At long last, we have arrived in the metaverse. Or at the very least a vision of the metaverse has. On October 29, 2021, the website that was formerly known as Facebook and is now known as “Meta” published a video on YouTube featuring Mark Zuckerberg presenting the concept of the metaverse. With the help of the so-called “embodied internet,” we will, in theory, be able to move freely through and interact with environments that we are only able to view through a screen at the present time.
Whether it was floating in a spaceship with our friends in avatar form (the “new profile picture,” according to Zuckerberg), or attending concerts by our favourite artists, this glitzy introduction to the metaverse undoubtedly got everyone talking. However, will the metaverse eventually take the place of the internet as we know it? What repercussions does this have for businesses that are already successful despite operating solely online, such as online retail?
Metaverse store setup in today’s modern world is necessary if you want your company to expand in a relatively short amount of time. Get in touch with us if you are interested in this service, and we will assist you with all of the metaverse development services that are available. We are going to take a deep dive into the recently minted metaverse, as well as some of the ways that e-commerce is already utilising the fundamentals of virtual connectivity in innovative ways.
What Is the Metaverse?
It is not surprising to learn that customers and brands alike are stymied in their efforts to comprehend what the metaverse entails. This is due to the fact that, at least in the opinion of evangelists like Mark Zuckerberg, the metaverse does not actually exist as of right now. In addition, there is no universally accepted definition of what the metaverse actually is; this is true for a large number of other types of developing technologies as well.
The metaverse is not the result of a single invention; rather, it is an expansion of a number of technologies that are already in use and have gained widespread consumer adoption. In other words, the metaverse is not the result of a single invention. Commentators believe that all of these technological advancements, such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, and social commerce, come together to form the metaverse.
An ever-expanding network of 3D-rendered, real-time virtual spaces that not only serve as additional selling channels but also as an economy that can sustain itself. The metaverse is best conceptualized as the absolute pinnacle of blank canvases. Brands are able to go beyond simply replicating what already exists in the physical world in the metaverse by addressing newly discovered needs and pain points that are specific to digital spaces.
The building blocks of the metaverse
Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality
Despite the fact that augmented reality and virtual reality seem more like science fiction than they do today, over half of consumers (61 percent) say they prefer to make purchases from websites that incorporate augmented reality technology. It is clear that Meta has every intention of establishing a dominant position in this market given that the Horizon VR platform already has 300,000 users signed up for it. Because of the vast number of uses they have across the shopping experience, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are quickly becoming indispensable to retailers who sell products that are typically difficult to purchase online. Home furnishings, cosmetics, footwear, and fashion all have a tendency to have high return rates because it can be difficult to determine whether or not a product is suitable for purchase online.
Given all of the recent attention paid to the cryptocurrency industry, it should come as no surprise that the Collins Dictionary has chosen “Non-Fungible Tokens” (NFTs) as its word of the year for 2021. These blockchain-based digital assets have developed into everything from memes and collectibles to popular culture and fashion, and there are still many more innovations in the works that will astound us in the near future. The infallible method of ownership authentication that NFTs offer is what makes them such an important part of the metaverse, despite the fact that NFTs themselves are a complicated innovation.
NFTs can be used by both consumers and brands to speed up transactions or even to develop new digital products that boost their value proposition. This can be done in a number of different ways.
When most people think of immersive digital environments, the first thing that comes to mind is probably video games. However, rather than the realism of the settings, what makes gaming such an interesting activity is the strategies that are employed to keep us coming back for more. “Gamification” refers to the process by which designers appeal to our natural sense of competition in order to convince us to participate in an endeavor for a longer period of time.
Gamification is a technique that uses challenges and potential rewards to attract customers. As we move forwards, both the risks and the rewards will become more significant. Given how successful the model has been thus far, it should not come as a surprise that gamification will have a significant effect on the metaverse. Because consumers want to be entertained, even when performing mundane tasks like ordering groceries online, gamifying the retail experience is the key to creating more immersive brand experiences. This can be accomplished by providing customers with the opportunity to earn loyalty points by playing app-based games or by providing customers with “tokens” that can be used to purchase a variety of rewards. Both of these options are viable options.
The metaverse and ecommerce: What the metaverse means for merchants
You won’t have to look very hard at all in order to find examples of how the e-commerce industry has taken advantage of the possibilities offered by the metaverse. Despite the fact that virtual reality headsets and other products of a similar nature will not be accessible to the general public for quite some time yet, an increasing number of businesses are investigating the possibilities presented by this newly emerging sector of the digital landscape. What is it that they are looking for exactly? It is necessary for us to create experiences that are more seamless and engaging in order to remove friction from the shopping journey and increase customer loyalty. Creating experiences that are more seamless and engaging will allow us to create more loyal customers.
Breaking down the silos between offline/online channels with virtual shopping
Since the term “omnichannel” became the most popular buzzword in the retail industry, companies have been making efforts to create experiences that are consistent across a variety of channels, including e-commerce, brick and mortar, and social media. This is much easier to say than it is to accomplish, however, because it requires a sophisticated technological stack as well as complete data unification across all touchpoints. Even major retailers have had difficulty successfully coordinating all of these touchpoints. As a result of this, a number of businesses have established brand-new digital stores that are completely integrated and dynamic.
These stores combine the most advantageous features of traditional and online shopping. Thanks to virtual shopping, consumers can now “walk” around a store while enjoying 3D-rendered store displays made possible by augmented reality and virtual reality technology. This is made possible by the fact that e-commerce has transformed from static product catalogues to real-time experiences. It is the first step towards truly bridging the gap between the ease and convenience of online shopping and the immersive experience offered by traditional retail.
Providing greater personalization
With 80% of consumers indicating that they are more likely to purchase from a company that offers tailored experiences and 75% of consumers finding the concept of “living customer profiles” to be beneficial to the shopping experience, personalization is rapidly becoming the standard for any brand seeking to build customer loyalty. However, in e-commerce, personalization typically concludes with product suggestions or discounts. This may increase conversions, but it does not encourage customers to explore your brand’s ecosystem or engage with the culture that supports your product line. It is not surprising that Nike was one of the first companies to invest in the metaverse, as it has been a pioneer in digital connectivity and innovation for decades. In addition to registering a number of trademarks for digital sneakers and clothing (and thereby paving the way for the eventual release of NFTs), Nike is also advancing with customized virtual experiences.
What does the future of the metaverse hold? It remains debatable whether we will ever be able to physically enter the metaverse and exist in a different world. Whether companies such as Meta are able to develop the architecture necessary to create an open-source standard will determine the metaverse’s evolution. If not, the virtual experiences created by companies such as Nike and Charlotte Tilbury are likely to be exclusive to those brands. The COVID-19 pandemic and the need to engage customers online have contributed to the expansion of online shopping and gamified digital experiences. Even though Ready Player One-style experiences are still a ways off, we can expect them to become increasingly prevalent in e-commerce.