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The Future of Retail in the Metaverse Landscape


Facebook recently announced its intention to rebrand itself into Meta. A virtual space professed to be the next evolution of social connection. The metaverse combines digital realities, combining aspects of social media, online gaming, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and cryptocurrencies into one environment that allows users to interact virtually. The latest development leverages NFTs, blockchain assets and cryptocurrencies, being the most recent, to create a virtual economy that enhances the digital consumer experience.

Blending the physical and the virtual worlds is hardly a new concept. In the mid-naughts, the virtual reality game Second Life launched an early version of the metaverse, which rendered the real world in 3D and included a marketplace for its members with storefronts from Reebok and American Apparel. As the technology advances, retail developers partnering with their digital counterparts may expand their offering, replicating physical assets into the transactional-based immersive environment. One such technology leverages both augmented and virtual reality to digitally build twin real estate into the metaverse, creating a three-dimensional shopping experience at the intersection of the physical and virtual worlds.

The Retail Experiment

Consumers, a steady 59% according to The Digital Life Index, prefer to buy clothing, shoes and accessories online, so it’s necessary for brands from Main Street to Madison Avenue to mind the metaverse. Some retailers are already making their mark, elevating their connection with the more than half of digital-ready consumers expecting brands to deliver more online experiences.

Luxury brand Balenciaga partnered with online video game Fortnite to launch a new Balenciaga Fit collection for its players. Users can upgrade character uniforms in a real-life inspired Balenciaga store in the game’s community hub. In addition, Dolce & Gabbana sold its first-ever NFT, also known as a non-fungible token, Collezioni Genesi, a nine-piece virtual/physical collection raising the equivalent of nearly $5.7 million in cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency, a digital currency used to buy goods and services, is now widely accepted by online and QSR retailers like Microsoft, Shopify, Overstock and Subway as an alternative form of payment.

Retailers experimenting with loyalty programs are building online communities to maintain brand engagement. For example, Vans partnered with Roblox to integrate a skateboarding world experience that lives indefinitely within its metaverse to create a constant feedback loop between its Gen-Z consumer base. Not to be upstaged, Meta (formerly Facebook) is taking a more familiar approach: investing in brick-and-mortar stores, hoping that if you build it, consumers will come.

Interested in learning more about how Metaverse is impacting commercial real estate – check out our podcast, ‘Metaverse: The New CRE Frontier’ featuring guest speaker, Steve Weikal from MIT.

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Anjee Solanki

National Director, Retail Services & Practice Groups

San Francisco


In Anjee’s current role, as National Retail Director for the USA, she has developed strong relationships and strategic leadership to over 500 + retail professional nationally across 140 markets within Colliers for Investment Sales, Agency, Retailer Rep, and Retail Asset & Property Management.

Anjee Solanki brings 30 years of focused retail real estate experience to Colliers International.  She provides strategic retail advisory services to enhance value for her clients with her expertise in lifestyle, community, power center, neighborhood, mixed-use retail/residential, and resort retail. 

She has developed and manages strong working relationships with institutional and private clients such as State of Florida, State of Michigan, Heitman, Invesco, Grosvenor Americas, American Realty Advisors, TH Realty, PNC, and Zurich to name a few.

Her strategy identifies current market and property inefficiencies to capture untapped value through asset repositioning, releasing, redevelopment, rehabilitation, proactive management, and enhanced marketing. 

Creative problem-solving is her specialty, and she becomes a key stakeholder with national and international retailers, such as JPMC, Opry City Stage/Ole Red and Tim Hortons, and many others. Her highly focused approach reduces the risk profile and provides clients with a thoughtful approach executing strategic multi-year planning initiatives. 


Previously, Anjee served as Executive Vice President, Retail Services for Madison Marquette. She successfully assisted with repositioning community centers to lifestyle projects and identified opportunities to create value, resulting in higher returns for her clients. She also provided strategic analysis on complex redevelopment projects to address both the asset’s financial stabilization and/or the client’s exit strategy


Anjee continues to be an insatiable collector of all things retail. She’s a student of culture living next door to future shoppers, whose fleeting trends constantly change the retail landscape … driving retailers, landlords and developers crazy! Read her Blog at: 


Anjee is originally from Southern California and currently resides in San Francisco.  She is active in the Rincon Hill neighborhood residential improvement group, which participates in the public review of the highly anticipated Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco.

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