While Mark Zuckerberg is betting everything on the metaverse and the big platforms around the world try to understand how to exploit this new potential market opportunity, the British Dyson literally pulls up the clèr of its virtual store and is ready to show the merchandise to sell it to anyone, all over the planet, as if they had their products in their hands.
Dyson, in fact, presented its “Dyson Demo VR”, that is “virtual reality at the service of the consumer”: an interactive virtual environment accessible with Oculus (the immersive virtual reality viewer owned by Facebook / Meta) that allows you to ” enter “cyberspace and experiment with the help of two controllers the interaction with virtual objects. In this case, Dyson’s Haircare accessory products, which you can virtually try on different hair types and in different colors, or in the future how the new laser technology of the Dyson V15 Detect cordless vacuum cleaner works when it lights up the floor to find the dust.
Does it sound like a marketing gimmick, little more than a video game? Actually no, it isn’t. And it’s worth taking a step back to see why. Let’s start with Dyson: the company was founded in 1991 by James Dyson, a British inventor and baronet who belongs to a practically extinct genre of entrepreneurs capable of creating new solutions literally in the garage of their home. In the case of Dyson, the centrifugal dust collector that is the basis of the vacuum cleaners produced by the company and which was created in 1993 after five years and 5,127 failed prototypes.
Over time, the company has built its reputation as a brand of high-tech luxury home appliances: laboratories around the world, hundreds of engineers collaborating in research, industrial designers worthy of the legacy of Jony Ive (the famous British designer who worked at Apple for two decades), new product categories. Dyson has repeatedly been compared to Steve Jobs’s Apple for its ability to enter a new sector only when it is ready to innovate it: vacuum cleaners, fans, hair dryers, electric towels and even LED lamps (perhaps the most beautiful of its products, since aesthetic and functional point of view). Or abandon projects, no matter how expensive, if they don’t innovate and aren’t up to par, as it did recently by closing the one for the electric car in which it had invested three billion dollars and employed more than 500 engineers.
From a commercial point of view, the company has never stopped working to build a special relationship with its customers: single-brand stores where you can also experience the quality of the products live (it has 318 worldwide, thirty of which are open during the pandemic and others are coming), or the beauty lab which, by appointment, does hair styling and drying. The push to build this relationship can be seen in everything, even in the packaging of its products, in the care for secondary aspects, for after-sales assistance. And, following this philosophy, you understand why Dyson was the first of the A series brands to open a shop in the metaverse.
It’s all in the statements of James Dyson, founder and Chief Engineer of his company: “As engineers, our challenge is to improve things, including how people experience and buy our technology. For many years, we have leveraged powerful virtual reality technologies to design new products in our labs. We are now implementing those same technologies to reinvent the way people buy our products. More and more customers want to buy directly from us, which makes sense, given that we are the creators of these technologies and we can take better care of them ».
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Dyson therefore not only wants to conquer another channel of relationship with its customers and disintermediate the relationship they already have with large retailers and other channels, but it does so by intelligently exploiting what it already has available. To achieve maximum yield and at the same time minimize costs, Dyson creates its very simple virtual environment with the same virtual models and objects that are created by its engineers to make the products. In short, it is not a video game, but a high quality simulation that has the same yield as real products both from the point of view of the shape of the objects and the way they work.
Despite being perceived as a high-end lifestyle brand, Dyson has so far managed to remain a company of engineers: technology is at the center, together with the product. This can be seen, for example, in the annual investment in research and development of 3.22 billion euros, in the foundation headed by James Dyson, which annually awards the best projects with the James Dyson Award: so far more than one million euros for over 250 inventions by young engineers and designers in 28 countries around the world. In 2021, the award for the first time was given to three global winners, each of which received 33 thousand euros.
In this logic, we understand why the company is among the very first to reach the metaverse with its Dyson Demo VR. It is not just an experiment but is considered the channel of the future, pandemic-proof, capable of bringing its stores to all corners of the planet. And deepen a relationship with the customer that brands try to enhance through the internet and virtual reality. Dyson, as usual, is among the pioneers.
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