From the 2000s, many companies were faced with an important decision: dare to take the step towards e-commerce? And if so: Do you go through retail, or do you even dare to sell directly to your own customers?
Skeptics believed that this emerging trend could never replace the “real shopping experience”. However, some forward-looking brands such as Adidas or Nike have shown courage and creativity and launched into e-commerce – with success. Nowadays, there is a broad consensus around the world that online sales lead to increased convenience and therefore a better customer experience. E-commerce has become an integral part of normal daily life.
Today, in 2022, we find ourselves at a similar crossroads with the Metaverse hype. At least since the name change from Facebook to Meta, the Metaverse is well known to everyone. A persistent, decentralized digital world that merges with the people, places and things of the physical world? It seems abstract at first glance, but the potential of the Metaverse for brands and therefore for e-commerce is almost limitless. In virtual worlds, there are no limits to the imagination of “creators” – both in terms of brand experience and the development of entirely new communities and business models.
The future is called Metaverse
The potential for e-commerce in the metaverse is therefore endless. It’s not for nothing that more and more brands are taking their first steps into the Metaverse – it’s an incredibly exciting new channel and therefore offers marketers plenty of opportunities to connect with millennials and millennials. Z. But more than that: more and more users will consume in the Metaverse in the future. Bloomberg estimates the market volume of the metaverse economy at around US$800 billion in 2024 alone.
Additionally, according to the OMD Annalec 2022 survey, 61% of brands are either already active in the metaverse or interested in getting started. The engagement pioneering brands are already seeing for their Metaverse businesses shows that Metaverse experiences inspire consumers and have the potential to take hold. For example, Dyson launched a virtual showroom in November 2021, which is available as an app through Meta’s Oculus store and made its consumer products, such as popular hair styling appliances and vacuum cleaners, experienceable. and purchasable.
E-Commerce in the Metaverse: Luxury groups show how it can work
Well-known luxury fashion groups such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga are already active in the Metaverse. For example, last year Italian fashion house Gucci offered a wide range of digital items for sale, from virtual sneakers for $13 to a one-of-a-kind handbag for over $4,000.
These examples and many more clearly show that people are willing to spend money on virtual goods. Whether in the form of augmented reality filters, with which you can try virtual fashion on your own body, through integration into open marketplaces such as Decentralized, Roblox and Meta Skyline or through specially created virtual showrooms and stores. It’s not just since Covid that we humans spend so much of our time online. Our “digital self” is becoming more and more relevant and the acquisition of virtual goods will become normal in the near future. Probably the most popular form of these virtual goods right now is “non-fungible tokens” (NFTs), which provide us with the ability to exchange virtual items (such as art, digital avatars, clothing, etc. ) or assets between people, companies and authors. to transfer.
Adidas Originals in the Metaverse-NFT Collection
The Bored Ape Collection, which consists of approximately 10,000 unique illustrations of bored apes purchasable as NFTs, shows that digital artwork can reach multi-billion dollar lifestyle marks as well. NFTs, some of which have sold for around US$3 million, are not only a unique digital collectible, but also a membership card for the virtual Bored Ape Yacht Club and allow the owner access to benefits exclusive to members only. In addition to these “outsiders”, brands such as Adidas also act as “first comers” and use the potential of virtual art. The sporting goods manufacturer has worked with Bored Ape Yacht Club, among others, on its Adidas Originals Into the Metaverse NFT collection.
In addition to the respective virtual artwork, owners of associated NFTs also receive access to four exclusive physical products as well as continued exclusive access to future digital products – at no additional cost. 2021 was already a landmark year for NFT sales, with transaction volume reaching $22 billion in the last 12 months. As a result, NFTs are definitely worth considering for brands. And with the right strategy, there’s even the potential for any brand to become the next generation “Rolex” by selling desirable NFTs.
The potential of brands and what needs to be taken into account
Despite the many success stories, there’s no guarantee that brand appearances in the Metaverse will automatically become huge growth stories. Rather, it is about opening this new channel as a brand before the competition, gradually testing the potential and generating learnings in exchange with the community. Of course, it is important to know in advance what goals you are pursuing or what problems you want to solve. For example, if you as a company aim to connect with a target group despite the pandemic, a high-quality and attractive virtual event can be a good solution. If companies want to accelerate their B2B growth, a new collection can be presented in a virtual showroom in an inspiring way and ordered directly by buyers. And for growing B2C business, launching a virtual store is ideal, where consumers can buy digital and physical products or services.
E-Commerce in the Metaverse: It’s Time to Act
Even though the Metaverse is still new territory for businesses and customers today and developing three-dimensional e-commerce experiences can seem complex: entering the Metaverse may be the right step for brands right now. . Because only the “first to arrive” will have a competitive advantage and will be able to stand out from their competitors. The longer companies wait, the greater the gap in knowledge, skills and competition. Right now is the time to be brave and open to new things and – just like in the 2000s – to give yourself a boost and take the “Metaverse gamble”.
Also read: E-commerce – 10 steps that lead to success.
The author Jan Gutkuhn is managing director and partner at international digital agency Dept. He is co-founder of Meta Festival and is responsible for sales, marketing, innovation and expansion of new agency services such as Web3.0, Metaverse and Live Video Shopping.