Much has been said about the metaverse. A concept that was born in science fiction literature, with author Neal Stephenson in his book "Snow Crash" (1992) and gained popularity thanks to Second Life, a virtual environment launched in 2003, the metaverse that until then was present only in online games and new technologies such as augmented reality (AR), has taken on other dimensions.
Thanks to its rise, driven in particular by the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for new means of interaction within the context of social isolation, the metaverse has rapidly consolidated itself in various segments, including retail.
The future of the metaverse in retail
Proving to be a real trend when it comes to the shopping experience has brought as a result a new standard for modern customers. So much so that the subject became a highlight at the world's largest retail conference in this year's edition: NRF 2022.
The talk "The New World: The Challenges and Promises of the Metaverse for Retailers", for example, addressed the post-pandemic retail landscape, and how the metaverse has caused great interest as a result of the changes brought about by technology. As well as insights into how digital is redefining the relationships between brands and consumers.
Considered the "future of the Internet" by some experts, the proposal of the metaverse for retail is to make it more immersive and offer a more interactive shopping experience. With the increase of E-commerce and more and more consumers migrating to digital, the use of new technologies to boost communication and sales opportunities has become more popular.
Research shows that by 2035, more than 80% of business activity will be conducted online - primarily via mobile devices. This will contribute to the global growth in E-commerce sales. It is estimated that from US$585 billion in 2020, sales will exceed more than US$16 trillion two decades from now.
What to Expect in Retail Metaverse?
For this reason, in order to meet the new demand and adapt to the increase in online activity, retailers are looking to restructure the current model through the metaverse and redefine the way companies operate. It is also taking the opportunity to expand its product lines and of course include fully immersive digital experiences for consumers.
But it's not just about that. Being a collective ecosystem, where people are able to interact and recreate their experiences between the real and virtual worlds, the metaverse allows the interactions between brands and customers to be very "humanized".
Betting on user experience, besides adding value to the brand, narrows the physical-digital relationship. This is because, by using virtual and augmented reality technologies, it is also possible to recreate the entire face-to-face environment - only online, providing the relational proximity and interactions that would occur in the physical world.
Therefore, the impact of the metaverse is revolutionizing online retail in a positive way, uniting technology and human relationships in a single virtual space. And establishing a new way of shopping, without having to leave home, but with an experience just like that of a physical store.