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Metaverse

Lotte Group aims for top spot in metaverse retail space

Lotte Duty Free will take the lead in the group’s transition to a metaverse-focused commerce platform operator

By Jan 13, 2022 (Gmt+09:00)

Lotte Duty Free's virtual fitting room at CES 2022
Lotte Duty Free's virtual fitting room at CES 2022

Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin is known for his obsession with new tech gadgets.

He’s one of those early adopters in South Korea of the Oculus Quest 2, a virtual reality headset created by Facebook Technologies, a division of Meta Platforms Inc.

His love of new devices helped the retail giant readily acquire Korean metaverse startup Caliverse last year and turned it into a subsidiary of Lotte Data Communication.

The group now wants to expand its online commerce business into the metaverse space, with its duty-free shop operation unit taking the lead.

Lotte Duty Free, the world’s second-largest duty-free business operator, unveiled a metaverse duty-free shop and a virtual fitting room at CES 2022 in Las Vegas last week.

Lotte Duty Free hosted the Lotte Family Concert with BTS attending in 2021
Lotte Duty Free hosted the Lotte Family Concert with BTS attending in 2021

On Thursday, the company said it will hold this year’s Lotte Family Concert, its annual music festival, in the metaverse, with Korea’s popular artists attending. Last year’s concert, held online, featured a glittering K-pop lineup, including boyband sensation BTS and girl groups such as Twice and Itzy.

ACCELERATING DIGITAL TRANSITION

“Last year, we newly launched a business division tasked with the digital transition,” said a Lotte Duty Free official. “Our marketing this year will be data-driven to help our customers prepare for travels, shopping at duty-free shops and others.”

Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lotte Duty Free was the world’s No. 2 duty-free shop operator with annual sales of 10 trillion won ($8.4 billion) in 2019.

Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin
Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin

Group Chairman Shin recently said metaverse will be one of Lotte’s new growth engines, vowing to emerge as one of the world’s top retail giants by linking the metaverse with its core businesses such as e-commerce, duty-free shops and construction.

As part of such efforts, Lotte in November of last year joined hands with VAIV Company Inc., a Korean big data firm, to provide a metaverse environment where customers can purchase products through virtual shops. The two companies plan to release the metaverse commerce platform in the first half of 2022.

Write to Dong-Hui Park at donghuip@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.
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