Here’s what the research found:
As expected, almost half of those in the survey have never heard of the metaverse and only 5% are familiar with it. The remaining 47% have only a limited understanding of the new virtual worlds. Over 80% of respondents have never used virtual gaming worlds like Second Life or Fortnite. Those that are using virtual gaming represent only 26% of Generation Z respondents.
With the above generalities, it was remarkable that 41% of all respondents said they would like to be able to shop for real-life products in 3D or virtual worlds in the future.
Today, the biggest attraction to virtual commerce is through social platforms. Some 43% of online shoppers say they buy products promoted via social media and 19% purchase products featured on TikTok, Instagram or Talkshop Live.
Livestreams also provide a source of information and desired content in the virtual worlds. The survey found that 54% of shoppers haven’t heard of livestream shopping, 32% recognize the term and 4% have made purchases via the channel. Respondents that used livestreaming said that discovering new products and new facts about known products was a driving force in their use of livestreaming.
Even with the above positive feedback, the study reveals that the metaverse and livestream shopping are lagging behind the hype. It doesn’t, however, mean that retail planners and marketers shouldn’t prepare for eventual adoption.
“Get in early,” advises Raj De Datta, CEO at Bloomreach, which chairs The Commerce Experience Collective. “Initially it was thought that digital goods and services would make up the lion’s share of revenue in the metaverse. But what we’re actually seeing is a crossover from the digital world into the physical, with consumers spending real money on physical products.”
It's clear that while we are treading water waiting for metaverse adoption, we need to be testing alternative strategies to see which ones have the most potential.
“Whether we’re talking about traditional brick-and-mortar, e-comm or the metaverse, brands that focus on a personalized, tailored experience are the ones that will end up rising to the top,” De Datta said.
He recommends testing ideas with your existing customer base.
“You might consider a digital pop-up shop that caters to a specific existing customer who has already exhibited certain preferences in your e-commerce environment,” he noted. “This kind of cross-pollination is a highly strategic way to engage in a test.”