The events surrounding the irruption of technology from the Ecommerce and Metaverse have acquired a breakneck pace. Just weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg mentioned the term as part of his explanation for the name change of Facebook’s corporate name, which is no longer Facebook Inc. but Meta.
After the presentation of “Meta”, the naming quickly became a global trending topic on social networks, and searches for the word on Google exploded.
Before the existence of the Metaverse had been reduced to the gamer segment for years, in particular to fans of Roblox, Fortnite, and other platforms where, as a preview, immersive virtual environments are configured where people can play and interact in various ways.
Metaverses are spaces where the physical and the virtual blur their borders, when people in full suits and virtual reality headsets share with others, play, compete, buy and sell, create, design their domestic and private spaces while co-creating with the public.
All through individual avatars that will develop their own needs, interests, and styles, something like virtual alter egos but with their existence and capacity for consumption and interaction, expanding the “I” of the physical world.
True, the Metaverse has been around for decades. Still, it’s only now beginning to explode based on, in addition, the spread of high-speed broadband and a generation of high-powered processors that are now widely available to deliver a seamless experience. Intensely realistic and error-free.
The dynamics of the events should not surprise us if we remember what happened, for example, with Zoom: that video call platform had existed for years. Still, when the pandemic broke out, it took just days to become the telephone of the 70s/80s or the cell phone of the 90s and the beginning of the 21st century.
What is the Metaverse About?
We can visualize what the Metaverse is about with a scene where we imagine ourselves comfortable on the sofa in our living room with virtual reality equipment. We can share a moment of play chat in a café with a friend or family member from a distance.
At the same time, we wear unique virtual clothes, accessories, and digital objects that adorn our domestic space or position us in public, all within an ecosystem that will revolve around virtual means of payment, non-fungible digital assets such as NFTs, and cryptocurrencies.
In the Metaverses, we will be able to attend virtual concerts that take place at the ends of the world without having to travel, look for a place to leave the car, or stand in line to enter. There will be a market for objects cherished in the physical world, whose digitization will give them authentication of ownership as unique as those in the real world and add additional value.
The relationship between this fantastic world of possibilities and electronic commerce is simply natural or inevitable.
Ecommerce and Metaverse
Digital trading in the Metaverse opens up endless opportunities. However, its features will differ from traditional eCommerce as we know it. Its pillars are the concepts of that group – such as commerce 3.0 – its foundational bases being decentralization, privacy, and ubiquity.
This means that supported by new technologies such as Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and non-fungible tokens (NFT), transactions will gradually require fewer intermediaries, and it will not be necessary to provide personal information to carry them out, in addition to being able to be carried out from any device, anywhere. Any time and place.
NFTs deserve specific consideration. As cryptographically unique tokens, brands can use them to increase a physical product’s value because it can be authenticated and traced back to the place, time, and date that item was manufactured, purchased, and registered for the destination—a new owner.
Thus, the product will have an exclusive component that increases its value, whether financial or sentimental, stimulating its circulation as a social currency of social networks and specific communities, both online and offline.
The potential of this market is already being studied, and the first statistics and projections are coming out.
Some experts project that this new reality of virtual goods, games, and entertainment could account for more than $82 billion by 2025.
Metaverse and Companies
Beyond these projections, the fact that the four big technology players – Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft – have launched to invest in the Metaverse is evidence that the Metaverses will become part of our normality as they have made social media.
Use cases can either be born in the physical world and spill over into the Metaverse or, conversely, originate from an experience in the Metaverse that has a redeemable component in the physical world.
The first of the alternatives can be exemplified by the “Into the Metaverse” initiative that Adidas launched, with 30,000 units of its own NFT, on December 17, an offer that sold out in a matter of hours.
Moreover, those who acquired the NFT became part of a community with access to products and experiences in the physical world (sweatshirts, jackets, etc.) and virtual (Wearable in Metaverses, virtual events, among others).
At the latest Meta conference on “Social Trends for the Future of Commerce and Marketing for 2022 and beyond“, Nicola Mendelsohn, VP of Global Business Group of Meta, noted that “the Metaverse is an opportunity for brands that will be able to create spaces that strengthen engagement. It must be lived from the beginning”.
“The consumer no longer goes shopping but buys continuously. So we have gone from electronic commerce, where the consumer discovers the products, to the era of discovery commerce, where the products find their target”, detailed during the same event, Beth Horn, retail and e-commerce director of the former Facebook in London.
Metaverse for All
Metaverse will not only be territory for big brands. At the rate of the extension and massification of technological solutions and resources to intervene in the Metaverse, entrepreneurs and creators will access millions of users to build unique virtual products that the public has not seen before.
Without filtering the material costs of manufacturing and distribution, they will have an unprecedented possibility of reaching customers.
As never before, the client’s needs and their empowerment will be the measure of all things.
In this context, brands must ensure consumers an excellent to an unforgettable experience, a demand that is already in the DNA of eCommerce but will face new challenges in the Metaverse.
Although all the new technologies that allow us to carry out what we call commerce 3.0 (Blockchain, DeFi, NFTs, cryptocurrencies, smart contacts, etc.) are growing at a dizzying pace, they are still in their early stages and far from being fully exploited. It’s potential.
The great challenge for the next 5-10 years is to achieve a level of maturity and standardization that makes it not even necessary to understand everything behind it for a service to be possible, in the same way, that today it does not occur to us to ask ourselves what is needed for us to have Internet in our homes.
These technologies gradually require better hardware and connectivity equipment (5G), representing a digital gap in their speed of adoption or access.
Finally, another point to consider for the massification of virtual universes is to lower the cost of access to specialized devices for AR (virtual reality). Today it costs about $300 for a device like the Oculus Quest. It is also important to achieve an even more natural and satisfying experience when using these devices.
Interoperability between Metaverses
The interoperability between the different Metaverses is also a key bet for its future massification. While today we can represent the ecosystem as a galaxy where each Metaverse has its own “planet” with its inhabitants and rules, the goal is to achieve protocols and mechanisms that allow these inhabitants to travel between the different Metaverses to achieve interaction mechanisms. Between them (for example, at the level of currency, wearables, etc.)
There are many other things to plan. For example, when we currently buy a product on sites such as Amazon, we rely on multiple institutions, laws, and protocols that give us the confidence and support that the product we purchase will be delivered to us for the agreed value and that if you are not satisfied, you can make your change.
In the Metaverse, the absence of a centralized government (and associated with the physical world) and the lower personal data identification requirements will require the construction of mechanisms and protocols that generate “confidence” that when buying something, it is insured for your consideration.
The challenge for providers of digital commerce solutions is to always be ahead by investing in research to bring solutions that remove customers from the technological complexity behind them.