eCommerce Is Taking The Next Great Leap In The Metaverse

The virtual world will open endless possibilities for marketers to unleash their creative prowess. Digital shopping from the comfort of one’s couch sounds good. Add a digital avatar into the equation that allows you to try out items before purchase, and you’ll discover unlimited possibilities of the metaverse. Just as the world was excited about […]


  • The virtual world will open endless possibilities for marketers to unleash their creative prowess.

    Digital shopping from the comfort of one’s couch sounds good. Add a digital avatar into the equation that allows you to try out items before purchase, and you’ll discover unlimited possibilities of the metaverse.

    Just as the world was excited about the internet in the 90s, the metaverse is the new internet today, and the global market is predicted to reach $678.8 billion by 2030. Do we need it? 

    Apart from optimised delivery and a better recommendation engine, the eCommerce industry has not changed much in the last two decades. With the advent of virtual space, immersive experience has become an urgent need. 

    A Google survey revealed that over 65 per cent of customers would like an AR tool to help them shop, and a Shopify report shows that 3D product interactions bring out a 94 per cent higher conversion rate. These numbers prove that the eCommerce industry has a lot to gain in the metaverse. 

    Although the metaverse is still developing, it is already working wonders for brands. Study shows that there are several brands in the metaverse. Brand advertisements from Chipotle, Coca-Cola, Google, Marvel, Cartoon Network, Nike, and Red Bull have been viewed in the virtual space. And some brands, including Sephora, Nike, and Hyundai, have their immersive virtual worlds under construction.

    Metaverse marketing

    The metaverse opens endless possibilities for marketers to unleash their creative prowess.

    Millennials and the Gen X audiences are the most significant customer target for most brands, as the metaverse is the new playground. It wouldn’t be long before ten-year-olds recognise a Prada or a Dolce & Gabbana outfit, having purchased it themselves as a skin for their digital avatar in a game like Fortnite.

    Collaborations with gaming companies offer immersive eCommerce and retail marketing opportunities. The Wall Street Journal reports that Vans launched a virtual skatepark in Roblox that lets players – the potential customers – try them on, earn points, and redeem them in the virtual store.

    Vans claims that the park has witnessed over 48 million visitors and has tremendously increased brand awareness. With a targeted audience in one place, the collected data can be a pot of gold to create more authentic and valuable experiences for customers.

    Gucci also released an exclusive digital pair of sneakers, The Gucci Virtual 25, that can be worn by digital avatars or be used in partnered apps like Roblox. 

    Party with your favourite influencer

    We could have a digital avatar of Kim Kardashian giving a tour to customers in a Prada store in the metaverse. With the possibility of hyper-personalised retail experiences, eCommerce marketers are itching to invest in metaverse influencer marketing. 

    Brands can collaborate with influencers to further customise their customer target audience. Recent research estimates global brands to spend around $15 billion on influencer marketing.

    Influencer marketing platform Post For Rent built a digital influencer HQ in Decentraland to become the bridge between the physical and the virtual world for all influencers and brands. Even blockchain technology platform Xfinite Ventures and influencer marketing company MAD Influence partnered to help influencers enter the Web 3.0 economy and collaborate with brands.

    Tools and services

    The aftermath of the pandemic had already brought out digital experiences that reflected primary metaverse attributes. For instance, Ikea uses AR technology to design their own home or workspace, L’Oréal enables customers to virtually try on products, and Gucci rolled out a virtual exhibit on Roblox. With the increasing launch of metaverse-specific tools, these immersive experiences can increase tenfold, and eCommerce marketers need to keep their eyes open for technological developments.

    Building on its existing immersive 3D experiences and eCommerce platforms, Adobe recently announced innovations to its Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Experience Cloud to deliver more realistic virtual experiences for users. Adobe envisions a metaverse that includes a fully-immersive layer to have eCommerce and enable immersive hyper-personalisation. 

    Adobe has also collaborated with brands such as The Coca-Cola Company, Epic Games, NASCAR, and NVIDIA for technology advancements and experiences, including immersive content tools, Substance 3D, 3D design workflows, and cross-cloud integrations to help businesses be metaverse ready. 

    “The metaverse and other immersive experiences will only succeed if they are feature-rich, personalised, engaging and interactive content,” said  Adobe Creative Cloud chief product officer and executive vice president Scott Belsky. 

    “To lead in the metaverse, brands should start creating 3D and immersive content now – it will prepare them for the future and make their product design and creation of marketing and eCommerce assets better, faster, and cheaper.” The move reflects the need for 3D representation in the eCommerce sector, paving the way for improved AR shopping tools. 

    The MetaMall has launched a decentralised mall, a VR experience in the metaverse that allows users to build, explore and trade virtual properties. Relying on the blockchain industry as currency, the metaverse startup raised a seed funding of $7 million to get started. With a vision to offer space to over 250 brands, the virtual mall is set to open soon. 

    Helpshift, an in-app customer service and user support platform, recently launched Metashift, a patented user support and customer service solution for the metaverse. Brands can use the tool to provide immersive support within AR, VR, and mobile experiences. And Amazon added an AR shopping tool room decorator, that allows shoppers to use their phones or laptop to see what the home décor would look like in their own space. 

    While such innovative tools are picking up speed, marketers do not yet have the proper measurement and tracking tools. But experts believe it’s only a matter of time.

    What’s the word in the Middle East?

    Things are heating up in the Middle East as well. Deloitte is working on enhancing shopping experiences by building a metaverse environment. Hoping to take retailers to the virtual space with AR/VR technology, Hosein Moghaddas, Retail & Consumer Business Lead, Middle East at Deloitte, said, “The surge in online retail will continue to grow. Add in the metaverse, and the retail landscape is facing the biggest disruption it will likely experience in the coming decade.”

    Even Zain Group signed a distribution deal with HTC Vive to bring sophisticated VR technology into the Middle East and get the metaverse train rolling soon. Malek Hammoud, chief investment and digital officer at Zain, said the partnership would “herald” the operator’s entry into the metaverse and add to its digital experience across the region.

    But enter the metaverse with caution

    Forrester reports that although the metaverse is the talk of the industry today, it is not yet actualised. An extended-reality experience is inaccurately being called metaverse.

    “Right now, people have so much choice for content that it’s very hard to get consumers to pick up anything new. B2B or B2C, the most scarce resource we have today, is attention. Expecting somebody to strap a headset on and invest hours of their life is a massive ask. Yes, there will be some people; it’s their jam. And if those people are also your customers, then the metaverse is for you,” said Christopher Penn, data and marketing expert.

    Regardless, of some scepticism, more than 75 per cent of B2C marketing executives plan to invest in the metaverse this year. However, it is critical for CMOs to not fall for the fallacies of the metaverse and make ill-informed decisions. eCommerce marketers should consider the developments in metaverse technology and how it could amplify the inherent brand attributes and increase customer acquisition.

    The future of eCommerce is meta

    Move over Click N Buy, it’s all about Experience N Buy now, and the eCommerce industry is buzzing with metaverse excitement.

    Gartner’s study estimated 25 per cent of people to be spending at least an hour in the metaverse every day. The numbers might not look astounding, but the future looks promising. Based on how metaverse investments, tools, and innovations are making headlines and throwing new light on the future of eCommerce, the ones who think the metaverse is a fad might just have to eat their words.

    Although it’s the gaming industry that is reaping the most benefits at the moment, the eCommerce industry is definitely not far behind. 

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