Metaverse Fashion Week (MFW) held its second virtual event last week in Decentraland, one year after its debut during the height of the metaverse craze in 2022. While the event was a success last year, with 108,000 unique visitors, this year’s event saw a significant decline in attendance, with only 26,000 unique visitors, according to Decentraland’s data. GEEIQ, a third-party metaverse analytics firm, revealed that only 9,000 unique visitors attended last week’s event, representing a 92% drop-off from the previous year.

Despite the low attendance, the presence of renowned brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Balmain, Coach, and Tommy Hilfiger may have offered a path forward for brands in the virtual realm. However, the continued decline in the popularity of the metaverse may prove to be a significant challenge for brands.

Charles Hambro, co-founder and CEO of GEEIQ, believes that many brands and platforms in the metaverse have yet to unlock the full potential of the virtual medium. According to Hambro, “3D virtual environments require a whole other skill set” compared to traditional marketing and advertising platforms like Instagram. He added that brands need to be more creative in delivering immersive experiences to consumers, which will be critical in generating deeper, more enriched experiences with their target audience.

One example of a brand that managed to engage with its consumers was Ben Bridge, a jewelry chain that typically operates in suburban shopping malls. Ben Bridge was MFW’s top brand in terms of “dwell time,” a coveted metric that measures the amount of time spent in an online experience. The jeweler garnered 47,695 minutes of dwell time, while Adidas and Coach, brands with larger global reputations, only placed in the low 30,000s.

The key to Ben Bridge’s success was its gamified “quests” that allowed visitors to participate in elaborate experiences throughout a virtually reconstructed store. In addition, the company offered 11 types of exclusive digital wearables to users who engaged with and completed the quests.

Richard Hobbs, CEO of digital fashion platform BNV, believes that brands need to be more creative in delivering engaging experiences to their consumers. Simply showcasing virtual versions of their products is not enough to create excitement and engagement.

In conclusion, while the decline in attendance at MFW may reflect the public’s waning interest in the metaverse, it does not mean that virtual worlds lack potential to engage and entice users. Unlocking that potential will require creativity, innovative thinking, and a deep understanding of the virtual medium’s unique characteristics.