Welcome to the metaverse of e-commerce

It’s clear that the metaverse will revolutionize e-commerce. We explore how far the trend has already come.

The metaverse is already a marketing reality.
Image: © Bobby / Adobe Stock

The metaverse is on its way – but what will it look like?

On the one hand, there is a lot of skepticism surrounding the topic – reminiscent of when the Internet entered the scene and many people didn’t expect much from the new technology. On the other hand, we have the optimists, who appreciate the previously unimaginable opportunities that arise when emerging technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality (AR & VR), blockchain, and artificial intelligence (AI) become increasingly intertwined.

There’s no doubt about it: the metaverse is already a marketing reality. Countless brands are experimenting with virtual experiences to fully immerse users. We took a look at how the metaverse is already influencing both marketing and e-commerce today, given that new business models are catching on in e-commerce as part of the “metaverse economy”.

#1 Metaverse and e-commerce: NFTs have already become the new merchandise

The Bored Ape hype was something special, leading many to jump on the NFT bandwagon and, in some cases, lose a lot of money. However, the principle behind it shows that people want individuality online and crave self-expression and self-fulfillment. In addition to avatars and other virtual doppelgängers, merch products are also already proving extremely popular in the metaverse.

There’s hardly any professional sports organization that isn’t also selling its jerseys as NFTs – or at least considering it. This trend will continue, and it will soon be hard to imagine e-commerce without NFTs. Users are designing themselves and their world just how they want it, and brands are giving them all the tools to do that.

One example is the adidas NFT collection, which fulfills precisely those aspects. ConsenSys and Sports Illustrated have come up with an idea that is no less interesting by offering tickets as NFTs that increase in value as collectibles afterwards.

#2 The metaverse as an arena for virtual brand building

Above all, fashion and luxury brands have been carving out an impressive virtual presence for themselves for some time now. Gucci, Prada, Clinique, and Louis Vuitton are not only early adopters, but they’ve also gained valuable initial insights into what a cross-reality world could look like in order to give users memorable experiences.

And it won’t be long before it becomes perfectly normal to buy clothes in a virtual H&M store or test-drive the new Porsche model on a smartphone.

But the metaverse will evolve, just like retail will. Amazon, the arguably biggest player in this sector, is already in the process of building its own NFT marketplace, while Salesforce is experimenting with using NFTs for tracking purposes as a replacement for cookies. These companies are proactively helping shape the future of e-commerce in the metaverse.

#3 The metaverse will revolutionize payment in e-commerce

With the rise of blockchain technology and the fintech scene behind it, the aspect of monetization will play a key role in the metaverse. The tokenization of money and, above all, the direct exchange of digital money in an immersive space promise huge potential.

Paying for purchases with cryptocurrencies or via other quick, secure, and digital methods will significantly influence e-commerce. adidas, which is experimenting in the metaverse probably more successfully than any other brand, is worth mentioning again here because its app makes it possible to interlink crypto wallets – a great example of how blockchain can be used in e-commerce.

#4 Gaming and e-commerce: the metaverse is paving the way

Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse “Horizon Worlds” was greatly inspired by the gaming scene.

From Axie Infinity and Illuvium to Star Atlas and My Neighbor Alice, a whole range of top-class games are already being played in the metaverse, incorporating all the necessary technologies. This trend will gain even more momentum. With Pokémon GO, Niantic has already impressively shown how much potential augmented reality has.

The metaverse will take e-commerce to the next level

The metaverse’s versatile application scenarios will revolutionize e-commerce. As we’ve seen, it’s opening up an entire spectrum of fresh opportunities for companies and brands to interact with their target groups. The metaverse economy isn’t in full swing yet, though, so we can certainly look forward to even more fascinating innovations and best cases.