How Metaverse Is Transforming The ECommerce Landscape
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How Metaverse is Transforming the eCommerce Landscape

 
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Technical Consultant
The internet has changed the way we connect, live, shop, and much more. It has totally changed the way retail businesses operate around the world through massive digitalization using eCommerce.

World wide web has fueled a massive growth of online shopping in the last few years. According to Statista, “The total number of digital shoppers worldwide grew by over one billion between 2014 and 2021 and is expected to keep growing”. We have successfully entered the era of digitalization, where the technology is thriving to replace the traditional operations, making our lives easier than ever.

Recent technological innovations such as Blockchain, NFTs, virtual reality, virtual currency envision a more immersive experience of the internet - the so-called ‘Metaverse’. It is just around the corner as we enter into web 3.0.

This post is all about Metaverse, and its impact on the online shopping landscape that every eCommerce business owner must know.

What is Metaverse?

The Internet has drastically developed in the last few decades from just showing monotonous pages to the user to allowing them to interact, generate content, and connect with each other. Connecting with your friends through facetime, sharing amazing memes, adding negative reviews to the pizza store that you didn’t enjoy, all these things are now possible only due to the internet.

Now, what next? We are leaning towards a more immersive virtual experience than the human race ever had with the Metaverse. The synergized effect of extended realities, blockchain, NFTs, and other cutting-edge technologies is allowing us to peek into a more virtual world that is more real than ever.

The word ‘Metaverse’ is made up of two words, ‘Meta’ meaning beyond and ‘Verse’ meaning universe, which simply means beyond the universe. The definition of Metaverse goes like - ‘a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.’

According to Facebook, rebranded as Meta, ‘Metaverse is the next evolution of social connection.’

It is a computer simulated world where people can interact. Technology of blockchain and extended realities is letting us look beyond the true reality. Metaverse refers to the idea of a virtual simulated world on the blockchain, in which the users can interact through the extended reality.

In layman’s terms, it is a three-dimensional computer-generated replica of the real world that allows the users to interact with it through an immersive experience.

Metaverse - The New Beginning for eCommerce

The Internet is no longer just the place to gather information, and today, users can interact, engage, post content, and do other stuff on the internet. And this is getting better over time. Metaverse is going to change how things work, including eCommerce. It will totally change how people interact online, right from online meetings to organizing events. The virtual world will take over almost everything in the upcoming years with the rise of Metaverse.

Online businesses must pace up their marketing strategies and efforts with the ever-changing online landscape to survive this enormous transition from web 2.0 to web 3.0. This brings plenty of challenges as well as opportunities for the eCommerce businesses.

Nuts and Bolts of Metaverse

[Image Credits: Freepik.com]

Before we dive deep into the ocean of Metaverse, let us consider having a look at its core. Blockchain, Extended Reality, and NFTs form the building blocks of Metaverse. Let us review each of them to understand how they are helping to form a virtual world.

Blockchain

When we are talking about Metaverse, we are talking about a decentralized, and synchronous virtual world where the events occur in real-time just like the real world. Such a real time, synchronous, and decentralized virtual ecosystem is not possible without the technology of blockchain.

In a virtual world, this technology can ensure that all the events are logged into a secure, and decentralized series of records, known as blocks. These blocks are decentralized, which can not be altered using a single entity, thus providing a more secure and reliable ecosystem that is not governed by anyone.

This will allow to track changes in the virtual assets, their ownerships, and will also allow to prevent crime in the Metaverse.

Extended Reality

Extended reality (XR) is a spectrum term used to cover immersive experiences such as Virtual reality (VR), Augmented reality (AR). Metaverse is the whole new level of the virtual experiences through the XR. Metaverse is just a sci-fi thing without the extended reality.

These technologies take the immersive experiences of the virtual world to the next level by bringing them directly in front of our senses, such as 3d visuals through augmented reality, 3d surrounding sounds, etc.

Non-Fungible Tokens

The term - ‘non-fungible token’, abbreviated as NFT, has gained massive popularity in the last couple of years. It refers to the digital assets that are registered on a decentralized blockchain that maintains a highly accurate record of the ownership of these assets.

The non-fungible tokens can be created from digital assets, ranging from a piece of melodious music to a great artwork. The digital assets in the Metaverse will be stored in the blockchain in the form of NFTs, which can be tracked and reproduced as and when required.

The Current State of Metaverse

In reality, virtual worlds has been amongst us since more than a decade and it is possible that we are not aware of it. Call it a Minecraft or Pokemon Go, they all are some kind of virtual worlds giving more or less virtual life experiences.

Technology of blockchain has been expanding the horizons of the virtual worlds and allowed the world to think about the concept of Metaverse. It is now possible to create decentralized virtual worlds where the reality is synchronous and trackable through the blockchain. There are a few couples of virtual world projects already being developed for a virtual future.

The Sandbox is one such virtual world built on Ethereum, which allows the people to buy virtual lands, and digital assets in the form of NFTs. There are plenty of other examples of virtual worlds also available.

Metaverses are developing at a rapid pace, with a huge demand for the digital assets such as NFTs. The adoption rate of the virtual world is also growing with time and will dominate the real world in no time.

Metaverse for Online Merchants and Customers

Virtual worlds are no longer just sci-fi and fictional things. The mass adoption of the virtual worlds will totally change how things work, including online shopping and business. It has a lot of things to offer to the customers as well as for the merchants.

Here is how the Metaverse will affect the online merchants and the customers.

Virtual Shopping

The virtual world will take the shopping experience to the next level through more immersive product experiences. The virtual world will have a place for virtual stores where customers can have an immersive experience of the product. Being digital assets, it is possible for the merchants to open the same stores across an array of virtual worlds. Even Facebook is providing a facility of using Facebook Shop for selling products on Facebook.

For the customers, exploring products and experiencing them across the dimensions will provide a more immersive shopping experience. The line of difference between real shopping and virtual shopping will be almost nullified through it.

Personalized Shopping

Personalization is the key to success for the businesses. Customers love to purchase customized products. There are plenty of tools already available that allows the customers to customize the products, for example Magento 2 Product Designer.

The eCommerce behemoths are already taking advantage of product personalizations by allowing the customers to personalize and customize the products as per their requirements. Metaverse will open new possibilities, and will take product personalization to the next level.

Customers will be able to personalize the products and experience them through the virtual experiences in real-time. This will totally change how the online businesses work.

Customer Interaction

The hyper-real alternative virtual world will bring a massive revolution how people interact with the virtual things. Metaverse has a lot to revolutionize in the online business landscape including how customers interact with the brands and products.

A 3D virtual space where people can interact with virtual assets and other people will replace today’s 2 dimensional monotonous product pages. This will improve the customer interaction level with the brands & products almost as high as in-person shopping.

Such a highly immersive product experience will greatly influence the customers’ purchase decisions. It will also enhance the pre-sales and post-sales shopping experience of the customers through various emerging virtual touch points.

For example, the brands can show their products in actions through virtual objects in the Metaverse.

Metaverse for Luxury Brands

The emergence of virtual worlds is expected to influence billions of people and their virtual presence. Three dimensional avatars play inside such virtual worlds.

In a scenario where most of things have shifted from real to virtual, people care more about their avatars’ looks in the virtual world. According to Mark Zuckerberg, Avatars are going to be everything in the Metaverse and will represent their actions and gestures through richer interactions.

Luxury brands are already making plenty of bucks out of this. The virtual assets are being sold through the non-fungible tokens in a limited quantity in the virtual worlds. Here is how luxury brands have started solidifying their roots in the virtual worlds as well.

  • Gucci sold a virtual bag in the Robolox through NFT for 350,000 Robolox currency, which is equivalent to $4,115.

  • In december 2021, Nike took over RTFKT, a popular digital sneaker brand that sold over 600 pairs of shoes worth $3.1 million in less than seven minutes.

  • In 2021, Coca-Cola partnered with Tafi and create virtual loot boxes through NFTs and grabbed over $1 million.

Conclusion

Virtual worlds are no longer just sci-fi things! Metaverse is just about to bring a revolutionary change in the eCommerce landscape through blockchain, NFTs, and extended reality. It will make the shopping experience much more personalized, immersive and interactive.

Some of the business leaders including Nike, Gucci, Coca-Cola have already started harnessing strengthening their roots in the Metaverse. Current scenario suggests that the virtual worlds are going to be future, requiring the eCommerce businesses to take part in the big game.

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