How will the metaverse change the e-commerce landscape? 

by Inveon in June 9th, 2022

The term metaverse, which gained popularity recently, is starting to appear across a number of fields. You've probably already heard the term tossed around in various areas. Metaverse refers to a type of shared, virtual space supported by a number of users simultaneously. It is an immersive 3D space that can be accessed through technological tools and allows people a new and inspiring way of interacting with each other.

The metaverse is simply the next step in technological evolution; we will eventually connect ourselves to an immersive internet experience that functions as a real-time simulation of our modern society in which anything you can imagine exists online. We can think of the metaverse as a result of changing consumer behaviors and expectations and the speed of digitalization. Many big brands take their place in this online universe. According to Forbes, global investment in VR/AR, the core technologies of the metaverse, is predicted to increase from $12 billion in 2020 to $72.8 billion in 2024.

A New Beginning for E-commerce

As the metaverse continues to redefine the landscape of online interactions, one thing is clear: e-commerce and shopping behaviors will also transform with this change. Consumers are demanding more from their online shopping experiences and online retailers have delivered accordingly. But as it turns out, digital transformation is still a continuous process. The possibilities of the digital universe are constantly diversifying and new concepts are entering our lives, such as:

>> Blockchain 

Blockchain is the technology backbone of a set of open protocols and software that enable the existence of the metaverse. Blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value. It is a decentralized, digitized, public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. Metaverse provides a space for users to purchase, sell, or upgrade completely virtual assets in a virtual environment, such as houses, places, goods, and skins through cryptocurrencies. People have already paid $200 million on metaverse items, according to the Grayscale research.

>> Extended reality

Extended Reality, shortened as XR, is a catch-all phrase for the mixture of virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality. Devices that are capable of XR can provide all three sensations. It is about creating completely digital and near-real experiences for users.

>> NFTs

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are a new paradigm that has been introduced to the cryptocurrency & blockchain space. They can be used to describe or tokenize pretty much any unique digital asset, even if it doesn't fall in the ownership category. NFTs are virtual items that exist purely in the digital world, they are unique, and can't be replicated while also being transferable & tradeable on the network.

The increasing prevalence of AR/VR devices and technology is changing how consumers discover new products, engage with retailers and interact with brands in virtual settings. Virtual storefronts that provide access to a far greater selection of merchandise than their physical counterparts become commonplace. As customers and companies participate more in metaverse with their social circles, the lines between traditional operations, digital commerce, and virtual settings are blurring. Metaverse may contribute to e-commerce in various ways. Here are some matters to expect from this exciting new concept:

>> Virtual shopping

Gartner forecasts that by 2026, 25% of people will spend at least one hour daily in the metaverse. One of the most exciting features of metaverse probably will be the potential shopping. Many large businesses are seeking ways to participate in the digital world concept to deliver more engaging, and interactive experiences. People can purchase items for their virtual avatar, dress it, and customize it to create a lifelike representation of themselves. As there are currently businesses that offer digital products and experiences that can only be used in the metaverse, the metaverse opens up new possibilities for different industries. 

>> Broader access to consumers

Since the metaverse has no limits or borders, for now, anyone who has an internet connection and the suitable gear can join and interact with the digital universe. That is a great opportunity for businesses to raise brand awareness and reach more customers. Even small-sized start-ups may expand quicker in the digital universe because they have the chance to reach a larger audience, and this creates an equal competitive opportunity for brands.

>> Hyper-personalized experiences 

Delivering an appealing customer experience has traditionally been essential to sustainable growth, and with technological improvements, businesses may now access massive quantities of user data to assist them to improve their services. The capability to trace a customer's behavior, purchasing background, preference and demographic profile is an advantage of virtual shopping experiences in the metaverse. This data might be used to provide relevant suggestions and to stimulate purchases.

>> Improved customer interaction 

Customer engagement is one of the most important variables shaping a business's future. Metaverse means a new channel for companies to interact with customers more innovatively. The services provided through metaverse will help companies improve customer relationships and will also benefit customers while allowing for fascinating features such as virtual shopping assistants, real-time customer support, etc. For example, if a consumer want to inspect a product before purchasing it or want someone else’s opinion about how the product works before buying it they can take a friend into their digital space where they can interact with the product while shopping together. Providing an interactive experience that captures customers' entire attention will allow individuals to connect with the business more deeply and establish more committed customer relationships. In the future, we may expect even superior customer experiences in the metaverse.

Brands selling in the metaverse

Many e-commerce companies have already begun to take advantage of the tools available in metaverse it’s now just a matter of deciding how best to use them. Recently, Coca-Cola has launched a series of four new NFTs to celebrate International Friendship Day. When the owners bought the collections, they received surprising presents. Among the presents were a "Coca-Cola Bubble Jacket Wearable" that may be worn in Decentraland (3D virtual world browser-based platform) and historical items. Brands may utilize such programs to reward consumer loyalty while also reaching out to new customers.

“House of Beauty” is an annual event organized by Sephora, and with the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of online commerce, the 2021 event has been made completely digital and free to attend. Five unique “rooms” where customers can take a virtual tour, including a 3D interactive funhouse, a “loft” for beauty product connoisseurs to network, a “family room” for roundtable discussions with beauty brand founders, and a “home theater” for tutorials and makeup contained. There were also masterclasses and a backyard “party” with celebrity guests and influencers. With the effective use of new technologies, Sephora was able to present consumer engagement in more creative and fun ways.

Future of e-commerce in the metaverse

Metaverse technology will enable businesses to offer users hyper-personalized digital experiences. Shoppers will enjoy a smooth, time-saving experience in the digital universe, making it easy to discover precisely what they want, when they want. In contrast to the current experiences and constraints, the metaverse may enable companies to access and modify their purchasing experience at scale, allowing them to reach more people and therefore sustainable growth.

The future of e-commerce is unquestionably tied to the future of the metaverse. For now, it's exciting to see how many brands have already jumped on a new medium and are making their mark in this uncharted territory.

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