More than one in two consumers worldwide believe that daily life and lifestyle are increasingly shifting towards the virtual world. The vast majority of commercial 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 to 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 are to become an integral part of the Internet. There is currently not a single metaverse, but several metaverses.
Among the best-known metaverses are 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 could evolve even more towards a mixed reality, where our avatars look like us as real people and where our real possessions are also present in the virtual world.
Virtual courts for millions of dollars
In this context, a craze for digital fashion and virtual lands has emerged, which have become commercial goods. Therefore, reports have recently been circulating that the virtual lands on 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 bought 116 virtual lots for $2.43 million. These lots were purchased in Decentraland Fashion Street district to develop digital fashion and surely organize fashion shows there and sell digital clothing as NFT.
But what are NFTs? These are non-exchangeable digital certificates of authenticity. Designers are capitalizing on 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 in the heart of the “Metaverse E-commerce”: virtual earth and digital fashion are in fact just two examples of the most diverse things that can be exchanged via the Metaverse, which is what makes this phenomenon so relevant for brands and retailers. Therefore, there are already platforms for digital sports trading cards such as Fanzone, while the company Timeless, for example, allows investing 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 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 later be exchanged for a real whiskey to drink, 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 such as Decentraland, but also allows for the marketing of tangible products. . It is also possible for merchants and brands to open virtual shops on Metaverse platforms, where it is possible to purchase not only digital products, but also goods for home delivery.
If the two worlds were to converge, this could be accompanied, especially in the field of fashion, by a preliminary virtual fitting to verify if the garment really fits our virtual twin, which could both lower return rates and reduce environmental impact of unnecessary transport. Even more complex products could very well be sold in the metaverse, like real cars that could be configured there virtually 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 commerce infrastructure, capable of linking virtual objects across platforms such as additional storefronts alongside online stores, apps and physical stores, is expected to continue to grow.
Of course, 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 company could participate.