Interested in finding out what’s next for the gaming industry? Join gaming executives to discuss emerging parts of the industry at the Gamesbeat Summit Next this October. Learn more.
With all the hype surrounding Metavers, you might think we’re just days away from being plugged into the Matrix and living. More seriously, Metavers will be transformative and a great opportunity for ecommerce, but we are just beginning that journey.
Many of the basic technology components of the Metavers stack – including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Nonfungible Tokens (NFTs) and Bots – are available today. And traders are spending aggressively on them.
IDC estimates that retail spending on AI is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 25% between 2021 and 2025. It is estimated that from 2019 to 2023, AR / VR will see a compound annual growth rate of 77%. This year alone (2022), experts estimate retail and marketing spending on VR at 1.8 billion. Consumer sector alone spends more than 50% in AR and VR.
Research shows that even deploying simple AI, AR or VR can significantly increase customer engagement and conversions. These technologies also reduce the annual production return by a staggering $ 428 billion. In addition to their immediate benefits, these basic techniques serve as a great stepping stone to the inevitable popularity of metavars – but only if you can properly tune them to take advantage of basic human behaviors.
Humans demand personalization, new experiences and less friction
No matter what the “verse” may be, ecommerce is always based on technology that matches basic human desires (which rarely change). We have an insatiable demand for experiences – new experiences that excite us and are personal And Practical and we are getting impatient demanding almost instant satisfaction and as little friction as possible. The best applications of these new basic technologies are directly aligned to satisfy these basic desires.
For example, 60% of people want to imagine how the product fits into their lives. AI, with advanced algorithms, can view our life patterns and make suggestions from inventory about which products to start with based on data from past purchases, browsing, geography, etc. After AR / VR – effortlessly – can provide visualization in terms of the user’s environment.
IKEA’s popular venue is an AR application that meets most of these criteria by showcasing the company’s products and helping customers choose and place furniture in their homes. Not only does the app provide customers with personalization and a simple, custom experience in their homes, but it also reduces returns.
In fashion, many similar applications offer virtual try-on and resizing experiences. Simple technologies like FitFinder technology help shoppers personalize their size experience by taking data from the brand or item that suits them and using an algorithm for accurate comparison of sizes. Stony Clover Lane (which is currently collaborating with Target) offers VR rendering of its designs to customers on its website. More advanced 3D modeling technology opens up more inclusive shopping experiences for shoppers who don’t fit into stereotyping sizes. Merchants who add 3D modeling to their sites are already seeing it.
Where Foundation Metavers Tech Struggles
Some of the most popular applications of these techniques combine physical and virtual experiences. But technology is still lacking on many fronts.
The geographical and age-old habits of the physical world still cause stumbling in the tech stack. It is still difficult to navigate the diversity of sizing in both geographical and individual brands. Understanding the differences between EU and US sizes still challenges most buyers, and “large” sizes can vary significantly between manufacturers in the same country. If such baseline data is not generalized and standardized, AI, AR and 3D modeling will reconstruct what consumers are already experiencing. Anyone who orders shoes of the same size from different vendors hoping to find a fit knows the pain of this experience.
Bots are another prime example of a foundation technology that is still not fulfilling a decisive match between basic desires and technology. Sure, it’s efficient for merchants to deploy bots, but they’re rarely helpful and customers hate them. Research has shown that a bad experience can easily take away even the most loyal customer. Traders are only categorizing the moments when bots are the best and when it is better to prioritize the consumer experience and bring man to the line.
And finally, sensory experiences still cannot be replicated in the virtual world beyond the basic heptic responses. You can’t “feel” the fabric, smell the spice, or engage in other sensory experiences. Nothing in the virtual world matches the pleasure of evaluating and touching that cloth or sitting on that bed.
Use tech with the best immediate effect
Opinions and estimates vary on how big and fast the Metaverse eCommerce Gold Rush can be. There is still considerable work to be done to differentiate Metavers as more than just any other sales channel. But don’t wait to get started. Choose technology that both benefit today through instant ecommerce today (i.e., customer experience and satisfaction) and will also be the indispensable building blocks of metavars. Regardless of when Metavers emerges as a fully developed commercial environment, the leading traders who do this will have a huge competitive advantage.
Be sure to match the baseline human desires with bits and bytes of technology – otherwise, you’re just building another bad boat.
Zohar Gilad is a co-founder of Fast Simon, Inc.,
Welcome to the VentureBeat community!
DataDecisionMakers is where experts, including tech people working on data, can share data-related insights and innovations.
If you would like to read about the latest ideas and latest information, best practices and the future of data and data tech, join us at DataDecisionMakers.
You might even consider contributing to your own article!
Read more from DataDecisionMakers