▷ The virtual future of commerce in the metaverse

More than every second consumer worldwide believes that daily life and lifestyle are increasingly moving towards the virtual world. The vast majority of retail executives expect major brands to expand the virtual world to make it more realistic. But what exactly is the metaverse? What role do NFTs and digital fashion play in this context? And what is the potential of the “metaverse e-commerce” for brands and retailers?

The term Metaverse has been on everyone’s lips at least since Mark Zuckerberg renamed his Facebook group Meta and declared the Metaverse to be the next big thing for the Internet. The concept of Metaverse is related to the concept of Web 3.0, the next generation of the Internet, where people will become an integral part of the Internet. Currently, there is not a single metaverse, but multiple metaverses.

Among the best-known metaverses are virtual worlds such as Decentraland or The Sandbox, where people meet to play games, shop, meet colleagues or attend concerts. Users today take the form of digital avatars. But in the future, the metaverse may evolve even more towards a mixed reality, where our avatars look like us as real people, and where our real goods are also present in the virtual world.

Virtual courts for millions of dollars

In this context, a craze has arisen for digital fashion and virtual countries, which have become commercial goods. Thus, reports have recently circulated that virtual lands on Decentraland and The Sandbox have changed hands for millions of dollars.

For example, virtual property Metaverse Group, a subsidiary of Tokens.com, recently purchased 116 virtual lots for $2.43 million. These plots were bought in the Fashion Street district of Decentraland to develop digital fashion and definitely hold runway shows there and sell digital clothes as NFTs.

But what are NFTs? These are non-exchangeable digital certificates of authenticity. Designers are using this phenomenon to release limited-edition digital clothing that users can use to dress up their avatars. Companies such as Adidas, Dolce & Gabanna or Nike have also already sold virtual clothes in the form of NFTs.

monkey with NFT style
Image by Freepik

We are therefore already at the heart of “Metaverse E-commerce”: virtual land and digital fashion are actually just two examples of the most diverse things that can be traded via Metaverse, which is what makes this phenomenon so relevant for brands and retailers . There are already platforms for digital sports trading cards such as Fanzone, while the company Timeless, for example, makes it possible to invest with NFTs in real physical collectibles, such as valuable sneakers, luxury watches or cars.

It is now also possible to share your NFTs on Instagram. In other words, the platform allows thousands of people to share, for example, a classic Porsche car and hope for an increase in the value of the right vehicle. The BlockBar platform makes it possible to invest in NFTs of virtual spirits that have a real equivalent. If necessary, the NFT can thus later be exchanged for, for example, a real drinking whiskey.

The last two examples also show that the virtual world and the real world are already merging, and that NFT technology is not only suitable for e-commerce in virtual worlds like Decentraland, but also makes it possible to market tangible products. . It is also possible for merchants and brands to open virtual stores on Metaverse platforms, where it is possible to buy not only digital products, but also goods for home delivery.

If the two worlds converge, especially in the field of fashion, this can be accompanied by a preliminary virtual fitting to check if the clothes really fit our virtual twin, which can simultaneously lower return rates and reduce the environmental impact. of unnecessary transport. More complex products could also very well be sold in the metaverse, such as real cars that could be configured there virtually and tested in an environment that we like.

If e-commerce and the metaverse move in this direction, the shops of Decentraland, The Sandbox, Roblox, Fortnite & Co. become new shop fronts for brands and retailers. Thus, the need for a flexible commerce infrastructure capable of connecting virtual objects on platforms such as additional storefronts along with online stores, apps and brick-and-mortar stores is expected to continue to grow.

Of course, no one knows yet what will be the evolution of the Metaverse in the coming years. But now is the time to familiarize yourself with virtual worlds and develop a sense of how your business can participate.

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