The metaverse, from dream to reality – From barter come the origins of our exchanges and our sociability. On closer inspection, the trade starts from nothing. From a logical and simple observation: “if you want milk from my cows, you will have to give me your wheat in exchange”. Subsequently, without taking a course in history and anthropology, money, as an equivalent of value, appeared. It has enabled many political, state and commercial powers to develop across borders.
One thing leading to another, thanks to a voluntary ellipse on the progress of technologies, we are therefore arriving at the birth of e-commerce, exacerbated with the arrival, development and rise of the Internet. The appearance then of the term Web 3, evolution of Web 2the internet as we know it, has given rise to NFT technology, an almost tailor-made solution for considering the possibility – unfinished for the moment – of a metaverse open to all, a free trade area, and, as a result, trade.
So prophetic, books such as Snow Crash or the movie Ready Player One become a probable dystopian reality for some. But not for others. Indeed, from Amazon to E-bay via Meta (formerly Facebook) aren’t we already in a metaverse era – embryonic of course – powered by NFT and blockchain technology? Taken by storm by the giants of commerce, has the metaverse slipped from the novel of anticipation to an already consumed reality? Let’s take a little height.
So as not to get lost in the Meta-Hebdo:
Amazon, E-bay, Orange… shop in the metaverse
Facing a Internet 2.0 running out of steam and an blockchain technology which despite the obstacles continues to gain ground in the hearts of its users, commerce has in fact adapted to the situation and to the new and emerging consumer demands. Art, Luxury, Sport, Politics, there is not a sector that has not started adopting codes specific to the so-called crypto world.
However, beyond this visible adoption, there are functions specific to the metaverse that we use in smartphone applications. We have even integrated them into our daily lives without realizing it. Amazon allows you, for example, to visualize in 3D your future furniture in your home. By branching, theAmazon’s involvement in the establishment of the digital euro goes in this dynamic of a commercial giant already actor – criticizable – of Web 3.
Orange Spain, a subsidiary of Orange, also recently opened its store in the metaverse with spaces provided for brands to display their innovations and products. Aided by a partnership with Meta and its Meta Quest virtual headset, the consumer experience is based on words of Diego Martínez, Business Unit Director of Orangethe nerve of the future of the company:
“With the opening of our store in the metaverse, we have become a pioneer in this environment, deepening our commitment to innovation and digital transformation and, more importantly, improving the experience of its customers. customers who thus have another point of contact with the company. »
Collection of NFTs from the E-Bay side, development of recognized NFTs and sides at Nike, the conquest of the metaverse is an effective strategy for these commercial giants
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NFT and metaverse: one does not go without the other
So yes. Talking about metaverse does not necessarily imply talking about blockchain technologies. However, the latter allowed the birth of NFTs, real proof of the authenticity of an avatar or a virtual object. The contract engraved on the blockchain becoming undeniable proof of ownership.
Adopted by big stars, NFT collections such as those of CryptoPunks or even Bored Ape Yacht Club allowed a development of the metaverse attracting investors and other business magnates like Paris Hilton.
For the most enthusiastic, NFTs even appear as the new basis of a worn-out global trade. In a society where we all wear the same clothes, are all in the same places, use the same networks, offering NFTs on behalf of a brand is the way to allow the consumer to truly belong to the community.
We are already in a 3.0 trade
Quite quickly, we understand that we are already in the era of commerce 3.0. QR codes accompany our lives, like the one that sticks to our health pass. Exacerbated by the so-called “covid” period that we have experienced, the concept of a virtual common space open to all makes sense.
Amazon, eBay, Metabut still Microsoft are all major players in traditional commerce who have already embarked on the race for the metaverse and the development of NFTs. Nike, which emerged stronger from the takeover of RTFKT studios, has won the lead with its Cryptokicks.
GucciLouis Vuitton or Balenciaga, luxury and regularly avant-garde haute couture are also stimulated by the experiences made possible by NFTs and the metaverse for their customers. Gucci even accepting Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in some of its points of sale.
Finally, the marketing of the sports sector also proved its interest in the metaverse. From building a virtual stadium to Manchester Citythe establishment of fan token platforms (sports club cryptocurrencies) such as Socios. NFTs have thus been able to show their value and position themselves as secure solution for commerce and not as a threat.
The evolution of technologies thus allows trade to continue their development at a time when it is running out of steam. Indeed, the concept of click to buy having gradually drifted towards that ofexperiment to buy.
The metaverse pushes the boundaries of reality for brands
Beyond the crypto winter we are all going through, a lot of fundraising and others forward-looking studies like McKinsey’s show the growing and propelling interest of the metaverse and by branching NFTs. Commerce, social networks, virtual experiences, evolution of gaming, the metaverse allows brands to go further.
They can by the property of NFT propose a real virtual identity to their consumer, proposing a world – supposed – to be a free and inclusive space. This space then allows the establishment of an omnichannel trade.
The metaverse: an omnipresence of the brand
The term omnichannel is a concept which, with the birth and rise of the metaverse, makes sense of it. Coming from marketing, this term underlines the fact that the metaverse makes it possible to keep all the communication channels and to link them in a point of departure and a central sales space most of the time physical. Here, the metaverse offers a virtual sales space, open 24 hours a day. Brands intend to play well with distances and space in this new playground.
Catalyst of communication channels, allowing real proof of commitment despite the distance the metaverse allows to develop the customer experience and to build loyalty thanks to the latter, like Starbucks, which recently unveiled its NFT platform.
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Playful journey, interactions, brands are already starting to multiply innovative ideas to create virtual interaction with users or their future users.
NFT and metaverse, limited use
However, this mutation of trade and the unknowns it includes in its equation raise questions. What ownership for NFTs ? What right for fair competition and for the consumer? These are all questions underlined by certain legal loopholes that we can see in theNFT news. The action of GAFAM, whether Apple, Google, Meta or even Microsoft for the future of the metaverse will be decisive at the risk of flouting some key principles of decentralization.
Finally, and this is a parameter that brands will have to consider in order to develop in web 3, they will have to allow their customers to understand, through education, the volatility of NFTs as well as the practices and uses specific to the blockchain. , so as to limit speculative risks for their consumers.
Actors of what is called mass adoption, (mass adoption), the place of brands and trade in the metaverse, of Roblox at Decentraland Passing by The Sandbox, is no longer to be determined. Torn between the usefulness they can bring to popularize Web 3 and the threat they pose in that they can distort the use of NFTs and the metaverse (by destroying theanonymity and centralization) the rapid advance of technologies allows them to envisage a virtual space where it could do more than in reality. Reach more customers, be more visible, have more direct communication with consumers: the metaverse breaks with the codes of commerce that we know.
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