More than one in two consumers in the world believe that daily life and lifestyle are increasingly moving towards the virtual world. The vast majority of commerce executives expect big brands to expand the virtual world to make it more realistic. But what exactly is the metaverse? What is the role of NFTs and digital fashion in this context? And what is the potential of the “e-commerce metaverse” 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 that the Metaverse will be the next big thing for the Internet. The term Metaverse is related to the term Web 3.0, the next generation of the Internet, where people must become an integral part of the Internet. Currently, there is no single metaverse, but several metaverse.
Popular metaverses include virtual worlds like Decentraland or The Sandbox, where people gather to play, shop, meet colleagues or attend concerts. Today’s users take the form of digital avatars. But in the future, the metaverse could evolve even more towards a mixed reality, where our avatars resemble us as real people and where our real assets are also present in the virtual world.
Virtual courts for millions of dollars
In this context, a craze has emerged for digital fashion and virtual lands, which have become commercial goods. Therefore, there have been reports recently that the virtual lands on Decentraland and The Sandbox have changed hands for millions of dollars.
For example, Metaverse Group, a subsidiary of Tokens.com, virtual real estate, recently purchased 116 virtual plots for $ 2.43 million. These plots were purchased in Decentraland’s Fashion Street neighborhood in order to develop digital fashion and definitely hold fashion shows there and sell digital clothing such as NFT.
But what are NFTs? These are digital certificates of authenticity that are not interchangeable. Designers are using this phenomenon to release limited edition digital clothing that users can use to dress up their avatars. Even companies like Adidas, Dolce & Gabanna or Nike have already sold virtual clothing in the form of NFTs.
We are therefore already at the center of the “Metaverse E-commerce”: virtual land and digital fashion are in fact just two examples of the most different things that can be exchanged through the Metaverse, which is what makes this phenomenon so relevant for brands and retailers. Therefore, there are already platforms for digital sports cards such as Fanzone, while the Timeless company, for example, allows you to invest with NFT 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 real vehicle. The BlockBar platform allows you to invest in NFTs of virtual spirits that have a real equivalent. If necessary, the NFT can then be exchanged later, for example, for a real whiskey to drink.
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, it also allows for the marketing of tangible products. . It is also possible for merchants and brands to open virtual stores on Metaverse platforms, where it is possible to purchase not only digital products, but also goods with home delivery.
If the two worlds converge, this could be accompanied, especially in the field of fashion, by a preliminary virtual fitting to check if the garment really fits our virtual twin, which could at the same time lower the return rates and reduce the environmental impact of transport not necessary. Even more complex products could be sold in the metaverse, like real cars that could be virtually configured there and tested in an environment we like.
If e-commerce and the metaverse move in this direction, the stores of Decentraland, The Sandbox, Roblox, Fortnite & Co. could become new showcases for brands and retailers. Therefore, the need for a flexible shopping infrastructure, capable of connecting virtual objects on platforms such as additional storefronts alongside online stores, apps and brick-and-mortar stores, is expected to continue to grow.
Obviously no one knows yet what the evolution of the Metaverse will be in the years to come. But now is the time to familiarize yourself with virtual worlds and develop an idea of how your business could take part.