5 min read
An Israeli startup is attempting to break into the metaverse market.

by Amit caesar

At last week's COP26 climate talks, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett promised to encourage Israeli entrepreneurs to "pivot from making another cool web app" to working on climate change solutions. "We must channel our efforts to saving our world as the country with the most startups per capita in the world," he told global leaders in Glasgow.

For leading global brands, ByondXR creates interactive 3D websites that go beyond an online catalog and immerse buyers in the shopping experience. Extended Reality (XR) refers to the ability for visitors to walk through a virtual store, select products from shelves, and even try them out in their own homes, all while experiencing unprecedented online speeds. Livestreamed sales assistants and even games that reward players with discount coupons, samples, or other prizes are part of the company's technology.

Welcome to ByondXR, a pioneer in the shopping metaverse.

Unlike online tools that simply supplement brick-and-mortar stores, the company's virtual stores eliminate almost all of the waste produced by a physical store. There is no pollution from private vehicles, there are no malls to heat, cool, or maintain, there are no sprawling parking lots, and there are no trash or cleaning materials. It is appealing and long-term for a growing number of buyers.

According to ByondXR CEO Noam Levavi, manufacturers and customers "looking to increase their sustainability" are increasingly interested in the fresh approach.

"Sales through virtual showrooms translate to significant savings for companies that no longer have to make and supply their goods to brick-and-mortar stores, especially in fashion and home decor," Levavi says.

"We use technology to attract and engage new customers – especially younger customers who demand more from their online interactions – in a more cost-effective way," Levavi says.

According to Levavi, visitors to ByondXR's virtual stores spend 250 percent more time than they do in competing online versions. They also add 60% more items to their shopping cart. But, most importantly, he claims, retailers are discovering that improving the customer experience allows them to attract twice as many visitors back through retargeting campaigns months later, with higher and more positive response rates.

ByondXR has created virtual stores for high-end brands such as Armani, L'Oréal, Lancôme, and La Roche-Posay, as well as household names such as P&G and Target.

The company created a virtual pop-up for Armani Beauty Germany this month, complete with an avatar of a well-known German Instagram influencer who guides visitors around the shop and encourages them to try out the products, including the makeup.

"Those brands aren't adopting our technology just to boost sales," Levavi says. "They're using it to create a new type of brand experience, attracting, engaging, and retaining new customers, particularly younger ones."

He claims that "visiting a virtual store is a more emotional experience, and users remember it." "So, after driving users to the store via social media and online influencers, it becomes about the overall journey, not just a one-time visit," says the author.

The experience is made possible by super-fast rendering and streaming from cloud-based, high-resolution 3D models of images. Customers can access it at any time, from any location, and on any device, including smartphones and laptops. Although the experience will become even more sophisticated on increasingly immersive devices, such as virtual- and augmented-reality headsets, no special equipment is required.

The pandemic-induced surge in e-commerce coincided with a surge in demand for XR technology. By 2026, the industry is expected to be worth more than $125 billion.

Levavi, a digital media company with 20 years of experience helping brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Nike, Chanel, Hugo Boss, AT&T, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola deliver personalized content to their customers, was the ideal candidate to step in.

"ByondXR has been able to automate processes that other companies have to update by hand or outsource to lower-cost countries," says Michael Reidboard, president of the Fashion Tech Consortium in the United States. "ByondXR has succeeded in creating a virtual world, fully automating it, and, most importantly, providing global retailers with the tools they require to update it in-house." No one else works in this manner. Their product is similar to Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. You should be able to use it once you've downloaded it."

"They're also tying technology to economics, and they're constantly monitoring how many products are on the shelf, how to best sell them, and other things." "This data enables retailers to go to market right away, saving them a lot of time and money," says Reidboard. "ByondXR is bringing a truly unique product to market, one that will be particularly useful in the cosmetics, beauty, and fashion industries, where two-dimensional imaging simply won't suffice."

A growing number of businesses concur. Lancome's global head of digital marketing, ecommerce, and CRM, Malik Abu-Ghazaleh, says, "We've been using ByondXR's platform to create true-to-life, immersive pop-up experiences for Lancome consumers around the world." "These virtual pop-ups have proven to be extremely effective in terms of increasing audience engagement and sales. I'm confident that, now that we've seen the potential, we'll be doing many more of these with the ByondXR platform for years to come."

In addition to multibillion-dollar businesses, Levavi claims that ByondXR is now ready to expand to "$100 million plus" companies, scaling the experience for exponentially larger audiences as static websites give way to virtual stores and showrooms that offer personalized shopping journeys.

Client companies will buy an annual license and handle much of the site management themselves, according to Levavi. This will allow his company to take on hundreds of retail clients at once, rather than the current dozens.

ByondXR is already active in 20 countries and eight languages, and its revenue is expected to quadruple by 2021. It is most well-known in the United States and Europe, but it is also successfully establishing a presence in Asia and South America, two notoriously difficult markets to break into.

ByondXR is raising an investment round. To take part through OurCrowd, click HERE.

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