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Is the Metaverse Still Happening? How This Will Impact Ecommerce?

February 16, 2024

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The Future of Metaverse for Ecommerce

2024 has breathed new life into metaverse discussions. It’s time ecommerce businesses harness it to stay competitive. Here’s what you need to know.

The short answer to the first question is YES, the Metaverse is happening and it’s happening NOW! Undoubtedly, the glitz of generative AI (Gen-AI) eclipsed discussions and possibly even innovation in the metaverse space since the launch of ChatGPT. One thing to keep in mind is that Gen-AI and its evolution is a tool to make immersive digital spaces more realistic. It can be instrumental in bringing virtual experiences closer to real life. Here’s all that’s happening in the metaverse space in 2024 and how it could impact the eCommerce space.

Metaverse Rising!

Here’s some perspective to gauge the potential of the metaverse and why it is definitely happening.

The Metaverse is Instrumental to the Creation of Society 5.0

“Stop thinking about it within this virtual world context like VR, it’s more about new interactions between the physical and digital worlds.”

Marty Resnick, an analyst at Gartner

 

The metaverse is the manifestation of combining technologies, such as 3D modeling, VR, AI, analytics, and more, to create persistent shared virtual worlds by enabling the conversion of data into objects and objects into data. The metaverse will help businesses create more value through data and experiences.

According to the Japanese Cabinet Office, the metaverse is fundamental to Society 5.0, which is “a human-centered society that balances economic advancement with the resolution of social problems by a system that highly integrates cyberspace and physical space.” The transition to this future society can be enabled through elevated and overlapping interactions that transcend the boundaries of immersive digital spaces and the real world.

The Consumer is Ready and Eager to Explore Immersive Digital Experiences

According to an S&P global survey, consumers are eagerly awaiting the opportunities the metaverse has to offer. Popular opinion among customers is that it an impactful innovation that has the power to transform society and consumer interactions with brands.

Consumer Perception of the Impact of the Metaverse on Society Through 2033

How Interested is the Consumer to Experience the Metaverse?

In fact, customers also have their own preferences regarding the industries through which they would like to engage with the metaverse.

Data Source: Accenture.com

Governments are Exploring the Benefits of the Metaverse

Governments across the world are not far behind in exploring how the metaverse could fortify their functioning. The digital twin technology can enable governments to replicate real worlds into the virtual to bolster planning. Real-life simulations can help optimize supply chain and manufacturing pipelines. These can also help train defence and emergency services better to navigate complex situations.

The metaverse can also play an instrumental role in decarbonization. It is paramount to achieve the net zero targets for 2030. The UK government has collaborated with UrsaLeo to decarbonize and optimize energy management. The digital twin, called Gemini Platform, has been developed to enable the monitoring and management of resources from anywhere and at any time, through a holistic view of assets and facilities. It can be walked through and manipulated via multiple plains to educate consumers, train staff, and inform contractors and developers of efficient ways to conduct operations.

Further, the metaverse can promote responsible citizenship and enable virtual tourism. The South Korean capital, Seoul, has pioneered in this area by launching the first digital township to enable not just digital tourism, but also socialization, organizing public events and games, and participation in civic activities, such as elections and tax payments.

How the Metaverse Could Impact the eCommerce Sector

The S&P study highlights that the metaverse could have an immensely disruptive impact on the advertising and eCommerce industries.

The metaverse will offer consumers the freedom to explore, just like in the real world, without the hassle of physically going from store to store. It can provide an open-world experience by enabling them to travel virtually and experience travel destinations before booking tickets and physically visiting the region. It will elevate the browsing experience to sell and make purchases. Customers can experience each product before actually buying it and get feedback from other users through social digital experiences.

Some eCommerce players have already incorporated digital experiences to offer differentiated product experiences and create digital-only revenue streams. For instance, Vans leveraged Roblox’s gaming platform to offer a virtual skatepark experience to practice skateboarding. Plus, users can buy Vans clothing, shoes, and activity gear directly from the virtual storefront. This is a tactical blend of the real and the virtual to boost company sales and have an impactful digital presence. Decentraland has also created a distinct digital marketplace for crypto clothing and art.

Similarly, McDonald’s has filed patents for launching digital restaurants for people to socialize from the comfort of their homes. The food ordered through the virtual platform will be delivered from a nearby outlet to the customer’s real-life location.

Social proof is a key element of eCommerce even today. Integration of the metaverse with social platforms will help social commerce proliferate. It will enable community building for brands. Additionally, product recommendations and purchase options can be seamlessly accessible across digital platforms.

E-commerce businesses must fundamentally re-imagine operations and processes to leverage the emerging metaverse use cases. Integrating payments in the real and virtual worlds yet keeping the virtual and real distinct can be especially tricky with lines blurring between the two spaces. Opus Technologies specializes in helping organizations transition to the latest technology tools with minimal disruptions to business operations. Talk to the Opus experts for consultation and strategic technology adoption to remain at the forefront of the metaverse revolution.

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