Shopping in the Metaverse
I’m a Millennial who always wanted to go back in time, technologically speaking. I got off social media in 2015, arguably when it was just heating up.
When I wanted to find a GIF and forgot what they were called, I searched:
moving image used on social media name
At my friend’s Thanksgiving, I bonded with her grandmother over the marriage of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. It’s likely you haven’t heard of them, which proves my point.
I’m Australian, and I thought the Drop Bear was real. Turns out it’s a photoshopped koala.
So when Mark Zuckerberg did the whole Meta thing, you can be assured that outside of poetic notions of what this rebrand meant, I didn’t have a clue.
Slowly, the breadcrumbs emerged. Virtual Reality Goggles. Avatars. Generation Z…
I knew that all of these elements had something to do with the metaverse. I just didn’t know what yet.
So before we look at what shopping in the metaverse is, let’s take a collective journey into understanding it a little better..
So what is the metaverse?
The meeting of our physical and digital lives in virtual or augmented reality. An immersive experience that combines both real and instigated sensory experience. This could be as simple as holding up our cell phone to see Pokemon chilling in the bus lane, or as complex as an entire world, we can explore using VR goggles and eventually, haptics technology.
No longer will we FaceTime our friends who live in far flung places. When you’re in the metaverse, a hologram of you appears to them, fully formed, as if you were in the room. And for your part, you feel like you’re in the room with them.
You can meet friends virtually and attend concerts, watch theatre, or walk around other cities. In the age of our pandemic and long-distance relationships, proximity without presence is huge.
While this tech is still a little while off, it’s not so far away that we can’t see it. We know exactly what it’s going to look like, and its appeal is certain to render it another universal space for communion and exchange.
But what does Facebook have to do with it?
Mark Zuckerberg launched a rebrand of the parent company which owns Facebook, Instagram, Oculus and Instagram, among others. Previously, it was just called ‘Facebook,’ a proud reminder of the fact that a social media network with origins in a college dorm room, defiant of impossibly slow bureaucratic progress, became the most used platform in the world.
Now it’s called Meta, and it’s indicative of the long-term business sense of a multi-billion dollar company. Why? Because Meta wants to be at the forefront of immersive alternate reality technology. They’re establishing their image, a glimpse into the north star of their R & D. A hint at what’s to come. A company primarily concerned with the transformation of life as we know it, through this alternate reality of the metaverse.
What can we expect from shopping experiences in the metaverse?
Think about having your entire retail experience without leaving the comfort of your own bed. Walk through a luxury boutique or sift through online bargains at a chain store, fill your cart and check out. You feel as though you’ve had the real experience, but you’ve escaped the crowds, minimized immuno-exposure, and perhaps had all goods filtered through your lens.
So if you’re at a clothing store, you only see items in your size that AI has identified might be in line with your usual aesthetic. Plus, if you don’t like something, you could auto-generate new recommendations. A dedicated sales associate can welcome you and give you a personalized experience without needing to extend a sharp elbow of competition.
Why are you telling me this?
While I’m a dunce when it comes to all things new age, my colleagues are not. They’re pretty speedy developers with a keen interest in innovation.
One of the projects we’ve developed here at Synic is called heymate!. It’s an all-in-one operations dashboard for small businesses. That’s inventory, client and staff management, POS, payroll, accounts and more in a high-speed, intuitive platform. And it’s virtually free. But we’ll be taking it one step further and equipping SMEs with the tech they need to create virtual stores in just minutes. Customers will be able to put on their VR headsets or log in on their device and explore their favorite stores using the app, as if they were there. They will also be able to purchase goods doing this. That’s an immersive shopping experience for the consumer of the future.
Our developers are super excited to launch this feature, destined to engulf customers in another world. I, on the other hand, would still love to crawl under the covers and wake up with a nice book, transported into another world through the safety of my own imagination.