What’s better than next day or same day delivery? I hear you saying it is nowadays’ hot topic of Q-commerce businesses promising delivery under 10 minutes (like GoPuff, Getir etc.).
Let’s push our imagination more for a better option and try to think about the instant delivery concept where customers are able to use/experience the product the moment they click on the purchase button. Pushing too hard? I don’t think so, as expected in the not-so-long future, if we’re going to spend most of our time in the Metaverse.
This new channel has the potential to improve the current ecommerce practices and transform how we purchase online, moving from “click and buy” to “experience and buy” practices enabling customers to experience a product virtually before making the purchase decision.
I won’t go into the details of the metaverse definition as this new word has been popping up everywhere for the last couple of months. Instead, here’s a glimpse of it:
In this post, I would like to brainstorm together on the promises of the Metaverse and how companies can build better shopper experiences as I’ve been spending the recent years of my career on new marketplace launches and creating top performing CX designs for the largest ecommerce conglomerate.
Note: I would like to keep this post focused on the commercial benefits of the metaverse. However, we cannot explain a true metaverse form without mentioning blockchain and NFTs as web3.0 will be the foundation of the metaverse. As this area deserves a dedicated article, I’ve tried to briefly share some of the metaverse related blockchain applications at the end of the article.
Let’s dive into the opportunities of the Metaverse Commerce. Enjoy!
According to Gartner 25% of people will spend at least one hour a day in the Metaverse for work, shopping, education, social media and entertainment by 2026.
Imagine you’re still working from home but this time your AR glasses on and you’re in your company’s Metaverse office having a meeting with your colleagues. I hear you sayin’ not so far, HOLD ON!
Microsoft recently announced that it will be launching its own enterprise Metaverse in 2022, and users will be able to access business tools like MS Excel and PowerPoint on it (yeey, great news ha!).
So, you will hop into the metaverse for a business meeting at 12pm and be able to catch up with an old friend for a virtual coffee chat right afterwards. As you’ll be spending most of your time in the Metaverse (your computer & iPhone will already be replaced by iGlasses soon), it’s not hard to estimate that you’ll also want to do your daily shopping within the same experience maybe followed by fully immersive gaming. Doesn’t it sound like the replica of your life?
Then, let’s be realistic, if we’re building replicas of the physical world in the metaverse, why would some of the basic customer reactions change in that virtual world too?
Imagine how this transformation will be disruptive for most of the well-established Web2.0 e-commerce and retail giants, if they don’t adapt.
Critical data on why retailers should seriously consider adopting to metaverse comes from a Google survey which shows that 66% of people say that they’re interested in using AR for help when shopping, and Shopify revealed that interactions with products having 3D content showed a 94% higher conversion rate than those without it.
Samsung, Coca-Cola, Gucci, Nike and many more. What’s common for these brands is that they all enjoy early mover advantage in the metaverse space. This new shopping in the metaverse trend will hit fast before you know it!
Ecommerce (Speed + Convenience) + Physical Retail (Personalization + Experience) = Metaverse Commerce
So, E-Commerce has finally a successor!
As you can even see from Walmart’s 2017 prototype, Metaverse shopping will transform ecommerce from 2D static product catalogs into real-time experiences that enable consumers to ‘walk’ around a store, enjoying 3D-rendered store displays. It’s a huge step to truly bridging the divide between the immersiveness of physical retail and the ease and convenience of shopping online.
As Microsoft’s Vice President, Jared Spataro said, “You could, for instance, experience a Best Buy store in the metaverse and check out displays and devices. Today when you think of a website, it is not very well connected to the physicality of what we experience.”
Metaverse will be key to fill that gap and customers in the metaverse will get to ‘walk’ around a store, enjoy product displays, and complete purchases the way they normally would — all from the comfort of their home. It’s a unique fusion between the immersive nature of physical retail and the ease of shopping online.
Due to myriad of applications and convenience across the shopping experience, metaverse has the potential to improve current ecommerce practices and create truly unique customer experiences. Let’s look into a few concepts that metaverse will revolutionize:
Personalized Experience: Personalization in ecommerce so often stops at the point of product recommendations or discounts. In Metaverse, brands will offer their customers hyper-personalized experiences without worrying about the physical world’s many barriers.
Higher profitability: Studies show that consumers are willing to pay as much as 40% more for a product that can be tested in 3D. Thanks to advanced product visualization capabilities in the metaverse, consumers will be able to make better-informed purchasing decisions which would lead to higher profit margins for brands.
Stronger Community Engagement: By empowering customers to actively participate in your brand’s activities, you can build a more symbiotic relationship that stays in touch with what fans want from your brand. — You can drop an exclusive product launch in the metaverse, only available to your most passionate fans who pay the special access to get that product.
Better customer insights: Marketing’s all about understanding your customers, right? Marketers create content to keep their customers engaged, think about how exciting it would be to have people discover and interact with a virtual collection. Metaverse will allow brands to test their product penetration without manufacturing. If customers love the products they’re experiencing in the virtual world, brands will then know how much of it to manufacture.
Customer Experience: We’ll be creating a real-life like digital experiences in the metaverse, unlike the 2D interface of the traditional e-commerce experiences. Metaverse has the potential to bridge the gap between ecommerce and in-store shopping experiences. Importance of addressing this is clear as 70% of consumers rate the ability to try on, touch and see physical products as their favorite part of in-store experience, according to Shopkick’s recent study.
Global Reach: Your metaverse stores will be available for virtual shopping to your customers located anywhere in the world as of Day1!
Lower Return Rates: Building virtual experiences will become essential for merchants selling products that are traditionally difficult to buy online which typically see high return rates due to the difficulty of judging a product’s suitability online. Home furnishings, cosmetics, footwear, and fashion to name a few.
Building the true customer journey in the metaverse won’t be about duplicating your retail or online store into a virtual one. Instead, leaders building this new form of commerce need to think out-of-the-box and this time, embrace the chance of creating the brand experience together with their communities(customers).
Bonus: You can find a comprehensive chart covering both on-chain (blockchain) & off-chain companies building the metaverse below. Some of my personal favorite on-chain metaverse companies are: Sandbox, Decentraland for a true on-chain metaverse experience, Boson Protocol, Sensorium to create amazing brand experiences in the metaverse and Alethea which is building a metaverse with Artificial Intelligence NFTs to ultimately reach human-level intelligence in the metaverse.
If you would like to be updated about the next posts or stay connected to discuss any of these topics, you can reach out to me on Linkedin or Twitter.
Wunderman Thompson, Into the Metaverse Report 2021