandemic.
  • Restaurants make the list with a whopping 35% predicted gain as consumers seek to dine out with family and friends during the holidays.

October 2022 sales saw exponential growth compared to the last two years. Combined with a strong labor market despite inflation, this reinforces Mastercard’s forecast as possibly being right on the money.2

Victoria’s Secret launches new virtual fit app

A smartphone with the Victoria’s Secret app and the text ‘verifyt. The easiest way to get your perfect size.’

Victoria’s Secret has joined its competition by announcing the launch of their new 3D bra fitting mobile app, Verifyt®.3

One of the major angsts for lingerie retailers is high volume of returns due to ill-fitting bras. Victoria’s Secret’s new app is designed to mitigate these frustrations and the confusion of conventional sizing charts, making the virtual bra fitting experience more accurate and accessible for shoppers, in turn reducing the return rate at the same time, which is also a goal.

Once considered leaders in the lingerie space, especially when it came to giving accurate bra fittings in-store, the gap has been widening between VS competitors like ThirdLove and Wacoal, who have already launched virtual fitting tools. Victoria’s Secret is looking to regain its position as a marketplace leader through its partnership with NetVirta, who is providing the 3D-scanning technology. 

Chief Customer Officer for Victoria’s Secret, Christine Rupp said in a statement, “We have always dedicated ourselves to providing an exceptional customer experience, and our measuring and fit capabilities set us apart in the industry. We are thrilled to offer this new technology to our customers to give them even more confidence when buying their favorite Victoria’s Secret and Pink bras.”

FTX files for bankruptcy, leaving the Metaverse and other crypto projects in danger

A person wearing a virtual reality headset and the FTX logo.

FTX, a leading global cryptocurrency exchange provider, has recently filed for bankruptcy, leaving multiple Metaverse and NFT projects vulnerable to collapse.4

The fallout from the bankruptcy declaration has been swift, with venture capital firms beginning to liquidate their FTX investments. Over 200 start-ups and VCs that FTX has investments in have been impacted, while the third of its portfolio that comprises of metaverse and NFT companies is similarly at risk.

The Solana foundation is the second largest holding for Alameda Research and FTX Ventures and appears to be bearing the largest brunt of FTX’s collapse. Their sell price has dropped a little over 50% in the last week and is now standing at a low of $13.82 TVL.

Some coins created under the Solana project that are in danger as part of FTX’s collapse are FTX Token, Bitcoin, and Dogecoin, just to name a few.

Retailers find relief in a paradigm shift to specific day delivery

A person delivering a package to someone’s home.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the intense pressure that e-commerce businesses have been facing to achieve the fastest possible delivery is waning.5

Commentators suggest a shift is happening this holiday season, as e-commerce retailers and online shoppers alike grapple with the increase in shipping costs due to high inflation.

Consumer online spending has slowed as brick-and-mortar stores regain popularity, and retailers are taking note. They are using this opportunity to scale back on costly last-mile delivery services that erode margins but was a necessity to keep up with as demand consistently increased during the height of the pandemic.

By conserving profits and offering more cost-effective and convenient shipping options like BOPIS (buy online, pick-up in-store) or specific day shipping, brands can also offer their customers more choice and flexibility.

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