The metaverse will revolutionize eCommerce by presenting new sales models impacting consumer choices and decision-making. Though the industry is nascent, brands must prepare for the future of commerce in this evolving virtual world. The metaverse will impact retail by making it more accessible, engaging, and innovative than traditional channels. Brands can set up shop in the metaverse by following simple steps like determining the ideal metaverse platform, picking the best virtual location, and building a customized 3D storefront to attract consumers. eCommerce offerings in the metaverse will facilitate the sale of virtual or physical products, execution of transactions with virtual currency, and leverage augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies to create enhanced shopping experiences.
How to create a metaverse retail store?
Step 1: Choose your platform
Running a successful eCommerce store in the metaverse starts by selecting the right platform to build your business, like Decentraland, The Sandbox, or Somnium Space. Each platform offers different features and capabilities, which companies must evaluate before committing. For instance, Decentraland is known for its premium events and concerts, The Sandbox is known for its elevated gaming experiences, and Somium Space can create highly interactive and detailed experiences powered by virtual reality (VR). The audiences on each platform also differ in demographics and interests and must be considered when choosing your store’s metaverse presence. Companies can also launch eCommerce stores across platforms to target a varied customer base.
Step 2: Select a virtual Location
Each metaverse offers virtual land that can be purchased to develop a store. Securing a piece of digital that is easily accessible to customers or one that’s located in high-traffic areas will help your eCommerce store attract higher footfall. Setting up shop on land close to popular attractions can also help drive desired customer segments to your store.
Step 3: Customize your store
Building an eCommerce store in the metaverse requires creating a branded 3D model of a shop. The model can be a photo-realistic version of a store or one built with game-like graphics. The structure's interiors must be designed, and 3D versions of a brand's products can be rendered to populate the store. eCommerce companies must work with developers, designers, or external metaverse platform developers like LandVault, to build the store with the desired brand aesthetics.
Step 4: Integrate payment and checkout systems
eCommerce brands in the metaverse must provide customers a seamless way to transact and purchase products from their virtual store. eCommerce stores must integrate the metaverse’s primary payment methods, like cryptocurrencies or digital currencies native to the specific metaverse platform. For instance, Roblox allows users to buy and sell products using ‘Robux,’ and Decentraland’s economy runs on ‘MANA.’
Step 5: Promote your store
Like a physical store, attracting customers to your virtual shop in the metaverse will require promotions on social media, targeted advertising, or product placements. For example, social media can be used to build awareness among your target audiences that may not know about the metaverse, but targeted ads in the metaverse through virtual billboards can help attract customers already engaged in the space. Carrying out product placements by partnering with metaverse platforms is also an effective tactic to get new audiences interested in your product. For instance, Hasbro collaborated with Roblox to bring digital replicas of its Nerf gun to the metaverse.
How much does it cost to create a metaverse store?
The cost of building a metaverse store can vary greatly depending on the platform, the scope and complexity of the project, and the level of customization desired. Metaverse store development costs can range from $10,000 to $400,000, as Appinventiv estimates.
A few factors affecting the cost of creating a metaverse store include:
Platform selected: To build a metaverse store, brands must acquire virtual land parcels on their chosen platform. The initial land cost on Decentraland is approximately $2,300, The Sandbox is $1900, and Roblox is free to build, according to data collected by Third Academy.
Project complexity: The broader the scope and complexity of the 3D store model, the higher the costs concerning the development team’s size, the features included, and the time for completion.
Virtual sales fees: Certain platforms charge eCommerce brands a fee based on sales. On Robox, the creator takes 30% of the sale value, the seller gets 40%, and the platform gets 30%. In 2022, Meta also announced that it would charge creators fees of up to 47.5% to sell virtual wares in its Horizon Worlds metaverse.
Marketing and advertising: Effectively promoting a metaverse store is vital for establishing consumer awareness, ensuring sustained success, and maximizing conversions. eCommerce brands must allocate resources toward marketing efforts like search engine marketing, social media marketing, influencer marketing, paid promotions, affiliate marketing, advertising, and other marketing methods.
What are the three pillars of retail in the metaverse?
Retail brands in the metaverse will be able to provide a new form of accessibility where consumers worldwide can visit virtual stores with unprecedented convenience and speed, some of whom would have never seen the brand’s physical store before. Since these stores are 3D renderings in the metaverse, there is no limit on the number of consumers who can visit.
Though these stores are virtual, they provide a level of immersion, engagement, and interaction that physical stores possess, creating a new way for brands to connect with consumers, build awareness and drive sales. Brands can also distribute their products on a broader scale, test them with larger consumer pools and gather feedback to fine-tune their offerings. For instance, Samsung used the metaverse to set up a pop-up store, 837X, that replicated its physical store in New York to increase brand visibility.
The metaverse provides a layer of engagement missing from current online retail offerings. Consumers can interact with and experience physical products in a virtual environment through creative product demos, virtual try-on offerings, and interactive showcases, leading to increased affinity for the goods. Retailers can also offer interactive elements like virtual games and competitions to win rewards around their product lines, driving customer engagement and loyalty.
One example of a retailer experience leveraging the metaverse to drive engagement is PUMA's “Black Station” activation during New York Fashion Week. The immersive experience allowed consumers to interact with a 3D version of PUMA’s limited edition sneakers NFRNO and Fastroid and view the product on their ambassadors before purchasing.
Metaverse retailers can offer consumers innovative experiences that transcend the possibilities of the physical world. For instance, Forever 21 allowed customers on Roblox to build and manage their own version of the F21 store, where the best store would be awarded. The activation aimed to let customers express their individuality and deepen their bond with the brand.
Brands can also create digital replicas of real-world products for customers to customize their avatars. Dior took the reins to create an innovative digital product for avatars in the metaverse by creating a makeup collection on Zepeto, a South Korean metaverse platform. Zepeto attracts 20 million teenagers in Asia and could be a potential consumer group for Dior for physical products if they launch a metaverse eCommerce store or direct consumers to their existing website.
How does eCommerce work in the metaverse?
Sell virtual and physical products: eCommerce brands in the metaverse can sell virtual products like digital wearables, accessories, or skins to avatars, known as the ‘direct-to-avatar’ model, opening up new revenue streams for brands in virtual-first marketplaces. For instance, Gucci sold a virtual handbag on Roblox for $4115. Brands can also sell physical products in the metaverse, where purchasing digital goods unlocks a physical product or experience.
Seamless transactions with virtual currencies: eCommerce brands and customers can easily transact using virtual currencies and e-wallets in the metaverse. Cryptocurrencies and metaverse-native digital currencies are the primary means of transacting. These transactions based on blockchain technology have transparent records as proof of purchase, improving engagement in online transactions.
Customizable virtual storefronts: eCommerce companies can build 3D virtual stores that consumers can walk through and interact with products they wish to buy. For instance, Bloomingdale’s, the American luxury department store, launched a branded virtual shop in the metaverse to celebrate its 150th anniversary. The store featured collections from brands like Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren, providing customers with a 360-degree view of exclusive products.
Leverage augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR): Immersive eCommerce experiences in the metaverse can be created by using AR or VR technology. AR enhances real-world settings with computer-generated elements; for instance, Walmart now allows customers to virtually try on over 270,000 items of women’s wear through AR. VR technology, on the other hand, creates an entirely virtual environment that eCommerce brands can use to develop an immersive shopping experience.
Track customer behavior: Shopping experiences in the metaverse are an excellent opportunity for brands to collect data like customer activity, product interaction, purchase history trends, and demographic profiles. Brands can use this information to target customers, personalize recommendations and drive sales.
Creating a successful metaverse eCommerce store involves choosing a platform that aligns with your business goals and target audience, selecting a strategic virtual location, customizing your store's 3D model, and integrating seamless payment and checkout systems. The financial resources required to create a metaverse store can vary based on the cost of building on a platform, the project’s complexity, and sales fees charged by specific metaverses. Brands can leverage the metaverse to sell virtual or physical goods, offer seamless transactions using virtual currencies, and personalized shopping experiences based on data collected. Brands can create a robust retail strategy by integrating the metaverse as a channel to reach new audiences, build stronger connections and drive sales.
Are you looking to build your eCommerce business in the metaverse? We can help you build immersive storefronts and engaging experiences to reach new audiences and drive sales. Get in touch with us!