Everything You Need to Know About Shopping in the Metaverse

Dec 12, 2023
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Shopping and trading assets have become one of the foundational elements of metaverse platforms. Consumers are spending thousands on virtual fashion and collectibles. Even shops in the real world are using technology from the metaverse. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are making their way into hundreds of retail brands worldwide.Is your brand equipped for this new era of virtual retail?Learn the ins and outs of how metaverse retail functions and ways to incorporate similar technology in your brand’s retail experience.

Blockchain Technology and the Metaverse

You can’t understand how metaverse shopping functions without first knowing the role blockchain plays in ownership and exchanging goods.

Blockchain is a shared online ledger of virtual transactions. In simple terms, it’s the internet’s version of an accounting book that records every time someone buys, sells, or trades items. Except, digital transactions are more complex because there are often no physical equivalents to the assets.Blockchain tracks both virtual and intangible assets. Virtual assets are items like land, clothes, cryptocurrency, or other digital belongings. Intangible assets include intellectual property, copyrights, patents, and branding.No one person owns blockchain technology, but multiple companies use its technology to track their data and transactions within their business or online platform. Globally, innovators invested $6.6 billion in blockchain technology in 2021.

How Blockchain Works in Online Shopping

Transactions are recorded through blockchain when people buy, sell, and trade virtual assets. The transaction’s data includes who exchanged what, when and where it occurred, and how much the transaction costs. As items move between owners, new data blocks are added to the chain of information connected with the asset.Blockchain is irreversible, and you can’t edit or delete past transactions. You can only add new transactions to the chain. In addition, the chain formation ensures that hackers don’t try to work around the system since the interlocking blocks will show evidence of tampering.Blockchain makes metaverse ecommerce possible, as it backs up all transactions and controls cryptocurrency.

Currency in the Metaverse

There are three primary forms of currency that you will see on retail metaverse platforms.

  • Blockchain cryptocurrencies are built on blockchain and are some of the most popular forms of currency on the metaverse. They are decentralized, which gives the user control over their currency and adds value to them.
  • Non-blockchain cryptocurrency is a currency controlled and managed by the host platform. Fortnite is one platform that uses a cryptocurrency not based on blockchain. Meta also plans to introduce the Zuck Buck, which will only hold value within their platform.
  • Real currency is still used on some platforms, but most will use a form of cryptocurrency. If you are a first-time cryptocurrency user, you will most likely need to invest real money to purchase cryptocurrency before you can begin exchanging assets and building your virtual wealth. Cryptocurrency also has real money equivalents, though only the most popular platforms have cryptocurrencies worth more than a few dollars.

Top Metaverse Cryptocurrencies

These cryptocurrencies currently hold the most value:

  • MANA is Decentraland’s cryptocurrency and has a market cap of $4.327 billion, making it the biggest metaverse cryptocurrency. It’s built on the Ethereum blockchain.
  • SAND is The Sandbox’s cryptocurrency, which is also built on the Ethereum blockchain. Their market cap is $3.485 billion.
  • AXS token is Axie Infinity’s currency and has a market cap of $3.264 billion. While they are also built on the Ethereum blockchain, their use is limited within the game.

What Types of Products are Available on the Metaverse?

Purchase options on the metaverse are as limitless as people’s imaginations. You can sell anything if you can add value to it. Some platforms allow you to purchase a physical item through a virtual shopping experience. In other cases, the products you buy exist only in the metaverse.Here are some of the most popular purchases in metaverse shops and auctions:

  • Land and real estate
  • Access to entertainment like amusement parks or games
  • Tickets to virtual events like concerts or conferences
  • NFT collectibles
  • Virtual clothes, skins, and accessories for your avatar

Wait, What is an NFT?

Non-fungible token (NFT) is another form of blockchain technology for digital assets. On the one hand, cryptocurrency is blockchain currency that you can trade for the same thing, making it fungible. On the other hand, non-fungible items are unique single digital assets. NFTs include artwork, videos, music, writing, and limited one-of-a-kind fashion pieces that people purchase for their collection or sell at a higher price.Are NFTs a trend the metaverse circulated?No, NFTs were around before the metaverse grew popular. However, the metaverse is helping them become more popular.Purchasing an NFT gives you ownership of the digital asset. For instance, you can buy someone’s video or digital artwork. Other people can still view the video or even download copies, but you hold ownership of it. In some cases, the original creator will still have copyrights. For instance, Coca-Cola sold an NFT asset in the form of a bubble jacket. While the buyer owns the virtual jacket, Coca-Cola still holds its branding copyrights.

What is the Purpose of NFTs?

Consumers purchase NFTs because they want to support their favorite creators, brag about the purchase, enjoy collecting, or just because the virtual item makes them happy. While some NFTs have a use, like clothing your avatar can wear, others are collectibles you show off.NFTs are a new market for brands and creators and give creators another channel for selling their unique forms of art. Brands can generate interest in their physical products by distributing virtual replicas or unique digital assets specifically for the metaverse. These unique digital assets get people talking about your brand and may even raise the value of your real products.

Examples of NFTs Sold on the Metaverse

J.P. Morgan shared a report showing that consumers spend $54 billion annually on virtual goods, including NFTs. The following examples illustrate the value of NFTs in the metaverse as the virtual market booms:

How the Shopping Experience Will Change in the Metaverse

NFTs are often sold in auctions or on NFT trading sites. With the ability to purchase land in the metaverse on platforms like The Sandbox, new opportunities are arriving to expand metaverse shopping.For instance, Gucci unveiled plans for opening a virtual shop on The Sandbox. Because of the virtual capabilities of the platform, the shop is more of a branded experience than a traditional store consumers will walk through.While virtual shops are one potential direction for retail, there are parts of the metaverse experience that are making their way into today’s retail experience.

Virtual Reality Shopping Opportunities

A virtual shopping experience combines the real-life retail experience with the convenience of ecommerce shopping. About 85% of the world shop online. Through VR, consumers can still shop from the comfort of their homes while still receiving personalized care, interaction, and a fully immersive experience.VR technology allows brands to showcase their products in a digital environment where consumers worldwide interact with products and can try clothes on in a virtual dressing room or furniture in a VR showroom. Shoppers also have the possibility of meeting virtual influencers when making shopping decisions which is another great marketing strategy for metaverse brands.In the metaverse, store associates can connect to customers through video, chat, and audio to create a personalized shopping experience. Current metaverse technology is also paving the way for avatars to enter the virtual shopping experience and add to the customized feel.

Augmented Reality Shopping Opportunities

AR shopping lets users see products in the real world before purchasing. For example, makeup brands use AR to let users try on different pallets before making a purchase decision, which is especially helpful for online experiences where they can’t see the colors in person.Other examples of AR shopping include trying on clothes, makeup, jewelry, or accessories before buying them. In addition, product packaging that uses QR codes or digital elements can create an AR experience that lets users pull up product information, activities, and interactive experiences.AR can also enhance the shopping experience by adding digital elements to physical stores. Nike has begun incorporating AR elements into limited-time experiences within certain stores. One event at a Nike store recreated Smith Rock State Park in Oregon with the help of geofencing, AR, and their mobile app. Visitors could complete activities and explore the environment while enjoying the store.

Build Your Virtual Shopping Experience

Even in the short time, the metaverse trend has been around, it has seen great success in the virtual retail world. Your brand can be part of the emerging world of virtual and augmented reality shopping. Whether you collaborate with a metaverse platform to sell NFTs or use VR and AR technology to enhance your current retail experience, you can make your brand’s mark in the metaverse.Are you ready to expand your brand into the metaverse?Contact our team of social media and marketing experts to learn how to grow your business using the latest digital trends.

David Ledstrup
Chief Strategy Officer

As Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) @ Kubbco, I lead the global strategic efforts and oversee the research and planning, community, content strategy and paid social teams.

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