Forget Mars. E-Commerce is Going to the Metaverse.
Updated: Apr 19, 2022
Wait. What’s the Metaverse again? It’s the place where your brand will one day grow or die. Read to see what the Metaverse is, what it is not, and what you need to start doing right now.
If the Metaverse sounds futuristic, well, it is. However, that future is unfolding right now. In fact, massive leaps in Metaverse design and implication will be rolled out in 2022. And that’s just what is not already here. Commerce is actually already taking place in the Metaverse; and some very big companies – like Disney, Taco Bell, Dolce Gabbana, and Nike - are spending billions to beat you there.
Now, we know what you’re thinking. We have time. The Metaverse is a thing that happens well in the future, right? That’s a dangerous assumption for business owners. Consider that…
Travis Scott performed a concert in the Metaverse in 2020, and 30 Million people attended virtually.
Investors and businesses are purchasing real estate inside the Metaverse for thousands of dollars, and even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Commerce already occurs in the Metaverse, and associated transactions occur on the Blockchain.
There are already stores and malls inside the Metaverse. Most offerings are digital right now, but that is changing quickly.
There are physical products E-commerce Marketplaces for the Metaverse already in design. Companies like Boson Protocol are building platforms to support digital commerce inside the Metaverse.
The Metaverse is in full swing. Commerce is already occurring there. And the Big Brands are moving quickly. Why are the Big Brands beating us to the Metaverse? Because we’re asking the wrong questions. We’re focusing on the news reels without taking the time to see what’s actually happening. So we’re going to define the Metaverse correctly, but first we need to clear up three dangerous misconceptions.
3 Critical Misconceptions about the Metaverse
Misconception #1. I don’t want to do business in the Metaverse, because the Metaverse is bad for society.
You already said that. We reference TikTok. In fact, we leave behind us a decade of obsession with Instagram Follower counts, and post Likes and YouTube views. You didn’t like any of that, but you built a Business Account on Instagram to Market your products. You had to. That’s just the world you’re in.
So, when we get the question, “Is the Metaverse good or bad?” Our answer is, “What does that have to do with anything?” It’s not that the ‘good or bad’ debate isn’t ever relevant. It is just not relevant for your business. For good or bad, neither you, nor I will stop this societal drift toward all things virtual.
So the debate about negative implications for society, they’re certainly appropriate. …for the dinner table. …or the pub. Regardless of where you are on this debate, the spaces where your digital commerce will take place are evolving. Quickly.
Misconception #2. The Metaverse is the brainchild of Mark Zuckerberg.
Guess what? Mark Zuckerberg didn’t invent the Metaverse. Nor did Facebook… er… Meta. So all of the debate that’s confused the issue about whether or not Meta’s rebranding is a PR stunt, or if Meta can actually pull off the Metaverse; none of that is really all that relevant.
The term ‘Metaverse’ was first coined in 1992. Mark Zuckerberg hadn’t even thought about stealing the idea for Facebook yet. The truth is that the Metaverse has been in motion for a couple of decades, long before the Zuck’s announcement. It has just really started to take shape in a big way over the past couple of years.
Tying the Metaverse to Zuckerberg or Meta unnecessarily confuses the broader evolution of the Digital World with all of the media drama.
Misconception #3. The Metaverse is for Nerds and Gamers.
Well, this is partially accurate. There are a LOT of nerds hanging out in the Metaverse right now. But that may be because gaming technology is the most direct fit for the Metaverse concept. If the Metaverse is by definition 3d and AR/VR capable, video games are already there.
But to dismiss this shift as “just for gamers” is to miss some extremely important implications. The Metaverse is intended for, well, everyone.
So what is the Metaverse then?
The Metaverse Mark Zuckerberg and other digital media moguls envision is literally a new world. It is a seismic shift in the way we conduct not only our digital lives, but our lives in general.
It may help if we define a few key characteristics of this concept. The Metaverse is…
…a hypothesized “next generation” of the online world.
…a digital world that is, by design, 3-Dimensional.
…a more singular online cosmos; a one-stop-shop of all things digital.
…a virtual, augmented version of the current online experience.
…a place where people will have a digital identity based on the digital ‘stuff’ they have.
All of this is predicated on a shift in preference from the physical world to the digital world.
The idea of the Metaverse goes like this: A consumer puts on their VR/AR headset, and they enter into a single portal to the virtual world. Through this singular access point, they can game, socialize, chat, shop, explore or learn. If it can be done digitally, it can be done here. And in the Metaverse, augmented reality reigns supreme.
Sound like Sci Fi Fantasy? Maybe. But pieces of it are already here and booming. Consider VRChat, where users interact with each other in a virtual 3D world; or Second Life, where users create an avatar and second life for themselves in an online world. In fact, there are scores of games and applications that fit nicely with Metaverse vision. Roblox, Fortnite, and Centraland; all exist in the Metaverse.
The next step in tying it all together, is to fold in social media, digital commerce, and educational learning. Then, voila, you have a Metaverse.
How Can We Position our Brands for this Shift?
Don’t worry; we aren’t going to recommend launching your brand in a Fortnite store tomorrow. (…unless you can.) But we are saying that there’s a shift happening, and we shouldn’t start to prepare for that shift after it’s already upon us.
There are some things we can do right now to enhance our online selling that will concurrently help to position us for the coming VR/AR world we’re starting to call the Metaverse. Consider discussing these five actions with your staff:
1. Start reading. The Metaverse is and will continue to be for the foreseeable future - complicated and technically demanding. It doesn’t help that the Metaverse is built on the Blockchain, an already intimidating topic in and of itself. Don’t wait to start learning about these topics. Start building your understanding, and start watching trends in this space.
2. Start accepting cryptocurrency. Wayfair, Starbucks, Overstock, and Whole Foods are way ahead of you. Don’t see the relevance? The Metaverse needs cryptocurrency and the promise of security that Blockchain provides. The Metaverse is intended to be a sort of “digital life”, replete with a fully digital persona. Hacking then, presents a significant threat, and that is not lost on Metaverse pioneers. So while accepting cryptocurrency on your website won’t launch your brand into the Metaverse, it does present a big step in the right direction.
3. Build an Entertainment Company. Metaverse or not, we are already in a very noisy world. Digital Marketing has become a game of one-upmanship, where only the most arresting content can stop the scroll. Consider now that the Metaverse promises to graft in gaming, digital exploration, online learning, and a new level of digital socialization. Your digital world is only going to get louder. Weather we are selling shoes or energy bars, pantry staples or office supplies; all of us need to be in the business of entertaining.
4. Develop ways to confer status to your customers. Wait. What? What does that have to do with the Metaverse? Well, glad you asked. The digital world already presents an opportunity to build an online persona. Consider the personas people are building on TikTok and Instagram, where they’re presenting only carefully curated snapshots of their lives. We are already building avatars, at least in a sense, that give us a status we don’t have in the physical world.
The Metaverse will take that to a new level, where people will build a more universal and holistic digital identity. Early adopters are already having digital avatars custom-designed, and even purchasing branded digital clothing to help them to stand out. Start developing your VIP groups, access levels, and even luxury offerings. Find ways to boost your consumers’ popularity and status through your brand, and they’ll invest heavily.
5. Start looking at NFT’s. NFT’s represent the digital “things” of the Blockchain and Metaverse. They are a non-fungible, non-hackable deed to digital ownership. They can represent physical products, where they can be redeemed for products, goods, or wait for it… the VIP status we mentioned above. Coca-Cola, Asics, Kelloggs, Proctor & Gamble, the Gap, and many more – all have NFTs or are close to rolling them out. Check out our post on NFT’s for more information.
Message us at email@example.com, or DM us on Instagram or Facebook, to find out what we’re doing to find new opportunities in the Metaverse for our brand partners.