Web3 is transforming our lives by fostering a transition to an open-source digital arena that employs blockchain technology as the primary catalyst for a transparent internet.
According to the International Trade Association, e-commerce has seen significant growth in recent years. In 2020, the sector accounted for 18% of worldwide retail sales; by 2024, it is anticipated to have grown by more than 1% annually, resulting in a roughly 22% share of global retail sales.
With the broad acceptance of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, these figures will rise, and e-commerce firms will have to decide whether to alter and grow their business models.
Part of Web3’s success is due to customers’ continual need for openness. This should guide branding and finance choices and feed the user-experience philosophy.
Meanwhile, Web3, the metaverse’s underlying foundation, can aid in building customer trust by bringing companies closer to them. Moreover, it might influence and capitalise on how Generation Z evaluates products and services.
For instance, customers might have direct access to creators without an intermediary and flexibility over how and with whom they disclose personal information. This implies increasing the buyer’s confidence in the brand.
Simply said, the metaverse is an upgraded version of the internet that is rapidly evolving. It resembles a virtual world in which diverse networks and types of technology converge to provide an approachable, immersive, and user-centric experience. As a result, the metaverse will facilitate smooth transitions between education, employment, recreation, and commerce.
Merger of the Real and the Virtual
Using a virtual reality headset to climb Mount Everest or holding a meeting with coworkers in a digitally reproduced workplace. The metaverse promises to push the physical world’s limits until the actual and virtual worlds converge.
It is hard to define the metaverse since it does not yet exist. However, the ideal approach to conceptualise it would be the convergence of multiple ever-expanding technology advancements that create an immersive experience with 3D rendering employing avatars.
From non-fungible tokens to social commerce to augmented reality to virtual reality, the metaverse integrates technology into the real world.
The metaverse is not simply a location where marketers may mimic what already exists in the real world but also a place where they can address new requirements and issues specific to digital settings.
Web3 and the Metaverse
With the development, excitement, and effective marketing of the metaverse, the emphasis of many individuals has shifted to Web 3.0. Despite the close relationship between the two concepts, they are not replaceable, at least not yet.
The metaverse intends to link people and items in the virtual world to reality by combining digital and physical worlds, digital and social lives, digital and actual economics, digital and tangible assets, and digital and real identities.
Meanwhile, Web 3.0 has many similarities with Web 2.0 but is characterised by its emphasis on decentralisation, trustlessness, permissionless, and individual ownership of data.
Since Facebook unveiled its new name, « Meta », metaverse has become a popular keyword. Internet-accessible virtual world settings or computer-generated environments are often referred to as the metaverse. It is a digital world aimed to be more realistic by combining augmented, virtual, and mixed realities.
Currently, individuals communicate via social media sites and texting applications. In the virtual realm, each user will have their own « character » with which they may interact with other users. They may interact through avatars, text messages, audio, music videos, and video games, among other means.
This implies that Internet users will get a 3D experience. As a result, they can engage, play, work, shop, and join digital settings as though they were experiencing it in real life, as opposed to just seeing the material.
Web 3.0 is crucial to realising the metaverse, mainly if it employs blockchain technology. Web3 will allow the virtual world to live online and be accessible through a web browser, as well as facilitate shopping and other commercial operations.
Metaverse and the Changing Face of E-Commerce
Since omnichannel became a crucial idea in the retail business, brands have endeavoured to provide unified experiences across e-commerce, storefronts, and social media.
Nevertheless, this is easier said than done. Attempting to accommodate every possible shopping experience requires extensive technology resources and comprehensive data synchronisation across every touchpoint, which has proven difficult for even the most prominent businesses to orchestrate. The metaverse will bridge the gap between online and offline channels at this point.
For instance, the e-commerce giant Amazon has incorporated early metaverse technology into its marketplace. Room Decorator, its most recent augmented reality (AR) shopping tool, allows you to use your smartphone or tablet to see how furniture and other decorative products will appear in your room. You can examine many products simultaneously and even store room screenshots for further inspection.
The metaverse is undoubtedly an additional channel to approach potential customers, maintain relationships with current clients, and build a community. In addition, companies can create unique events in the metaverse, incorporate gamification into their marketing strategies, promote both real and virtual items, and even sell them on the platforms directly.
Hyundai Motor Company, for instance, introduced Hyundai Mobility Adventure, a metaverse experience on the game platform Roblox. The avatars of gamers can experience Hyundai’s present and future transportation initiatives.
Additionally, augmented reality technology enables buyers to trust a product’s quality and appearance before purchase. This helps both customers and retailers by reducing returns and expanding their client base.
Warby Parker, for instance, offers a virtual fitting tool that lets you virtually try on any pair of glasses in its inventory before making a purchase.
As these developing technologies advance, they will continue to transform our conception of e-commerce from a « click and purchase » mentality to an « experience and buy » one.
This will enable consumers of the metaverse to « walk around » a shop, browse product displays, and make purchases from the comfort of their own homes. It is a novel combination of the immersive quality of physical commerce and the convenience of internet buying.
Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Brand Penetration
For years, augmented reality, or « AR, » has been gaining ground in the world of ecommerce. For example, brands that sell clothing, cosmetics, and similar items allow prospective consumers to « try on » their products before purchasing them by deploying technology that superimposes the object onto the consumer’s face or head using their device’s camera app.
This is the role of augmented reality: to employ visualisation techniques to display an accurate depiction of an object in its appropriate place, allowing the user to understand its influence better.
AR may be used to see a wide range of objects, from furniture to gaming characters (think Pokemon Go). As AR and VR become more popular, we anticipate that businesses that mix these technologies with social-proof marketing will thrive in the metaverse.Maui Jim’s website has several shoppable UGC galleries and a virtual try-on option for sunglasses. Combining these features provides the customer with all the information about a product without actually holding it.
VR, or « Virtual Reality, » takes things a step further. Users often interact with this technology using a headset to immerse themselves in the product’s universe. They can « move » through a virtual world and interact with stuff in many circumstances.
VR tours are becoming more popular in real estate as a means for prospective buyers to explore a building and better comprehend its size and layout without having to go to a physical showing.
It seems that VR and AR will impact future development in the metaverse’s ecommerce side by lessening the requirement for users to examine or sample products « in person, » eventually eliminating the necessity for « shop fronts » or any form of an actual store.
Overall, we should expect to see many more facets of our shopping experience via the metaverse as time goes on. Beyond that, as Web 3.0 evolves, our leisure time, work, and shopping will flow and integrate more naturally into one another.
How can Metaverse Change E-Commerce Forever?
The metaverse has the potential to improve current e-commerce practices and create unique experiences for customers. Here are some concepts that the metaverse will revolutionise:
In e-commerce, personalisation is often confined to product suggestions or discounts. On the other hand, brands in the metaverse provide hyper-personalised experiences to their customers without consideration for the real world’s numerous limits.
Reduced Return Rates
Creating virtual experiences will become critical for retailers selling things that have historically been difficult to purchase online and have high return rates, such as home decor, beauty products, footwear, and ready-to-wear.
According to studies, people are prepared to pay extra for a product that can be inspected in 3D. In addition, customers will be able to make more educated purchase choices with better product visualisation capabilities in the metaverse, perhaps leading to higher profitability.
Allowing customers to actively engage in a brand’s activities will enable them to develop a deeper connection with customers that is consistent with what they expect from the brand. For example, one can introduce a unique product in the metaverse that is only accessible to the most loyal supporters who pay to get it.
Better Understanding of Customers
Marketing’s purpose is to understand one’s clients. Marketers develop content to maintain their clients’ attention. Consider how thrilling it would be for individuals to discover and engage with a virtual collection. The metaverse will enable companies to evaluate the viability of their products before manufacturing them.
Unlike typical e-commerce experiences, the metaverse will provide digital experiences that resemble reality. As a result, the metaverse can bridge the gap between online and in-store buying. Addressing this is critical since, according to a recent Shopkick research, 70% of shoppers say their favorite feature of the in-store experience is the chance to test, touch, and feel physical products.
The Road Ahead
Web 3.0 promises to increase customer privacy, make prospects feel more at ease while visiting a website, and introduce new technologies such as AI, ML, and VR. This will result in a 3D experience that blurs the lines between digital information and actual physical things, which will benefit both companies and consumers.
Hence, businesses must get acquainted with these technologies and ideas to prepare for a Web3 environment.