Yes, Metaverse Ecommerce Is Here. This Is How Your Brand Can Get Involved.
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The innovations that came with Web 2.0, like social media platforms and shopping widgets, have paved the way for brands to build more authentic connections with consumers and drive sales. But now, it’s time to look at Web 3.0.
Yes, the metaverse is here, and brands like McDonald’s, Amazon, and Lowe’s have already staked their claim.
But can these unique tools and virtual environments drive ecommerce? We think so. Discover how your brand can use this evolving metaverse ecommerce landscape to your benefit.
What is the meaning of ‘metaverse’?
The metaverse is the convergence of augmented reality, virtual reality, and synchronous experiences to create a virtual world people can interact in. And while it’s been coming to fruition over the past few years, it has been referenced in literature and pop culture for decades. One popular example: Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One” depicts a fully formed world where people can earn money, interact with others, and experience other-worldly events.
In reality, the metaverse is not quite at that level, but it is working its way there. Nowhere allows users to connect for virtual events in futuristic settings, Obsess helps brands set up storefronts in the metaverse to sell products, and Meta’s Horizon Workrooms enable colleagues to meet in a virtual conference room with the help of Oculus Quest 2 headsets.
What are some examples of the metaverse?
While the metaverse may still seem out of reach or like a technological dream, chances are, you may have already interacted with it. Here are some ways companies are currently reaching consumers through the metaverse.
Augmented reality (AR)
Augmented reality refers to technology that creates virtual experiences rooted in real-world settings. While this may sound confusing, you probably have used it at some point. Here are some examples:
- Amazon’s View in Your Room tool – This feature within the Amazon shopping app allows users to place virtual furniture inside their home to see how it will look before purchasing.
- Garnier’s Shade Selector Quiz – This online tool lets users see how a variety of hair colors would look on them before purchasing hair dye.
- Pokémon Go – This popular game uses GPS to track users as they move in real time, and when an opportunity arises to capture a Pokémon, they appear in the real world with the help of AR.
- Social filters – From Snapchat Lenses to TikTok filters, these AR tools allow users to do a wide variety of actions, including swapping genders, trying on makeup, and even using a digital green screen.
Since AR involves superimposing images on real-world visuals, a camera is an essential part of the AR experience, making it a great tool to connect with people using smartphones or tablets.
@nikkietutorials this changes everything! #foryou #fyp #transformation @mikaylanogueira ♬ original sound – nikkietutorials
Virtual reality (VR)
Unlike augmented reality, which uses the real world as a base, virtual reality is 100% virtual. Therefore, these fully immersive experiences really benefit from using a headset. However, there are also VR applications that users can access through a smartphone or tablet. Current headsets on the market include the Oculus Quest 2, Sony PlayStation VR, HTC Vive Pro 2, and more.
While VR is typically used for gaming or attending live events, brands have also begun capitalizing on creating VR experiences for consumers. Check out these examples:
- Balenciaga and Fortnite – The high-fashion brand collaborated with developers of the popular VR game to develop outfits that avatars could purchase from a virtual Balenciaga storefront and wear throughout play. They also collaborated on real outfits that people could purchase and wear.
- Amazon Prime Video VR – This tool allows users to watch some of Amazon Prime’s TV shows and movies on VR headsets, as well as some specially developed 360-degree content.
- Lowe’s Holoroom How To – As part of a marketing campaign, Lowe’s created a VR experience that allowed users to practice tiling a bathroom in a no-risk environment. Afterward, they would have the confidence to tackle this project in their own home.
Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies secured with the help of blockchain, a technological ledger that keeps track of who owns it and how it is exchanged over time. Currently, people are using it to purchase virtual goods within the metaverse. Some popular forms include Bitcoin, Ether, and Dogecoin.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
While NFTs have some similarities with cryptocurrencies, like the kind of programming used to create them, they are actually quite different. Each NFT is unique and has its own value, meaning that users can’t trade them in a 1-for-1 exchange. Artists, brands, writers, and more have begun selling NFTs, and they are widely considered to be the digital equivalent of a collector’s item. Creators and collectors alike keep track of purchases and sales of each NFT on blockchain, the same technology that cryptocurrencies rely on.
Several brands have begun using NFTs as part of marketing campaigns, including:
- Macy’s – In honor of the 2021 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the brand auctioned off 9,500 NFTs to raise money for Make-A-Wish.
- Taco Bell – As the fast-food brand welcomed back potatoes to its menu, Taco Bell drummed up publicity with the sale of NFTs.
How will the metaverse impact retail?
As noted above, many brands have already begun offering unique experiences within the metaverse. And that’s just the beginning.
Several companies are currently developing VR versions of their stores that you can visit from your own home – essentially a convergence between an in-store and online shopping experience.
Additionally, many retailers’ physical locations may begin offering virtual experiences in the store. For example, a makeup retailer could offer virtual try-ons with a screen instead of using tester products.
When it comes to incorporating the metaverse into retail (and vice versa), the possibilities are endless.
How can influencer marketers leverage the metaverse ecommerce space?
Since the metaverse is such a large and abstract place, there are several different ways influencer marketers can leverage it, including:
- Hosting a virtual event. The metaverse is making virtual concerts, festivals, and more a reality. Your brand could consider working with a metaverse musician and sponsoring a show.
- Collaborating on content creation. Partner with an influencer and have them highlight your product in a video or post. Recently, Puma worked with Maie to promote their new Kosmo Rider sneakers, which she featured in her “Kosmo” music video.
- Creating digital deliverables. Big brands have been working with NFT artists to develop limited amounts of blockchain collectibles to highlight campaigns or events. However, you don’t need to be a massive company to accomplish this; it just depends on finding the right influencer for your organization.
When it comes to influencer marketing within the metaverse, your brand isn’t constrained by the laws of reality. Instead, let your creativity run wild – The (virtual) sky’s the limit.
Brands that are already in the metaverse
Several brands have begun to leave their mark on the metaverse. Check out a few of our favorite examples:
- Nike: Nike is prepping to become the go-to shoe for VR avatars. The apparel company has filed trademark applications to begin selling virtual versions of their clothes and shoes within the metaverse.
- Dolce & Gabbana: This luxury fashion house worked alongside other fashion and beauty brands, including Tommy Hilfiger, Estée Lauder, and Etro, to develop a virtual fashion week held in Decentraland.
- McDonald’s: The fast-food brand has filed trademark applications to develop a virtual restaurant in the metaverse. Once someone’s avatar orders and pays virtually, the food gets delivered in real life.
While it might seem like mostly large brands beginning the journey into the metaverse, there are a wide variety of opportunities for smaller companies and start-ups to join in. And when in doubt, consider partnering with other smaller brands to pool resources and make your virtual dream a reality.
Top 10 metaverse creators to follow right now
1. Crypto Baristas
Crypto Baristas is a group of people creating and auctioning off barista-themed NFTs to raise money for a coffee shop with ties to both the physical world and the metaverse. People who purchase these NFTs will eventually get discounts within the cafe when it opens, as well as additional perks.
Drumsy is a VR video game influencer who frequently posts videos of him playing online with his friends. Together, they share content about Super Mario Bros., Among Us, Five Nights at Freddy’s, and more.
Elliot Wainman, better known as EllioTrades, began creating content about cryptocurrency in 2018 and has been at it ever since. Now, he has moved into the world of NFTs and is even developing an NFT-based video game called Impostors.
4. The Bitcoin Express
The Bitcoin Express frequently posts videos that aim to teach people about the basics of cryptocurrency and share the latest crypto news. He also enjoys posting the occasional meme and hosting crypto giveaways.
5. Nobody Sausage
Nobody Sausage is an animated sausage that frequently sports bright clothes and dances to popular songs. This virtual creator also posts comedic videos and is quick to stay on top of TikTok trends.
6. Huda Kattan
Best known for being a beauty influencer and the creator of Huda Beauty, Huda Kattan also collects NFTs and enjoys sharing information about them on her social profiles and blogs. She covers basic topics and collaborates with other influencers, like World of Women, in the hopes of getting more women involved in NFTs, crypto, and investing.
7. World of Women
World of Women began as a group of four friends who wanted to create an inclusive community for people to get into NFT creation and collecting. Their most expensive NFT sold to date earned them 260 ETH ($615.9k).
8. Teflon Sega
Teflon Sega is a musician and virtual artist who performs virtual concerts within the metaverse and collaborates with other metaverse influencers, like Blu of Xanadu. He frequently posts content featuring his 3D avatar along with snippets of his music.
9. Atom Bomb Body
Atom Bomb Body is a VR influencer who posts videos explaining the details of filming and streaming VR content, as well as tutorials and reviews of VR games. She also serves as the Community Manager for LIV, a VR capture software.
10. Kizuna AI
Kizuna AI is a digital influencer from Japan who shares her music and virtual art on social media and through virtual concerts. She has gained such a large following that she has been featured in commercials and on TV shows.
Conclusion: Into the metaverse we go
While it may seem like entering the metaverse is only possible for big brands or tech companies, that’s not the case. Any brand can capitalize on this evolving technology, and entering this space early can allow you to pioneer new frontiers for digital marketing.
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