Imagine going back to an offline experience of shopping. The hustle of finding your size, the getting lost in between aisles, the trial room queues, the customer care interactions, et al.
But all of that, while sitting at home in your pajamas with a bag of chips. Sounds intriguing? Hang on, then. We’ll explain.
Buying goods from traditional brick-and-mortar stores has quickly become a thing of the past. Thanks to the upswing in digitization, the last decade saw things changing for offline experiences. Accelerated by the pandemic, human behavior went from excessive discomfort in a locked-in environment to now being hesitant to step out of their homes for even the most basic necessities.
Technological advancements brought ease of access which subsequently led humankind to adopt a ‘why go and get it when it can be delivered at home’ attitude.
The use of artificial intelligence and data have eased our lives so much so that our phones already know which colored blouse are we looking for, for which event on which day. And as intrusive as it may seem, we have all gotten accustomed to the convenience it has brought in our lives.
Now, circling back to what we spoke about earlier, the anticipated question is, what’s next? Where do the ‘what’s next’ and eCommerce merge in this rapidly changing digital world? On metaverse. To understand that better, let us first explain what metaverse is and why brands are jumping on this bandwagon.
WHAT IS METAVERSE?
Metaverse is a walk around reality existing on the internet that embodies real life nuances and makes them into a virtual reality for one to experience. Want to just get a taste of it? Visit MetaMall’s landing page. You’ll know what we are talking about.
A kind of virtual world, but in 3D and real-er. It is an amalgamation of a series of innovations such as Blockchain, AR, VR, crypto, NFTs, etc. This ever expanding network is a result of a rapid rate at which consumers have adopted technology in their routines.
When Meta, aka Facebook, announced its name change, it placed emphasis on them becoming metaverse-first. What that entails is experiencing an array of everyday happenings like going to school, on a vacation, shopping, to concerts, and more, while sitting at the comfort of your home.
HOW DO YOU ACCESS IT?
The Metaverse can be accessed from any data-capable device like your cellphone, computer or smart TV. Many who enter the Meta choose to do so with virtual and augmented reality headsets for an enhanced experience. It can also be accessed through less bulky and carriable wearables like watches, glasses, etc.
Now that we have a brief understanding of the term, we are certain that you’re wondering whether the metaverse is real, and if yes, how that impacts the online-only spaces such as eCommerce. Brands, both luxe and retail, have had their bets placed on this alternate reality to launch their stores on the metaverse. This would not only enable them to keep pace with the constantly changing consumer behavior in consonance with the magnitude of technological boom, but also address problem statements of customers that were earlier ignored or were difficult to answer. Nobody wants to be left out.
Hyper-personalization is going to become synonymous with customer care. Approximately, in about the next ten years, metaverse will change the way we shop, try on clothes, interact, and go about our day.
Still cannot wrap your head around it? Here, imagine this –
You’re sitting in a café with your friend and they tell you about a party happening that weekend. They invite you to the party but you do not have anything to wear. So, you decide to go shopping with them. Instantly, a range of clothes appear before you, and the digital images of the styles float by your vision. You skim and shuffle between options, and you like something. You pick it up, try it on and realize that you need a bigger size. You ask the store representative to help you with it, and they bring it to you. You try it on again, and it's perfect!
Now, imagine you couldn’t find what you were looking for. You had a pictorial reference of what you wanted so, your AI assistant scans the picture you have and presents you with a bunch of similar options.
You put it on, love it, add it to your shopping bag, and checkout. Boom! Your order will be delivered soon.
The best part? You did all of that (sitting in a café, deciding to go for the party, going to shop for clothes) from your couch. That’s the metaverse bandwagon, and this was just one of its many use cases.
While the concept is at a very nascent stage, some major brands have caused a stir in the metaverse universe up till now.
Gucci along with Roblox, a gaming platform, recreated the former’s art installation Gucci Garden in Florence, on the metaverse. The activity offered an array of themed rooms paying homage to the luxury brand’s campaigns over the years. The experience ranged from viewing, trying on, and purchasing the digital products of Gucci.
There is some hullabaloo regarding Walmart’s entry into the metaverse as well. The multinational retail corporation intends to create its own cryptocurrency along with NFTs and provide the customers with a virtual experience of shopping from their hypermarkets. From Nike to Adidas and Ralph Lauren to Urban Outfitters, every brand is on its way to leave its mark on the metaverse.
What remains to be seen is whether this revolutionary shift is something that the tech giants can catch up with or will it lose its buzz in the meantime? While the latter seems unlikely, it did take RayBan almost a decade to make consumer friendly Google Glass.
So, let’s sits tight until then. There’s usually quiet before the storm and if we are at the edge of a technological revolution like it happened with the internet then we are in for a ride!