More than one in two consumers worldwide believe that daily life and lifestyle are increasingly moving towards the virtual world. The vast majority of business executives expect big brands to expand into virtual worlds to make them 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 “metaverse e-commerce” for brands and retailers?
The word metaverse is on everyone’s lips, not least since Mark Zuckerberg renamed his Facebook group Meta and announced the metaverse as 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 be an integral part of the Internet. Currently, there is not a single metaverse, but several metaverses.
The best-known metaverses include virtual worlds such as Decentraland or The Sandbox, where people gather 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 toward a mixed reality, where our avatars appear to us as real people and where our real selves are also present in the virtual world.
Virtual court for millions of dollars
In this context, a craze for digital fashion and virtual land has emerged, which has become a commercial product. Thus, reports have recently circulated that the virtual lands of Decentraland and The Sandbox have changed hands for millions of dollars.
For example, virtual real estate group Metaverse Group, a subsidiary of Tokens.com, recently purchased 116 virtual plots for $2.43 million. These plots were bought in the Fashion Street district of Decentraland to develop digital fashion and of course runway shows were held there and digital clothing was sold as NFT.
But what are NFTs? These are non-exchangeable digital certificates of authenticity. Designers are using the phenomenon to release limited edition digital clothing that users can use to dress up their avatars. Companies like Adidas, Dolce & Gabanna or Nike have already sold virtual clothing in the form of NFTs
So we are already at the heart of “metaverse e-commerce”: virtual land and digital fashion are actually two examples of the most diverse things that can be transacted through the metaverse, which makes this phenomenon so relevant for brands and retailers. Thus, there are already platforms for digital sports trading cards like FanZone, while the company Timeless, for example, makes it possible to invest with NFTs in real physical collectibles like valuable sneakers, luxury watches or cars.
It is now possible to share your NFT on Instagram. In other words, the platform allows thousands of people to share a classic Porsche car, for example, and hopes to increase the value of the original car. The Blockbar platform makes it possible to invest in NFTs of virtual spirits that have real equivalents If needed, NFT can thus be exchanged later for real drinking whiskey, for example.
The last two examples also show that the virtual world and the real world are already merging together and that NFT technology is not only suitable for e-commerce in virtual worlds like Decentraland, but also allows real products to be marketed. It is also possible for merchants and brands to open virtual shops on Metaverse platforms, where it is possible to buy not only digital products, but also products for home delivery.
If the two worlds merge, it can be accompanied, especially in fashion, by an initial virtual fitting to check if the clothes really fit our virtual twins, which can simultaneously reduce the return rate. and can reduce environmental impact. Unnecessary transportation. More complex products could very well be sold in the Metaverse, such as real cars that can be virtually configured there and tested in the environment of our choice.
If e-commerce and the metaverse move in this direction, Decentraland, The Sandbox, Roblox, Fortnite & Co. stores could become the new storefronts for brands and retailers. Thus, the need for a flexible commerce infrastructure capable of linking virtual objects to platforms such as online shops, apps and physical stores as well as additional storefronts is expected to continue to grow.
Of course, no one yet knows what the evolution of the metaverse will be in the coming years. But now is the time to familiarize yourself with the virtual world and develop an idea of how your business can participate.