There once was an ancient time when people had to leave the comfort of their homes to go shopping. However, that time is fast becoming obsolete. The metaverse is the shopping mall of the future and it’s already here. Of course, the shift away from physical stores to online shopping is a trend that has been taking place for many years but the metaverse is different. It adds another dimension to the shopping experience by facilitating a fully immersive digital universe for customers to spend their hard-earned money. Furthermore, the products available in the metaverse are as new and different as the experience itself. So, strap on your VR headset and let us guide you through the new era of metaverse shopping.
What is Metaverse?
The term metaverse is something you hear a lot these days. It has been thought by many as the next version of the internet. Thus, many new technologies are deeply interconnected with the metaverse, for example, cryptocurrency, blockchain, NFTs, and VR to name a few. Furthermore, companies and billionaires like Mark Zuckerburg won’t stop talking about its future potential. However, even with all the headlines, the metaverse is still a concept that can be difficult to understand.
In simple terms, the metaverse is an expansive digital ecosystem that blends aspects of physical and virtual experiences. It’s an immersive network of digital worlds that can be used as a medium for humans to interact and experience existence through an alternative lens. The scope of things that can be done in the metaverse is quickly expanding and one of the major areas of expansion is e-commerce.
What kind of Shopping is available in the Metaverse?
Ever since humans began trading in the markets of Mesopotamia, economies have been dictated by the supply and demand model. Whilst, the metaverse does not fundamentally change the transactional nature of economies, it does however provide a space that allows for the trading of an array of very new and very different kinds of products.
The metaverse is a marketplace for many things that would have made our ancestor’s heads explode in bewilderment. These new products range from NFTs to digital real estate to virtual entertainment and accessories. However, it is not only a marketplace for these new types of assets. The metaverse is also a place where physical products can be sold and purchased. Hence, many companies have already purchased land or opened virtual stores in the metaverse. For example, Gucci just sold a digital version of a real-life handbag that can only be used as an accessory in the Roblox metaverse. Additionally, fashion house Balenciaga has been selling high-end skins that players can purchase and wear in Fortnite. Then last December, Nike acquired RTFKT – an NFT studio via which it plans to release and sell Nike-branded virtual apparel in the metaverse. Furthermore, as the metaverse is refined and improved the scale and range of both physical and virtual products available are set to increase substantially.
How do you Purchase Products in the Metaverse?
In the shopping malls of the past, primitive humans used to store cash in small containers they referred to as ‘wallets’. These wallets were usually kept in the pockets of their clothing. However, in the metaverse, this is not the case. In the metaverse, assets are typically purchased using cryptocurrencies. The type of cryptocurrency that is used is based on your personal preference and in which world you intend to make the purchase. For example, the most common cryptocurrency used for land purchases is Ethereum but there are many others out there.
Furthermore, many metaverse worlds have been designed to only accept a specific kind of cryptocurrency. Although, many are betting that blockchain technology will connect metaverse worlds in the future and this may impact what cryptocurrencies can be used.
What is the Future of Shopping in the metaverse?
The era of shopping in the metaverse has only just begun. Thus, the magnitude and direction of its future are difficult to know for certain. However, one thing is certain. The future success of metaverse shopping is deeply connected to the future success of cryptocurrencies. Of course, the metaverse as a virtual space will progress regardless of the future success of crypto. But given that most purchases in the metaverse are made using crypto, the future of shopping in the metaverse is closely linked to crypto.
If cryptocurrencies can continue on their current trajectory and become more widely adopted and trusted moving forward then this is good news for the metaverse economy. Furthermore, as more traditional brands start to make their entrance into the metaverse marketplace it will be interesting to see how this plays out. There are a couple of different ways retailers can choose to utilize the metaverse.
Firstly, the metaverse can be used as a digital space to advertise the brand and the physical products available in the real world. Secondly, brands can develop and sell digital products in exchange for crypto. Again, the future of crypto is an important factor. Most large companies still remain hesitant to accept crypto as a means of payment. However, if crypto can continue to grow then this may change in the future.
The metaverse is a relatively new concept. Additionally, it does not operate independently of other new technologies. Thus, its future is deeply intertwined with the future of these technologies. The progress of VR technology is what will make the metaverse an even more immersive experience. The popularity of NFTs and other digital assets will be the backbone of the metaverse economy. The adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology will determine the scale of transactions in the metaverse. Thus, the metaverse and shopping in the metaverse cannot be viewed in isolation. The sum total of all of these cutting-edge concepts and technologies will be the next iteration of the internet. It is too early to know exactly what it will look like or how it will function. Although, we can begin to see its potential and the general shape of what the future holds. However, there is one thing that is certain. The shopping experience and the types of assets people deem valuable is set to change forever.