It’s becoming clear that the metaverse has a number of key applications for retail:
Virtual buying advice and shopping assistance
The digital/personal interaction between the avatars opens up opportunities for dialogs, advice, and communication in the metaverse that even now are a very close approximation of those in the real world at a minimum, if not already superior to them.
Three-dimensional product demonstrations
Even though 360-degree representations give a good impression of products in two-dimensional eCommerce – they can’t compete with a three-dimensional product experience.
Post-purchase customer service
Similar to pre-sales consulting, the metaverse also opens up completely new possibilities in aftersales, for example, by explaining product features in 3D.
Events in the virtual space
Companies can create completely new types of brand experiences via virtual events in the metaverse. The first virtual Fashion Week, which was held in the metaverse from 24–27 March 2022, offered a hint at the possibilities.
Customer retention programs
The metaverse also opens up new options for loyalty programs. Potential applications include digital incentives or gamification elements that boost customer loyalty, for example.
One company participating in the EHI study commented: “Ultimately, the entire world of eCommerce today can and will rediscover itself in the metaverse, comparable to a shift from 2D (today’s eCommerce) to 3D (eCommerce in the metaverse).”
This change is expected to open up the greatest opportunities in the fashion, furniture and furnishings, hobby and leisure, and consumer electronics retail categories.